Political Conventions Are Now Literally Party Advertisements

Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal/POOL via ZUMA

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For the past few decades all the old guard political reporters have bemoaned the fact that political conventions serve no real purpose anymore and are basically just prime time ads for the political parties. Well guess what? COVID-19 has finally turned them literally into party advertisements: just a bunch of prerecorded segments edited together into a 2-hour infomercial.

And it’s great! The pace is livelier than live conventions; more people get to speak since their segments can be more tightly controlled; and in an era of media sophistication I’ll bet viewers like it better. They know perfectly well how it’s being put together and they don’t mind.

So here’s a semi-prediction: Four years from now conventions might remain virtual. It’s a helluva lot cheaper for the parties. It makes for a better show. And the candidates have tighter control over the whole thing. The only thing missing is the buckraking parties that can only take place in person, but maybe modern fundraising techniques make those unnecessary anyway. Check back in four years to see if I’m right.

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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