Today’s post comes from Minnesota’s 9th District Congressman, representing all the water surface area in the state, the Honorable Loomis Beechly.
Greetings Constituents, non-Constituents, All Pontoons in my District and all Ships At Sea,
I hope you all had a chance to watch the two political conventions over the past couple of weeks. I loved them both and after each one I wanted to vote for the party that had entertained me! That’s the way I am – I can’t help it. I think I share that tendency with most Americans.
We like the people we see on TV because they’re on TV and we’re not and we know that’s a Big Deal, even today when TV is not nearly as important as it used to be. A week’s worth of televised political speechifying that goes in one particular political direction does tend to have an effect on the viewing public, much in the same way a bunch of ads for Budweiser run over a short period of time will get people to buy more beer. It doesn’t much matter whether the product is any good – if it’s being talked up on TV people will respond. A large part of our economy has been built on this predictable effect.
So it is with the political candidates. Each one got a “bounce” in the opinion polls immediately following the convention.
Romney and the Republicans received a mild lift in terms of the electorate’s response in the few days following their shindig in Tampa, and Obama’s Democrats got an 8 point surge after the conclusion of festivities in Charlotte.
Like a small wake from a passing canoe, it appears Romney’s bounce passed quickly and faded to almost nothing by the time it reached shore. The Obama swell is bigger, and could be longer lasting. But will it take him all the way to election day? That remains to be seen.
But it makes me wonder – if having your gathering and its parade of loyal faces on TV assures even a small rise in the polls for each party, how long will it be before one of them decides to roll the dice and hold their convention, not two months ahead of election day, but during the week right before polls open?
Well why not?
We’re already messing with the voter laws, talking about putting an ID requirement in the Minnesota Constitution. The campaign season is too long – everybody knows that. And the big, big money comes out with a barrage of TV ads in the last few days before voting anyway! Why not move everything there?
In each case we already knew who the nominee would be – no surprise there if we wait. In fact there are no surprises at all at the political conventions anymore. There’s nothing to keep them from being held during the last week in October. And if they had done it like that this year, the Wednesday night speeches would have happened on Halloween!
Think of it.
The American people love Halloween. It is our own version of Mardi Gras, and we would embrace any political party that included a Halloween extravaganza as part of their convention. Wild costumes and elaborate make-up create great television images, and the spirit of the observance makes it logical for a candidate to literally demonize his opponent. Halloween night would be, for example, a great night to bring out Clint Eastwood talking to an invisible presence in an empty chair. Suddenly it all makes sense!
We the People have already shown that we have short memories. Why not truly take advantage of that and put on a show just before we have to decide? It works for American Idol and Dancing With The Stars. I believe this is where we are headed!
I wrote this all down as a blog post to share with you all so that you can remind me of it in four years. Otherwise, how will I remember?
I think Rep. Beechly has a terrible idea here that is so bad, it will probably come true. By 2020, look for the conventions to start migrating into October as Halloween and Election Day slowly merge. Boo!
What are your ideas for improving the electoral process?