In Defense of Political Conventions

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

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. 


Jonathan Bernstein

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [3]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Clint Eastwood will be talked about for a hundred years. Nobody will remember Romney. Eastwood trying to communicate with humor and improvisation to a bunch of squares was a hoot. And that is why Conventions must be saved

I did not agree with Eastwood, but that was worth watching. I only hope Eastwood will be invited to The Democratic Party and Obama will really be in the chair telling Eastwood where to go.

Eventually, people will take my idea for Convention reform seriously:All conventions will be musicals.

Sep. 04 2012 12:29 PM
Duke Briscoe from Boston

Gee Hockenberry, you have a disdain for Gore. "excruciatingly long smooch"? I don't think it was an offensive length of time. And then you had a snide remark on them splitting up. It was ten years later that they split up so I don't think there is a sign that they had some kind of sham political marriage. You should do a story sometime about media treatment of Gore - check out Bob Somerby's Daily Howler blog for background research.

Sep. 04 2012 12:24 PM

The reason that Romney didn't release his tax returns is that he MOST LIKELY IS better off now than he was 4 years ago. In fact, most of the top 1% are better off.

Sep. 04 2012 09:39 AM

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