How meaningful is the role of Party Conventions

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  • Created on: 07-06-14 19:08
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Do the major party conventions still play a meaningful role?
· They only have a ceremonial role in choosing the Presidential
candidate, as due to the introductions of primaries and caucuses in
the 1970s, who the candidate is going to be clear is very clear.
· They also have a ceremonial role in choosing the Vice Presidential
candidate- President selects his running mate, and even the tradition
of announcing the VP candidate at the Convention has been eroded,
as Kerry in 2004 announced John Edwards as his running mate months
before the Convention.
· There is not as much media coverage as in previous years; for
example in 1968 the three main terrestial television stations, ABC,
CBS and NBC broadcasted 46 hours of the Republican National
Convention, in 2008, they managed to put out 1 hour of proceedings
each evening.
· They approve the party platform- ie what the basis of their
campaign will be. For example, in 2008, both party platforms
showed the differences on the right to life- Republicans pro life and
Democrats pro choice.
· They certainly played a significant role in 2012. The Democrats'
Convention went well, with Bill Clinton's momentum gathering
speech, which kickstarted a successful Democrat campaign.
Meanwhile, the RNC was delayed by a hurricane, and Clint
Eastwood's confusing speech kickstarted not such a good Republican
campaign, full of "Romney gaffes".
· Healing the divisions of the party. Throughout the primaries, the
party would have been divided on who was the right candidate for
Presidency, eg the debates of Clinton and Obama in 2008, and the
Conventions are good ways of healing divisions within the party and
making the voters believe they are united. For example, Clinton's
speech at the 2008 Convention worked well and convinced voters of
Conclusion: Party Conventions do play a meaningful role, as they unite the
party before the hard work of the election campaign with their opponent
begins. Despite declining mainstream media coverage and the ceremonial
roles, Conventions still a large part in defining the momentum of the
campaign to come, thus increasing its significance.


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