Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Will political conventions have to survive on only 3 days?

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Now that political conventions are merely a PR pep rally, will they permanently shrink to 3 days instead of 4?

The Republicans started this trend in 2008, shortening the coronation of John McCain and Sarah Palin to 3 days to honor those who suffered under Hurricane Gustav. The Democratic Party chose in 2012 to not work on Labor Day, a day the Republicans were going to work in 2008 until the adjustment for the hurricane. Now the Republicans aren’t going to work on Monday thanks to Hurricane Isaac.

Of course, the GOP also took Monday off because the major networks weren’t going to cover the RNC since they wanted to give equal time to both conventions. The Republicans wanted the broadcast networks to carry Ann Romney’s speech. So now the wife of the presidential nominee will speak on Tuesday.

This trend wouldn’t have started except the major parties wanted to run their conventions as late as possible. They want the momentum to run as late as possible as people finally pay attention to the presidential race.

One night for the presidential nominee, one night for the vice presidential nominee, one night for the keynote speaker and the rest.

The networks don’t really want to cover the conventions: 3-4 hours is all they want to do. The FCC licenses for public service be damned.

NBC won’t cover the second night of the Democratic convention for the kickoff to the NFL season. The NFL moved its debut game early for the Republicans in 2008 so as not to interrupt John McCain’s speech. The Dems moved Joe Biden’s speech to earlier on Thursday. NBC won’t show Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention. This would be a good time to remind TV stations of the ability to show more than one feed through the digital spectrum, but stations are under using that technology.

Another good reason for the parties to start thinking about earlier starts. If not for the hurricanes, think about the difficulty of competing against the NFL.

As we said during the Olympics, let the games begin!

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