Political Party Conventions: What Are They For?

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Party conventions used to nominate presidential candidates. Now that's all done in advance.  Next week's Republican Party convention plans to break with tradition. Instead of waiting until Wednesday, they'll nominate Mitt Romney on Monday, the first day of their convention in Tampa. Does that mean conventions don't matter? Recent history suggests that they do. Remember Barack Obama's keynote speech in 2004? Remember Sarah Palin in 2008? We hear about conventions past — with the voices of Franklin Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. How have the raucous gatherings of political insiders evolved into carefully scripted TV productions? Will the Republicans finally unite behind Mitt Romney next week in Tampa? Can they survive the Florida weather?




Warren Olney