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DNC: A Look at Conventions Past

by Cally Carswell 


Tags: Politics, Election 2008, Democratic National Convention, Republican National Convention, DNC, RNC, political conventions, Hillary Clinton, Huffington Post, the Atlantic, the Weekly Standard,

Little “real news” is expected to come out of Denver and St. Paul, and any potential drama—from unhappy Clinton loyalists, for instance—is being carefully planned for.

But this wasn’t always the case. Detailing the events of the 1948 Democratic National Convention for the Huffington Post, Chris Weigant writes, “The Democratic National Convention back then did have dramatic events showing the party not just divided, but actually splintering into factions and birthing a new (but, thankfully, short-lived) third party as a result. All this from the convention floor itself.”

Looking further back, the Atlantic offers up historic convention perspectives from its archives dating to 1884. Articles covering the 1884, 1936, 1968, and 1980 conventions trace the impact of radio and television, analyze the shortcomings of the process, and provide an interesting look at the road to the modern convention.

The story of that modern convention is really a “tale-of-two-conventions,” according to Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard. Ferguson writes, “As the party conventions grow wan and meaningless, drained of all surprise and news value and practical importance, they have been kept alive by the second convention, the journalists’ convention, which in contrast grows larger, more elaborate, and more robust every four years.” (Thanks, Harper's.)

For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Democratic National Convention, click here.