Goodbye Nominating Conventions, Hello Hollywood

At 2012’s Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair, addressing President Obama. In 2016, the empty chair spoke–through the mouth of Donald Trump.

Goodbye nominating conventions. Hello Hollywood.

There’s never been a clearer signal that the day of political nominating conventions in America is over. In 2012, Ron Paul supporters were suppressed using the convention rules and RNC staffers, rendering state delegations neutered as Mitt Romney ascended to the nomination. In 2016, even more draconian methods were employed to squash the will of delegates.

When the indications first started that a rules vote was potentially in the offing, the whip team sprang into motion. They knew exactly every person who had signed a petition to force a roll call vote. They approached all of these people personally and asked, “Okay, what is the problem? What don’t you approve of in terms of the rules? How can we help answer your objection?” If this didn’t work, cajoling and threats to state funding were employed. If the initial whip was not able to persuade the renegade delegate, then a higher level whip would be employed with increasing levels of pressure. The whips knew they did not have to flip many people and they were ruthlessly effective in their objective.

Let’s be honest. More actual business is transacted during a Shriners or Legionnaires convention than the RNC or DNC nominating conventions. The platforms are uniformly ignored. Voice votes are rigged, and efforts at real accountability for the leaders are crushed. The delegates are what Leon Wolf called “window dressing.” They are mere vote-bots.

The convention is just a show for ratings.

Trump’s coronation garnered an average of 22 million viewers for primetime coverage through Wednesday. Thursday’s ratings for Donald’s great big terrific speech haven’t come out yet (that I could find as of this writing), but it’s likely to be in line with the previous days, and possibly more. Trump is tracking better than 2012 according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Democrats will now have their show, complete with speechifying, anti-Israel invective and enough safe space to park all the kindergartens in America.

I think it’s time to recognize the futility of having a primary and nominating process drawn out over months. I think we should look at either an online voting method or a national primary, and cut out all the ridiculous Potemkin democratic process that doesn’t exist at the conventions. The Democrats use super delegates to thwart anyone the leadership doesn’t like (even so, Bernie gave Hillary a run for her money). Now, the Republicans have shown over the last 8 years that there’s no overcoming a rigged system.

Trump is right–it’s rigged. But he’s okay with it being rigged in his favor. Just like he wants to rig everything to benefit his friends and people who support him, while others pay for his thumbless grasp of the most basic economic and global facts.