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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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