I remember watching political conventions on TV when I was younger. I remember political conventions in black and white, although I’m sure some of the ones I saw were broadcast in color.
I remember how much attention was given to the states. Each delegation sat in an assigned spot and they had their state name spelled out vertically on a sign that resembled a totem, or horizontally as on a highway sign. When a state’s name was called for the roll call there was a lot of celebrating and hoopla, even hats and confetti and the state would hold a little parade. States had “favorite sons” who were mentioned in tones of great affection and pride.
Sometimes (in fact often) parties actually chose a candidate at a convention. It made our adrenaline flow. It may have been all theater even then, but it seemed real and our spirits rose and fell as the fortunes of our chosen one waxed and waned. By the time we got to the final speech made by the newly chosen candidate we were invested in the outcome of the election.
Conventions these days are always in color and probably in high definition. As I type this I am watching a flashy documentary style movie made to introduce us to Mitt Romney like the ones they make of athletes for the Olympics. I’m sure there will be a similar movie about Paul Ryan. But a political convention today is not what it once was. The celebrations of the states are much curtailed. We already know who the candidate will be; the roll call of the states is just a formality.
Even the election that will follow the two conventions will not be terribly unpredictable. The political press will have already enumerated the red states and the blue states. They have already labeled the swing states and the non-swing states and they will know almost to the exact number how many electoral votes each candidate will have. It takes all the suspense out of process and more’s the pity.