Jonathan Zimmerman: Thoroughly Conventional
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history at New York University and lives in Narberth. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory" (Yale University Press).
The convention season is upon us! Starting with the Republican National Convention next week, followed by the Democrats' the week after, Americans will watch with bated breath as the parties decide their nominations for president.
Actually, those decisions were made months ago. The real mystery is why anyone watches the conventions - and why we need them at all.
The standard answer is that the conventions allow the parties and their nominees to define themselves on the national stage. In addition, conventions supposedly produce a "bounce" of popularity that can catapult candidates into the White House.
But in this era of nonstop news, haven't the candidates already had ample opportunity to define themselves? It's hard to see why they deserve four more days of round-the-clock coverage, or why taxpayers should be shelling out $136 million to fund two marathons of cocktail mixers, buffet lines, and canned speeches....
comments powered by Disqus
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Famed SC civil rights protesters have convictions erased
- A Fight About Taxing The Wealthy, A Century Before President Obama
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History
- Joan Peters’s legacy assessed by one of her fiercest critics, Norman Finkelstein
- West Point historian says if his cadets can understand the history of war, so can Congress
- Australian historian Alan Atkinson wins $100,000 literary prize
- From his perch in Saudi Arabia, Princeton’s Mark Cohen says Jews and Muslims should remember they used to get along