There was a time, not too long ago, when all major political conventions were “brokered,” when you didn’t know who would emerge as the party’s nominee for president — or even vice president — until the final day and several ballots were cast among the delegates.
What’s amusing to me is that recent party conventions have been maligned for years as too predictable, as meaningless, as boring, and mere “coronations” of the chosen nominee. There has been no mystery, no intrigue, and certainly no “gavel-to-gavel” coverage by all major networks.
But 2016 is a different story, isn’t it? We now have the very real possibility of reaching this summer’s Republican convention with no candidate possessing enough delegates to secure the nomination. And it’s a good thing.
Personally, I miss watching conventions that actually mean something, that are more than mere propaganda for a particular candidate and political philosophy. I miss floor fights over the party platform. I miss multiple ballots and the mystery of who will be named the candidate for vice president.
So here’s my advice for the Republicans.
Rather than resist a brokered convention, the Republican Party should embrace it with open arms as a golden opportunity to generate more interest and awareness of what it believes before a huge audience.
By encouraging debate, discussion and dialogue on live television and streaming online, the Republicans would arguably win converts and attract more voters to their side of the aisle. Entering the convention with the nominee still in question, the GOP would have prime-time TV viewers for at least three straight nights. They could set up 1-800 numbers for people to call in and share their viewpoints on issues and the convention as it unfolds (as well as donate). They could generate unprecedented social media attention and website traffic. They could showcase their state and congressional candidates via interviews both online and on TV. The list goes on.
And when it’s all over, you’ll have created a consensus ticket that America has already seen up close and personal, you’ll have aired the equivalent of a three-day Republican infomercial, and you’ll have the email addresses and phone numbers of additional supporters.
I’m not holding my breath that this will happen, of course, but I think it would be an ingenious way for the Republicans to put a new coat of paint on their party and undo much of the negative press they have generated during this campaign.
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