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The GOP convention could actually matter

December 21st, 2011 by Steven Gardner

National political conventions haven’t mattered since 1980, when the Democrats fought over rules about whether delegates should be locked in. Even then, the outcome seemed pretty certain, as it has in every convention since then and for quite a while before.

That could change this year, according to a piece written by Michael Medved in The Daily Beast. In the column, Republicans, Dissatisfied with Their Presidential Field, Dream of Deadlock, Medved contends there is a slight chance the GOP nominee might not be picked until the actual convention. Among the reasons is the lack of a true “Super Tuesday” this year and fewer states operating with a winner-take-all formula.

Of all the things Medved says, this to me is the most true:

This outcome appeals to all media outlets (which would relish the high drama and corresponding high ratings) as well as party organizers who would welcome the engagement of the grass roots in a fiercely competitive race and a visibly open convention.

I salivate at the prospect of a convention that matters. I asked my company to send me to both conventions in 2008, even offering to take a bus and find homes to crash in. The response from my bosses was that conventions are scripted infomercials. They were right. I don’t plan on repeating the request this year, but I’ll enjoy the festivities much more.

Where I disagree with the headline is that this is happening because Republicans are dissatisfied. While true that there probably is a lack of enthusiasm for any candidate other than Ron Paul, if party members were generally excited about more than one candidate the same scenario could exist. The truth is no one has managed to pull away. (Again, like I’ve said before, that’s an interesting expectation to have when there hasn’t been even a single caucus or primary.) The point is that the race is even enough that this next year offers the most promise we’ve seen in years that a primary process might not deliver a clear winner.

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3 Responses to “The GOP convention could actually matter”

  1. Mick Sheldon Says:

    The media would have a a ratings boost for sure . I like Mitt Romney because I believe he just articulates the best message of freedom from government intrusion and supports smaller government . Have to get spending under control . But that I guess is basically what most people who support republican politics sould support and its clear Romney like the others is not leading the pack .

    Republicans have won with moderates like Bush Sr , but it was really because of poorer candidates. George Bush won against Gore who should have really won considering the economy I believe was doing pretty good and we had balanced the budget , ” maybe he did ” but most of thepopulation did not even know Gore had a personality till his movie documentary came out .;0)

    Mitt I thought was considered a conservative last time around , this time he is not . Perhaps because the republican establishment has really supported him and most conservatives appear to have a problem with the Republican establishment that raised the debt under Bush so badly .

    Who knows , I am glad i am no longer a registered republican . I think the system is broken myself . Both parties .

    Its going to a side show in my opinion if it is an Open Convention . Ron Paul and Newt are loose cannons , they are like a box of chocalates , you never know what you will get next .

  2. Denis Says:

    Good comments, Mick.

    Be careful with the use of the word “conservative”. Modern Republicans, the more avid ones, have turned the meaning of the word to be nothing like the dictionary says.

    Sure would like to see the good old GOP resurface!

  3. Colleen Smidt Says:

    On this you and I completely agree Mick. I also no longer align myself with the Republican Party locally or nationally. Individually, I support a considerable amount of Republicans. As an organized group, they disgust me.

    Newt? Romney? I don’t like either one of them for President. Not even a little. Ron Paul? His position on foreign policy makes it impossible for me to support him.

    From my perspective, it is going to take a bottom up resurgence, in people becoming a much more educated and involved participant in a governmental system by the people for the people to bring our country out of the economic and social slumps we are in. NOT whatever interchangeable, partisan puppet master is voted in at the top.

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