The showmanship. The silly music. The ridiculous hats. Every four years, political conventions inspire absurd antics, from Vice President Al Gore's excruciatingly long smooch with then-wife, Tipper, to Clint Eastwood's recent conversation with an empty chair.
Until 1968, political conventions chose the nominees for president. Candidates competed until the very end, until the delegates cast their ballots at the RNC or the DNC. These days, the American people know the nominees months before the delegates formally choose their candidate.
Is it time to cut our losses, save each party millions of dollars, and put an end to political pseudo-drama every four years?
'Absolutely not!,' says Jonathan Bernstein, political scientist, journalist and the brains behind A Plain Blog about Politics. Bernstein argues that the Conventions serve a particular purpose in the life of our democracy, from introducing new candidates to the American public in prime time, to providing a forum for politicos from across the nation to network and strengthen party ties.