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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Conventions still matter, but do we really need four days?



National party conventions matter, but four-day party conventions have probably outlived their usefulness.

Democrats long ago shrunk their convention in Charlotte next week to three days. Isaac is forcing the GOP to do the same in Tampa this week, just as Hurricane Gustav caused the party to scrub the first day of the 2008 convention in Minnesota.

In the end, it won't make any difference, other than some bruised egos among those bumped to lesser speaking slots.

To hear a growing chorus of convention organizers and fundraisers tell it, massive, four-day shows are anachronisms anyway. The amount of money and effort it takes to put on a convention, when the broadcast networks commit only three hours, just isn't worth it.

"Political conventions date back to shortly after this nation's founding and there's something inherently American about them. People like to watch them," said Ken Jones, president and CEO of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee, which was responsible for raising $55 million to put on the convention. "They're an American institution, and we should continue to have them in some form. Their scope and size? That remains to be seen."

Raising money for these events is far harder than any time in the era of modern conventions.

Column here

[Last modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 6:24pm]


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