Conventions no longer relevant

(U-WIRE) LONG BEACH, Calif. — The Republicans and Democrats must be furious right now. First, conventions are getting relatively little airtime on network television. Second, the activities inside the convention hall are less interesting than what’s happening outside.
ABC, CBS and NBC all cut back convention coverage to a one-hour recap of the day’s major happenings. Expanded coverage has been relegated to cable, PBS and the Internet. The three networks’ condensed coverage may seem like lackluster reporting, but the 2000 presidential campaign has been one of the most uninspiring in modern history.
Both George W. Bush and Al Gore won their respective parties’ nominations early on in the primaries. Both Bush and Gore have political pedigrees, continuing on the paths their fathers started. And neither seems to have formulated a serious agenda.
Bush mainly flatters his audience, while Gore is frequently changing his personality, looking for an identity that clicks with Americans.
Meanwhile, reporters are looking elsewhere for more newsworthy events. Protesters hope the media and the two parties address their causes, from what they see as threats of a globalized economy to police brutality.
Similar activities are expected when the Democrats come to Los Angeles over the next few days. More than 50,000 protesters might march throughout downtown, with events coordinated by an outfit named D2KLA.
But the biggest concern is whether downtown will see repeats of the chaos during the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle or the hooliganism after the Lakers championship victory.
There will also be several other conventions in Los Angeles that dare to discuss meaningful issues.
Conservative columnist Arianna Huffington is coordinating the Shadow Convention, which focuses on campaign finance reform, the war on drugs and poverty in America.
Both parties must realize the conventions no longer hold much importance. With the presidential contests decided in the primaries earlier this year, the conventions are reduced to mere coronation ceremonies. The conventions themselves consist of banal speeches and pointless back-patting. No wonder the media and increasingly many Americans are paying less attention.

This editorial originally appeared in California State University-Long Beach’s Daily Forty-Niner.