Friday, May 11, 2007

Dean looking at future conventions

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Throughout the competition to host the 2008 Democratic Convention, a number of people commented here and elsewhere that a large convention was antiquated in this day and age, and alternatives should be looked at: shorter conventions, conventions held in multiple venues simultaneously, or even on-line. Well DNC Chairman Howard Dean wants to take a look at it:

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said Thursday the days of the $60 million political convention coronations are numbered and he's studying ways to make them more relevant to average people.

Dean said politicians need to find more ways to connect with voters, going door to door, instead of depending on television to deliver their messages. He said next year's convention in Denver will be different.

"We've got to change the way we do conventions in this country. I'm looking to try to make this a transitional convention, in the sense that the day of the $50-$60 million convention is coming to a close. The day of one-way campaigns where we do everything on television, and we don't listen to people before, is coming to a close. We need to be knocking on doors, talking to them directly, asking their opinions," Dean said during an interview on the Aaron Harber show on KDBI-TV.
I like Dean's intentions, but they're going to be hard to implement. That one hour of free television time for the nominee's speech, in front of 20,000 cheering people, along with all the other press coverage, is going to be hard to give up. And for that to happen you have to have the convention somewhere, and that's going to cost money. On the other hand, the economics of the convention make it much less of an attraction for the host cities, and I've wondered in the past whether there will even be any cities in the future that want to host these things.