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It is convention time, folks. The Republicans meet in Philadelphia’s Comcast-Spectator’s First Union Center from July 31 through Aug. 3; the Democrats at the Staples Center in Los Angeles from Aug. 14 through 17. The conventions have a serious purpose. They are the supreme authorities in which the parties chart their future course of conduct and define their principles. The conventions select the nominees for president and vice president; create a platform of issues that defines the party philosophy; make rules for the conduct of party business; select officers and serve as a family reunion of the party faithful.

The substance of the conventions has not changed much since their inception over a century ago. The delegates adopt rules, accept credentials of delegates, agree on a platform of issues, nominate candidates for president and vice president, cheer their acceptance speeches and go home. But the form of the conventions has changed through time, generally to accommodate or exploit the communications systems of the day.

The 2000 conventions will lack the network television exposure that politicians had come to expect. Gavel-to-gavel exposure for the conventions has been de rigueur since 1948, when television began. This year, the networks are relying more on their cable networks and on the Internet to cover the totality of the conventions and will be doing select portions of the events — focusing more on the candidates’ elections and their appearances in the convention hall. Frankly, even the most avid political buff became bored fffs fffh It’s convention time again

It is convention time, folks. The Republicans meet in Philadelphia’s Comcast-Spectator’s First Union Center from July 31 through Aug. 3; the Democrats at the Staples Center in Los Angeles from Aug. 14 through 17. The conventions have a serious purpose. They are the supreme authorities in which the parties chart their future course of conduct and define their principles. The conventions select the nominees for president and vice president; create a platform of issues that defines the party philosophy; make rules for the conduct of party business; select officers and serve as a family reunion of the party faithful.

The substance of the conventions has not changed much since their inception over a century ago. The delegates adopt rules, accept credentials of delegates, agree on a platform of issues, nominate candidates for president and vice president, cheer their acceptance speeches and go home. But the form of the conventions has changed through time, generally to accommodate or exploit the communications systems of the day.

The 2000 conventions will lack the network television exposure that politicians had come to expect. Gavel-to-gavel exposure for the conventions has been de rigueur since 1948, when television began. This year, the networks are relying more on their cable networks and on the Internet to cover the totality of the conventions and will be doing select portions of the events — focusing more on the candidates’ elections and their appearances in the convention hall. Frankly, even the most avid political buff became bored chairman has been created and assigned to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. State and local elected officials are named to other offices.

The schedule is ritualized. The convention opens on Monday with a rousing speech from the keynote speaker. This position is much sought after among the up and coming political leaders of the party. Being designated for the keynote means you have arrived. It is seen as a rare opportunity to address the nation.

Tuesday night is given to issues as the platform is discussed, debated and accepted. Party experts in various fields are showcased to explain the party’s commitments to the laundry list of issues that are covered in the platform.

Wednesday, the convention does its work. It nominates the candidate for president in a ritualistic roll call of the states. This won’t be much fun this year, since the results have been locked in stone since March 14. The Republicans will break with tradition, elect their candidate for vice president on Wednesday night and hear his acceptance speech that same night.

Thursday is the presidential candidate’s night. It is a coronation. Texas Gov. George W. Bush will be lionized by introducers and displayed in the most attractive way. It is the first big speech of the campaign. He will set the tone and define the issues he expects to use to claim the White House. The commotion on the floor of the convention when he is introduced will be a highlight of the year for the party faithful.

Much of the work of the convention is done through a committee structure. Both parties have essentially the same structure. The committee on credentials receives and reviews the credentials of each delegate and decides on the propriety of the qualifications of each delegate to sit at the convention. This year their jobs will be easy because there are no contests that can determine the outcome of the nomination.

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