How to watch the Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention is underway in Cleveland, where the GOP is expected to finalize its nomination of Donald Trump. The entire Trump clan is attending, plus Donald backers like investor Peter Thiel and UFC president Dana White.

The convention runs through Thursday, with most of the events occurring in the evening. The RNC is sure to make for interesting viewing, so here are all the different ways you can stream the convention.


The streaming platform popularized by gamers is trying its hand at streaming a political event. “We see this as a public service,” Twitch said when it announced it would offer live streams of the RNC and the Democratic National Convention. The company emphasized that it would bring the political process into the homes of individuals who might not otherwise tune into the convention, and pointed out that it would make the broadcast available to viewers outside the U.S.

“We are aware that this is a bit unorthodox, and that politics can be a touchy subject. The channels will be carefully moderated so as to provide a positive experience that fosters genuine discussion,” Twitch said. The company is using a mix of live moderators and automatic moderation tools to keep the comments clean.emotes

Twitch is offering several cool ways for viewers to interact with the live stream — users can host the RNC stream on their own channel and provide commentary, or react with a special set of emotes.

Twitch says Day 1 of the live stream has averaged between 2,000 and 5,000 users. “Based on what we observed today, the chat during Twitch’s broadcast of the Republican National Convention has been overwhelmingly clean-spirited and cheeky, without dipping into more contentious territory,” product marketing manager Brian Petrocelli said.

The Twitch live stream won’t be up and running 24/7, however. Here’s the schedule:

7/18: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT

7/19–21: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT


Twitter partnered with CBS for a live stream, available here. It appears that, like Twitch, Twitter thought ahead about the potential for spam and hateful comments on the #RNCinCLE hashtag — the timeline of tweets that appears next to the live video is moderated, so viewers will get information about the event without any nasty surprises.

Twitter’s live stream is interspersed with normal CBS broadcast material, so dull moments at the convention are filled with news fodder instead of dead air.


Like Twitter, Facebook partnered with a major news network to provide live coverage of the RNC. Facebook’s live stream is the result of a partnership with ABC News. ABC is hosting the stream on its own Facebook page, where it boasts more than 8 million followers. In exchange, Facebook is providing the network with real-time viewer data to be used in the broadcast, Variety reports. ABC will also take questions and comments from viewers via Facebook Live.

Facebook’s partnership with ABC means that its live stream will be interspersed with news coverage, so viewers won’t ever be left without something to watch.

Although ABC is Facebook’s official partner for live streaming, several other news organizations are hosting live streams on the platform as well: C-SPAN and Fusion both have plans for live coverage on Facebook.


YouTube is the official live stream partner for the RNC, with a stream set up by the convention itself.

YouTube doesn’t appear to have thought through the potential for inappropriate comments on its live stream, as early viewers complained that the comments were pretty vile. The comments section is now completely disabled, which means viewers won’t get the same interactive experience on YouTube as they will on Twitch, Twitter or Facebook. If you’re not interested in interactivity but want a high-def feed, this is the live stream for you.


The official RNC app, RNC 2016, uses Google to offer an “immersive experience” of 360-degree convention video. RNC 2016 is available for iOS and Android, and it comes with maps and several other useful features for those attending the convention. The YouTube live stream will be hosted within the RNC 2016 app, along with the 360 video and other features.

TV Broadcasts

For the more traditional viewers who want to watch the convention on their TV rather than in a browser tab or mobile app, a number of news networks and TV platforms will have streaming coverage. Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku are all expected to have live streams, and outlets like MSNBC, PBS, Fox, and NBC will be broadcasting on TV as well as online.

What to Watch

Once you decide how you want to watch the convention, you’ll still need to tangle with the schedule. Each day of the convention is focused on a different theme, spinning off Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Today’s theme is “Make America Safe Again,” with primetime coverage beginning after the Convention Business Session. The speakers are mostly focused on Benghazi and immigration (although Melania Trump and Willie Robertson, the star of Duck Dynasty, are inexplicably included in the safety lineup). The headliners are: Melania Trump, Lieutenant General (ret.) Michael Flynn, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jason Beardsley and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (Mont.).

Tuesday’s theme is “Make America Work Again,” and the lineup is filled with Congress members and other government officials. The ones to watch will be Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has very reluctantly backed Trump in the run-up to the convention, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who angled to become Trump’s pick for vice president but was ultimately passed over for Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Two Trump kids, Donald Jr. and Tiffany, also made the list. They’re accompanied by some of Trump’s celebrity buddies, including UFC president Dana White and pro golfer Natalie Gulbis. Trump’s former opponent Ben Carson is also scheduled to appear. Tuesday’s headliners are: Donald Trump, Jr., U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Ben Carson and Kimberlin Brown.

Wednesday’s theme is “Make America First Again” and primetime coverage is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. EDT. The schedule features another one of Trump’s VP contenders, Newt Gingrich. More of Trump’s former opponents are slated to come kiss the ring, including Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Trump’s VP pick, Pence, will also address the crowd.

Although the themes of “safety” and “work” are pretty clear, it’s not easy to discern from Wednesday’s schedule what the “first” theme is all about. One thing’s for sure, though — the day wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from one of Trump’s offspring. Wednesday is Eric Trump’s time to shine. The RNC says Wednesday’s headliners also include Lynne Patton and Gingrich’s wife Callista.

Thursday, the final day of the RNC, also has a confusing theme: “Make America One Again.” This is the day that TechCrunch readers will most likely want to tune in, as it’s the day when Peter Thiel is expected to finally discuss his support for Trump. The primetime program starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

In addition to Thiel’s remarks, viewers can also catch speeches from Dr. Lisa Shin, “an authority on eye care and vision protection” who is also the leader of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, RNC chairman Reince Priebus and Ivanka Trump. The Donald himself will close out the evening.

For a full schedule and speaker bios, visit the RNC website.