Good Question

Aug 29, 2012 11:40 PM by John Reger

GQ: Why do the political parties hold nominating conventions when everybody already knows who's running for President?

In the old days, presidential candidates were chosen by party bosses in smoke-filled back rooms at conventions. Now the events are mostly ceremonial with the outcome settled before they even start.

Shirley Vega from Paso Robles wants to know: Why do the parties hold conventions when everybody already knows who's running for President? And who pays for them? Good Question.

First, they're the venues to officially announce the tickets. The individual speakers chosen for key roles signal which voters the party is trying to attract, like women or Latinos. Rising stars in the party get national exposure and the party platform gets laid out on free, primetime TV.

The parties fulfill the the bylaws of their organizations with a national meeting. Plus, delegates and activists get to network while building excitement for the election.

And since a President connects with the public primarily through high-stakes speeches, the acceptance speech by the nominee shows if he has the goods.

This year's conventions cost $40 million each. Both party's get $18 million from taxpayers who donated by checking a box on their tax return.

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