What’s Happening Here?

I’m not sure I’ve been able to get any real sense of what this convention is for.

I understand its role in history, and I understand its formal role in the presidential campaign. Which is to say that I understand that “there is a convention because there’s always been a convention.”

But I’ve been hard-pressed to find anything that comes close to resembling the kind of participatory democracy that I, perhaps naively, expected to find here.

This is not a national town hall meeting; it’s more akin to a televised debutante ball. I’m afraid that politics here in America is so abstracted from reality that it is, in fact, impossible to understand on a level other than the superficial.

Perhaps this is inevitable in a country as large, complex, and diverse as this. But I’ve a vague, depressing feeling that there may not actually anything of interest here. The convention, despite all appearances to the contrary, might not be newsworthy, if one takes that to mean that to be news something has to be more than simply self-reverential.


Lisa Howard's picture
Lisa Howard on July 27, 2004 - 18:39 Permalink

Is it at all possible to talk to anybody interesting? I mean, is it possible to interview anyone? I think that would be my strategy if I were there.

Chris Corrigan's picture
Chris Corrigan on July 27, 2004 - 20:34 Permalink

Maybe ask people whay THEY think this convention is happening. It does indeed sound like a multi million dollar formality. But I’ve heard and read a lot lately that the Democratic Party needs to build a very good network to win this election. Is there any of that going on? Are there strategy sessions with lots of people where ideas are being discussed? Or is it all backroom and people just chuffed to have been selected to attend?

Where is the real work of planning the campaign going on? And who is doing it?

oliver's picture
oliver on July 27, 2004 - 22:12 Permalink

At the very least being there is like being at the making of an influential movie. What the world thinks of as the movie isn’t happening on the set while you’re there, but you’re witnessing an important stage of its manufacture. In that sense, so what if it’s scripted?

Drew's picture
Drew on July 27, 2004 - 23:27 Permalink

They have to have to convention to officially cast the votes. Up to now all the primary voters did was elect delegate/representitaves, just like we do during the presidential vote. They cast their votes, and IF* Kerry wins, then the DNC has to OFFER the position of nominee to JFK. Then he has to ACCEPT it**. Then, and only then, is he actually running, and the FEDERAL MONEY meter starts ticking!

Follow the money” is almost always good advice when you don’t understand something happening.

* = not all delegates are obligated to vote for the person they were brought in to vote for. The presidential electoral college works in a similar way. Conceivably they could all change their minds and vote for Hillary.

** = he doesn’t have to accept it if he doesn’t want to.