The theme for today has really been why conventions are even important. Our required book, “The Road to the White House“, opens up by discussing the history of nomination processes and conventions. The conventions’ purposes changed as political parties formed and factionalized and composed themselves. The conventions, in a rough-overall summary, have gone from gathering place for nomination of a candidate for president, to a showcase for the accepted candidate representing the party. It went from a first step to a near-final step.
So now, the biggest question revolving around presidential conventions is of their vitality to their campaigns today. Are they even still important? Our in-resident journalist for the program, Aaron Brown (yes, former CNN anchor, face-of-9/11 Aaron Brown), would argue that they are irrelevant. Today, during his lecture to us, he voiced that he feels conventions have lost their luster and purpose. In his opinion, the showcase of a candidate isn’t as important to American people because not only can it be pretentious, but because of the amount of coverage and other options on t.v. (he actually cited one of my favorite – “In the Kitchen with Emeril”), the conventions are not watched. He also argued that their current purpose is mainly to gain support of teetering voter, in which Brown claims are too few and far between for the money spent on conventions.
Partly this is true: to some extent, these conventions are like “pep rallies” to show support for the candidates and gain votes of the undecideds. However, they’re not completely pointless. Our senior advisor, Congressman Mickey Edwards, said that although this is a place for Romney to show his competence against Obama as a better alternative, it is a “pep rally” in more of a collectivist way. 2012, him and Dr. Meena Bose of Hofstra University pointed out, is the year of a “better America”. It’s less specific to candidate and certain policies and more specific to the betterment of the whole country. Their platforms cover broad ranges of issues, rather than spotlight their options on one or a few. The conventions are important to bring parties together, not because of a candidate, but because of our federal government and nation as a whole.
Today’s insights make me excited and hopeful for not only the convention, but what the conventions’ futures bring for the future of politics, which I think is less ‘pretentious’ and more grassroots… better priorities by putting the nation and it’s ability first.