Are the conventions still relevant?

The Republican National Convention is compressing its activities into a shorter time because of the weather, and the television networks are offering only limited coverage of its proceedings. Meanwhile, the party’s nominee for vice president has been known for weeks, and its presidential choice for much longer. There has been even less suspense on the Democratic side. Today’s Question: Are the conventions still relevant?

  • Duane

    Yes, it is extremely relevant, especially to the party not in power or in the case where the sitting president is not running for reelection. Until the nominees are selected and properly voted on, the complete campaign funding is not available. In the case of the 2012 election, the current president has been campaigning and fund raising for reelection for over a year, while the opposition has had to make it through many primaries or caucus selections. This process makes it quite difficult for the opposition party to fully present its candidate until the selection is made at the convention. The current president has made good use of this unequal playing field, but I feel the path will be much more difficult for him here forward.

  • Steve the Cynic

    No. Ironically, conventions produced better candidates in the days when decisions were made in “smoke-filled rooms” than they do these days, since candidates have to pander to their parties’ extremist fringes. Lincoln could not have been nominated under today’s rules. He got the nomination in 1860 by being nearly everyone’s second choice, even though he was almost no one’s first choice. It’s hard to find any level-headed pragmatists any more.

  • Richard

    No. Only to the party activist activists. The party faithful ultimately fall in line after falling in love and so forth.

    Those of us who live in a “solid” blue or red state are virtually ignored by the Obama and Romney campaigns. We got attention during the Republican primary, but now that both nominations are locked up, the candidates are ignoring us.

    The problem is an electoral system that allows presidential candidates to safely ignore the vast majority of the citizens while terrorizing those unfortunate enough to live in the few “battleground states” with an endless barrage of attack ads.

  • Gary F

    Yes, but somewhat less.

    In today’s world of instant access via cable news stations, the internet, and talk radio, I can see the 4 major networks and the dead tree media not taking as much interest in it because of the competition.

  • Lou

    No – the conventions have basically become infomercials with everything staged for the media coverage. They are necessary to have a structured process for nominating a candidate, but they have no newsworthy significance and they deserve no more of the electorate’s attention than any other campaign activity.

  • Gary F

    Have you seen what Code Pink is doing for the convention? How much media time will that get?

    How about the “Occupy Movement”. Or should they be buttered, because they are toast?

    Do they have a “Welcoming Committee” in Tampa, saving their urine and feces in zip lock bags?

    From this, I’d day say, no, they are not relevant.

  • Kurt Nelson

    I would say yes, they are relevant today, but not as much as in the past.

    Many of us complain about people not involved in the process, or not being informed, and conventions provide some of that background. Like another commenter, I agree that they have become infomercials, but they still provide a means for the party to rally the troops, and I believe that is important.

    Do they change peoples minds, or sway their convictions, nope, probably not, but that in of itself does not make them irrelevant.

    I will not watch a ton of the convention, but will check in to see the frenzy and smiling happy people wearing goofy red/white/ blue suits.

  • david

    Not to me.

  • Jim G

    No real news comes from the coverage of these multi-day commercials. The conventions are an excuse for parties to access free media time to sell their prepackaged messages. I expect nothing of consequence will happen. In fact, the media go out of their way to ignore negative images which conflict with the party-line script of each convention or they risk losing access to the campaign leadership calling the shots.

  • Ann

    Haven’t the conventions always been just a “cheerleading pep rally?” I am not excited this year because I am very disappointed with the Republicans’ choice for a candidate. I can’t relate to someone who believes he can become a god of his own planet as his god did. Also, what incentives will he give employers to hire those of us who are long term unemployed? Will many of us be on the streets in a few years when we are in our sixties?

  • James

    On the surface, they seem pretty irrelevant.

    Seeing as how the Parties are just virtual collections of individuals who share the same labels but don’t actually talk to each other much, I would like to think that getting 3,000 of the most active and interested Party particpants together for a few days might lead to some fresh ideas, fresh approaches and fresh leadership down the road.

    Perhaps the important stuff still goes on in the back rooms.

  • GregX

    Only in the way that newspapers are still relevant to media. they formalize the occurance of a decision to a place with people. the fact that most of them are in constant contact with everyone NOT at the convention as part of their decision thought process kihnd of negates the need to actually be there – and the expense of setting it up or traveling there. we are becoming the matrix.

  • CarlS

    It’s seems like a self-promoting pep fest. But that’s fine. It’s entertaining and potentially informative. When the nominee makes their speech I see it as sort of a premiere for the State of the Union speech, and I can watch how they perform (and its mostly a performance anyway).

  • Dave

    Still relevant yes, although not as much as they used to be.

    When I was growing up they were very relevant. It was late summer and the audience was tired of re-runs on only three available TV stations, four after public tv came along. Last night I had the convention urge, but my wife had brought home a new HBO series on DVD. I soon was entranced by a U.S. Marshal’s fast draw rather than the smiling false faces that entertained me in my early years, decked out on red white and blue stages in late August with confetti and balloons raining down.

    Ahhh, those were the days.

  • Alison & Charles

    Are the conventions still relevant?

    Relevant to indicate the Repugnant-kin/Dummy-crat delusion and hypocrisy.

    End the War on Drugs already,

    The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

  • Paul

    Another display of “the politics of spectacle and rage” reveal a lot about the decision making ability of the voters.

  • Jeff Miller

    I am going to go ahead and say…. Maybe. The fact that the candidate is already chosen doesn’t give much credence to the idea that it means anything, but there is a lot of other issues addressed at national conventions. Namely, the platform the party will pursue the next 4 years.

    Despite Ron Paul and a lot of his delegates being disenfranchised by the Republican establishment, a lot of his issues are being addressed on the platform and will go for a vote. Things like auditing the Federal Reserve, war declaration from Congress (and congress only), and domestic security (over-barring as they are in nature) concerns will be addressed in the platform at the RNC.

    So we’ll see if the RNC can show us that they are still relevant by making actual strides to redirect our country towards life, liberty, and property.