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HOWEVER, DESPITE THE way conventions have strayed from their original purposes, many believe nominating conventions are still important. They provide the candidate with a bump in his poll numbers, a vehicle through which to communicate to a large audience and they act as one large, political pep rally, energizing the base and communicating their message to millions of voters watching across the country.
Jim Lehrer, host of PBS’s popular NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, attended his first convention in 1968 and agrees while they are very different in terms of purpose, they are the same in terms of impact.
“[The convention] catches the attention of the decided and undecided voter: It affirms, it confirms and it firms,” Lehrer explained. “So it’s there for everybody. If you’re already a big Democrat or Republican you want to see what your people are up to. Can they articulate the message? How do they do it?”
While the convention costs to the taxpayer are extravagant, and the original intent is obsolete, many believe this high tech tailgating party still serves an important role in Presidential politics.
David Mercer, Democratic Strategist and President of Mercer and Associates summarized the ideal modern convention like so: “[You] get party business done, celebrate together, you raise the enthusiasm and the excitement and you establish a marker in the mindset of the American people to capture their imagination that will thrust you forward and that will launch you into the general election.”
Of course, that’s the one that really matters.
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