Conventions Today, 1980-present

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Throughout the remainder of the 20th century, conventions for both parties remained relatively routine procedures, with nominees chosen well in advance. Conventions became carefully staged events designed to excite the party faithful and present the nominee to the national audience. While it is easy to get lost in the pageantry, it is important to note that conventions remain an integral part of our political process.

Numerous conventions since 1980 have had moments that highlight the continued relevance of the events: Walter Mondale’s declaration that both he and Ronald Reagan would raise taxes, but that only Mondale was being honest with the American people; Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey’s inability to speak at the 1992 Democratic convention because of his self-proclaimed opposition to abortion, the 2004 GOP convention in New York, site of the fall of the World Trade Center three years prior, Sarah Palin’s electrifying 2008 RNC speech, and former President Bill Clinton’s convincing speech on behalf of President Barack Obama in 2012.

Conventions remain relevant to the national political scene even as they have become increasingly scripted and rehearsed. This is because they introduce presidential and vice presidential nominees to the entire nation.  Conventions remain significant in 2012, especially to new voices in each party.  As the 2004 DNC keynote speaker would attest, conventions are still important in the 21st century.