Those Political Party Conventions

The US has made political history by holding their party conventions virtually.

That brings me to a thought I had……

Conventions–A necessity or a complete waste of time?

But first we need to look at why they had their beginnings and how they have changed over the years…..

George Washington didn’t have a nominating convention. As the commander of the colonial forces in the American Revolution, he was an easy candidate to select from among the eligible pool of any white man 35 and older, and he won his first two elections without any real competition. After that, there was no clear path for narrowing the pool, so political parties developed their own ways of choosing candidates.

Parties began holding conventions in the early 19th century and presidential primaries in the early 20th century. The convention remained the main way of selecting candidates until 1972, when new rules gave the primaries more power to determine the nominee. Since then, conventions have become a way to celebrate a predetermined candidate, rather than a means of choosing one.

Then we ask…why do we need these conventions?

The standard answer is that the conventions allow the parties — and their nominees — to define themselves on the national stage. In addition, conventions supposedly produce a “bounce” of popularity that catapults the better-performing candidate into the White House.

But in this era of non-stop news saturation, haven’t the candidates already had ample opportunity define themselves? It’s hard to see why they deserve four extra days of round-the-clock TV coverage, or why taxpayers should be shelling out $136 million to fund two big marathons of cocktail mixers, buffet lines, and canned speeches.

And the bounce-to-the presidency idea is mostly a myth. John McCain got a bigger post-convention bounce in 2008 than Barack Obama, but Obama trounced McCain in November. Barry Goldwater got a bigger bounce in 1964 than Lyndon Johnson, who went on to win the White House by the widest margin in U.S. history.

Why do we need political conventions?

I have been watching American politics for 60 years and still to this day see no necessity for these damn conventions.  To me it is a waste of time and money especially in the last 25 years or so….

In case you are not aware of the devolution of the conventions I can help…..

1976 Republicans: The last convention at which there was any doubt whatsoever of the identity of a major-party nominee.

1972 Democrats: George McGovern delivers his acceptance speech at 2:48 a.m. ET, which led to greatly tightened schedules and scripted proceedings in both parties.

1968: The last year before rules passed requiring primaries to choose most or all delegates. Also the last conventions featuring “spontaneous” demonstrations on behalf of candidates whose names were formally put into nomination.

1956 Democrats: Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson let delegates name his running mate without making a recommendation. On the second ballot, Estes Kefauver edged John F. Kennedy (Albert Gore Sr., finished third on the first ballot).

1952 Democrats: Last multi-ballot presidential nomination contest; Stevenson drafted on the third ballot.

1940 Republicans: Stage-managed galleries stampede convention with chants of “We Want Willkie!”

1924 Democrats: Dark horse John W. Davis nominated on the 103nd ballot.

1920 Republicans: The original “smoke-filled room” chose Warren Harding, who was subsequently nominated on the tenth ballot.

1896 Democrats: Keynote speaker William Jennings Bryan electrifies the convention with his “Cross of Gold” speech and is himself nominated on the fifth ballot.

1880 Republicans: New York’s Roscoe Conkling delivers arguably the most famous nomination address ever, for Ulysses S. Grant, beginning:

The time has come to move past these fossils of our political system….the 21st century has arrived and we need politics to arrive as well……

The media is no better…..they trot out the fossils from the past old farts that have NO idea about the future and establishment lackeys that are only concerned with the status quo….and those know no racial bounds.

The conventions are the beginning of a political circus every four years….they serve NO purpose!  The average person learns nothing from the conventions for most have their minds already made up before the convention begins.

They are about as worthless as the US Senate these days.

I would like your thoughts on this topic….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2 thoughts on “Those Political Party Conventions

  1. You have your conventions, we have our party conferences. Both are an exercise in self-congratulation and back-slapping, and both a monumental waste of money.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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