Saturday, August 25, 2012

Are You Going to Watch the Republican and/or Democratic Conventions?

The national conventions for the Republican Party and Democratic Party will be going on these next two weeks.  The Republicans will have first crack at getting the attention of the nation.  The Democrats will follow suite the next week.  My question of the day is, will you be watching on TV either of the conventions?

I remember as a kid that I hated it when they came on TV.  Thank goodness they only came on once every four years.  All of my favorite shows were not on, and I did not know what was going on with these people.  There was a lot of talking going on, there were a lot of cheering (and some booing), and sometimes, there were lots of balloons.  How boring!

As I got older as a teenager and beyond, I became to better understand what was going on.  Each party was trying to decide who they wanted to run for president.  Sometimes it was just one party who was trying to make that decision, because the other party already knew who they wanted to run for president since that person was already president.  For example, in 1964, President Johnson was already president, and he was a Democrat.  The Republicans had to decide who they wanted to run.  If my memory serves me well, Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller were the primary candidates.  Goldwater was more conservative than Rockefeller, and he was the one nominated.

The various candidates ran in various primaries, but it was a rare event, if ever, if one candidate won enough primary delegates to have enough votes to qualify as the nominee ahead of the convention.  Thus the nominee was determined during the convention.  It would be up to the delegates who the nominee would be.  A lot of back room meetings were held, and a lot of deals were made.  Sometimes a dark horse candidate came from behind and became the nominee.  Sometimes many rounds of votes had to be taken before a candidate had a majority of votes.  Candidates did not usually become the nominee on the first ballot.

In 1968, both political parties had to select a nominee since President Johnson decided not to run again because of the opposition to the Viet Nam War. (In case you do not know, Johnson became president after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.  Johnson was reelected president by a landslide over Goldwater in 1964.).  Richard Nixon was the Republican nominee at the convention in Miami, if I am not mistaken.  The Democratic convention was held in Chicago, and it was a very contentious convention.  There were riots in the streets of Chicago, and the delegates themselves were very divided, mostly over the Viet Nam War.  In the end, Hubert Humphrey became the nominee.  He was the vice-president under Johnson  It certainly was not boring TV.  I did not mind that my favorite shows were not on.

Now we have changed the process on how the nominees are selected.  More primaries occur in various states, many debates are held, and thus the nominee is determined usually before the convention.  This year Mitt Romney secured the Republication nomination well before the convention.  He even has already selected someone to run with him for vice-president, Paul Ryan.  That determination used to be made during the convention.  Thus there is hardly any drama during the political conventions.  The nominees are already determined.  There might be a small fight over a platform issue, but nothing else.  The only thing of interest might be the nominee's acceptance speech.  The nominee might say something then about his vision for the future, both for the campaign and for when the person might be president.

Thus to answer my own question, I do not think I will be watching much of either convention on TV.  There should not be any drama to get excited over unless something very unexpected happens, and that would not be a good thing.  The real drama will be the campaign itself and the election itself.  It looks like it will be a very close race for the presidency.  We might not know who the next president will be until the wee hours of the morning.  That is drama  I just don't want the kind of drama that occurred in 2000.  We did not know who won until several days after the election, and that decision was not made by the people.  It was made by the Supreme Court of the U.S.  No one should want that, or anything like it, to happen again.

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