It's not all about confetti and balloons. Every four years, each political party meets and chooses a platform and a president — or at least a nominee.
Most Americans see them in short bursts on TV, especially on the last night, when the nominees give their big speeches. But a lot happens before that — and only some of it shows up on prime-time.
Delegates get the behind-the-scenes work done: about 2,500 at the Republican National Convention; about 4,700 at the Democratic convention. They help with the party platform — basically a document that says what the party believes, like a $15 minimum wage or renegotiating trade policies. A committee writes it up, then the delegates vote to approve or amend.
But day one is also about setting the tone in the keynote speech — often given by a rising star in the party.
The next day, those same delegates vote again — this time it's to decide the nominee, and it gets a lot more TV time than the day before.
Day three is all about the speakers. The party trots out its best and brightest — at least the ones willing to speak positively about the nominee. The night is typically topped off with a speech from the candidate for vice president.
On the convention's last day, the nominee — the party's new standard bearer — makes their closing speech and sets their sights on their opponent. This year should be interesting.
This video includes images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.