What happens at a presidential convention? - FOX 13 News

What happens at a presidential convention?


Presidential conventions have exchanged their political debate of years past with made-for-TV drama meant to coronate a candidate. Here's what to expect.

Candidate nomination
The chief function of the convention is to nominate a candidate for president. Decades ago, the nomination was settled at the convention, making them sometimes contentious affairs with plenty of debate and drama. But since the protests and arrests at the 1968 Democratic convention, the parties have instead turned to national primary elections to choose the nominees. So the convention itself has turned into little more than a coronation.

Still, the conventions remain international media spectacles because of the large number of political heavyweights who are drawn to the events.

Even though the outcome is a foregone conclusion, there is still a roll call vote. Each state gets to make a brief statement and announce which candidate will get their delegates' votes -- as decided by the primary elections.

Anyone who has watched convention coverage will remember one thing: speech after speech after speech. Conventions give podium time to just about everyone -- from delegates to candidates to party luminaries. Of course, the big moment is the acceptance speech by the party's actual nominee. The entire event is geared toward showcasing the party's nominee as dramatically and fabulously as possible.

The most famously protested convention was the Democrats' 1968 gathering in Chicago. As many as 10,000 anti-war protestors taunted police and engaged them in a violent riot on live television outside the convention. Those images, coupled with raucous debate inside the convention, prompted changes to the nomination process that resulted in the primary elections handling the nominations.

Today, with much of the drama removed from the nominating process, the protests have diminished. However, the international spotlight on the conventions still draws activists from a variety of causes who hope to have an opportunity to spread their message.


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