News / USA

Political Conventions Aim to Energize Party Faithful

Political Conventions Aim to Energize Faithfuli
|| 0:00:00
X
Carolyn Presutti
August 21, 2012 4:47 PM
Every four years in the United States, national political party conventions are held to officially introduce the presidential nominees to Americans. Early conventions were often governed by backroom negotiations to choose the nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. But now they are mainly ceremonial. And, as VOA’s Carolyn Presutti reports, some question the need to hold them any more.
Every four years in the United States, national political party conventions are held to officially introduce the presidential nominees to Americans. Early conventions were often governed by backroom negotiations to choose the nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties.  But now they are mainly ceremonial. And some question the need to hold them any more.
 
Just like a whistle that starts a soccer match, the conventions signal it’s time for the real game to begin. This high energy has to carry the U.S. presidential campaign through its final 10 weeks. 
 
In the past, political conventions were punctuated by intrigue and infighting.  
   
And even violence.  Anti war protesters dominated the story outside the 1968 Democratic party convention.
 
But now, party conventions are just big parties.  Everyone knows the nominees. 
 
That's because state primary elections, like the games leading up to soccer's World Cup, already decided who would make to it to the final match.  This year, the Democrat, President Barack Obama, will face Republican challenger Mitt Romney. There are few, if any spontaneous moments.  
 
John Hudak, with the Brookings Institution, said, “Everyone looks very similar in the terms of the types of policies that they are advocating for.”
 
Team unity comes with a steep price. Each political party receives $18 million from Americans who chose to donate three dollars from their federal tax return.  The conventions are expected to cost each party more than double that -- $40 million.  Some say it’s money that should be spent differently.  
 
Richard Savage, a political consultant, said, “People who are in the middle or independents, they may see it as a waste of money, but a lot of people who make the phone calls, do the door-to-door, the convention is kind of their reward.”
 
Conventions sometimes introduce rising political rookies. Barack Obama first gained national attention as the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic convention.   
 
“If you are living abroad and you don’t follow American politics too closely, this lets you see who’s on the back bench," said Hudak. 
 
But, the "free kick" at conventions is the TV coverage. American TV networks broadcast from each convention and offer play-by-play analysis of the candidates - invaluable, says Norman Ornstein from the American Enterprise Institute. “Free coverage.  You don’t have to pay for commercials when networks are covering hours of the message you want to convey," he said. 
 
And just like in soccer, whoever scores the most wins.  For candidates, the goal is to live in the White House. But we won't know who that will be until November 6, election day. 
 

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid