The Conventional Wisdom Why It’s Wrong

When the two parties gather to select their candidates, the proceedings will be empty glitz, with none of the import of old-time conventions. Or will they?

 

At some point in this election-year summer, as thousands of politicians, delegates, and journalists gather for the quadrennial rites of democracy known as national political conventions, commentators will complain that the proceedings have devolved to nothing more than a long television commercial.

 
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It Happens Every Four Years

The political convention was devised to meet an unforeseen need, and now and then it has an unexpected result

The national political convention is a device not provided for by the nation’s founding fathers. It came into being only after a number of presidential elections had been held, it was originally an occasional convenience rather than an established habit, and it became an essential part of political life only after the electoral machinery had developed ominous creakings. The truth of the matter seems to be that the founding fathers, who had foreseen much, had not precisely foreseen the rise of political parties.

 
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