What's the big deal?27 Jul 2004
Matthew asks What's the big deal about the Democratic convention? "I mean Kerry is set to be nominated, so that would take like half an hour. Then they could release the balloons, have a speech and be back on the road by midday.What else?"
Well, technically the convention is like a German Parteitag, with delegates voting on personel, resolutions and positions for the campaign. But in reality it's a scripted media circus... but it's an important circus nonetheless. Being able to put on a good circus is an essential quality for a president. For 4 days the Democrats have the party have the media stage to themselves and on their terms. Americans have had 4 years to form an impression of the incumbant, but only a few months to get to know the challenger. If he can't make a good impression now, he never will.
In an American presidential election it is very difficult to defeat an incumbant. Clinton did it, Carter was a special case, otherwise you have to go back to FDR in 1932. If Kerry is to have a chance this November, he needs to put on a good convention.
(Back in the States when I was young, I was a delegate at a couple of political conventions, but only up to the congressional district level, never state or national.)