Could conventions serve old role?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

For several years, the national presidential nominating conventions of the major parties have become anti-climactic events, going through the formal motions of naming candidates who have already been decided through the process of state primaries and caucuses.

The possibility has to be considered that this year, a clear winner may not have emerged in one or both major political parties before the national conventions take place.

There are two factors contributing to this possibility. One is that there are so many candidates vying for the political nomination in each party. Although some national media are determined to reduce the pack in each party to two or three "serious candidates," the candidates and the general public are not yet accepting this artificially imposed limitation on the selection process.

Another factor is that many states are moving up the date of their primaries out of jealousy over the attention that Iowa and New Hampshire traditionally get.

With a compressed schedule for selecting convention delegates, no candidate has time to build momentum and to pressure weaker candidates to withdraw for the sake of party unity.

It is still likely that one person in each party will clearly emerge as the nominee before the conventions but the conventions would certainly be more interesting if this was not the case.