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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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