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A lot of time and money is spent on political conventions, but some pundits characterize them as a four-day infomercial. Ken Ciboski, a Wichita State University political scientist, says although most people probably don't pay a lot of attention to them, there are still some reasons to have political conventions.
Announcer: Are national political conventions a short-term spectacle, or are they, as some pundits characterize them, a four-day infomercial? Whatever they are, it appears the general public has a rather blasé attitude toward political conventions, according to Wichita State University political scientist Ken Ciboski.
Ciboski: "Usually most people have other interests. They're not really interested in politics that much and they don't pay much attention to what's going on with the political campaigns until well after Labor Day. And so the political party conventions are usually held in the summer/early fall, and people have other activities, school is beginning and so on, so they just don't want to pay any attention to the political rhetoric at that time."
Announcer: That's not to say the political conventions don't serve a purpose. In addition to highlighting the party platform and showcasing the presidential ticket, Ciboski says conventions give political parties a chance to showcase up-and-coming politicians. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
In the first sound bite, Ciboski says there's not a lot of anticipation these days for political conventions. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "actually happens."
Ciboski: "I think these days those that are interested in politics hear a lot about the coming conventions. They are already programmed for this. They usually know what's going to happen at the convention, so I think there's less interest in when the convention actually happens."
Sound bite #2
Ciboski talks about the primary purpose of political conventions. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "win the presidency."
Ciboski: "The primary purpose of the party conventions is to outline for the general political public the gist of what the party wants to do if they should win the presidency."
Sound bite #3
Ciboski looks at another major purpose of political conventions. The sound bite is 15 seconds and the outcue is "that party's ticket."
Ciboski: "A major purpose of the convention is to get the delegates who attend the convention really excited about the party's ticket for the presidency, and that they will go home then to become missionaries for the party for the presidential candidate and for all the other officeholders who are running on that party's ticket."
Sound bite #4
Ciboski says another purpose of the convention is to introduce up-and-coming politicians to the public. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "know about them."
Ciboski: "Another important thing about the conventions is to watch who the keynote speaker is. And oftentimes these party's will, at the conventions then, tout individuals who are going to be future candidates, maybe for president or maybe somebody who is running for the Senate, and they are going to be big politicos for the party in the future. And they want the public to know about them."
Sound bite #5
Ciboski says there's very little suspense surrounding political conventions nowadays. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "vice presidential nominee."
Ciboski: "There's very little suspense, I think, involved in these conventions anymore, unless, for example, the prospective presidential nominee of each of the parties, withholds his or her nomination of a vice presidential nominee."