Gustav vs. Politics

Posted by Katherine | September 2, 2008 – 9:14 pm
Dollar bill graffiti saying we are all one
[knezovjb / Flickr]

Elvin Lim teaches government at Weslyan University in Connecticut. He suggests that the GOP’s lull in Minnesota — due to hurricane Gustav — raises a question about the real value of nomination conventions:

After all, nomination conventions no longer serve the functions that they used to serve just a half century ago. Back then, every convention was a “brokered” convention, when all delegates were what Democrats now call “superdelegates” and these party members jostled, bargained, and cast their votes on the floor to determine the party’s nominee.[…]

Because conventions no longer serve their principal original function, they are, at best, ceremonial vestiges of an era long past, and at worst unabashed celebrations of partisanship. Yet we have become so comfortable with them that we scarely remember that in no place in the Constitution are parties mentioned or sanctioned.[…]

The McCain campaign’s decision to temporarily scale back the political elements of the Republican Nomination Convention was, to some extent, a confession that nomination conventions are partisan affairs, and an admission that there is no time for partisanship and politics when there are real and pressing problems facing the country.

Elvin ends by admitting that even the Founders never could make good on their nonpartisan dream.

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