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A stroll in Liberty State Park in Jersey City on Saturday, when all state parks, golf courses and county parks reopened in New Jersey.
If the party conventions are called off, will they be missed?
Political conventions, with all the attendant hoopla of nominating a candidate for the White House, have been a part of American campaign life for nearly 200 years. Politicians love them. Pundits love them. Reporters love them. And what’s not to like? Four days of talking and living politics in a hall filled with some of the biggest stars of politics and journalism. Did we mention the open bars and free food?
Not surprisingly, the idea of a convention — packing thousands of people into a crowded arena — seems a little less alluring these days. The Democrats are considering scrapping the event this year, and the Republicans might follow suit.
But would that really be so bad?
Even before the pandemic threatened to push the conventions off the 2020 stage, party members were wondering if their time had already passed. The days when real nominating decisions were made at conventions seem long gone. Live network coverage has dwindled to an hour a night.
But more than anything, the parties’ gatherings are a reminder of an old-school kind of politics that doesn’t seem to have the power to influence governance or ideas in this age of antiestablishmentarianism on both the left and the right. Trump’s victory in 2016 was very much a defeat of the Republican Party itself.
The open bars and free food are hard to resist, but the truth is, the Democratic and Republican Parties are no longer what they once were — and neither are their quadrennial conventions.
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