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View Diary: Democratic Convention 2008. Are We Already Screwed? (27 comments)

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  •  Dean picked the best date (2+ / 0-)
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    pontificator, hoyalawya76

    I've been writing about the convention dates on my blog 2008 Democratic Convention Watch since they were announced in November, 2005. See especially my posts here, here, here and a group of posts in early April.

    I'll try to summarize here, but see the posts for more detailed information.

    First, the party in the White House traditionally gets to have their convention last. While the Dems are not bound to this, it prevents silly games. And when Dean pre-emptively announced the late August date, it put the GOP in a bind. (see below)

    We don't know if the Democratic candidate will give up matching funds in the general. If they don't, a July convention is deadly from a money viewpoint. (And there might be political pressure for both parties to accept the matching funds).

    An early convention gives the GOP 4-5 weeks to hammer at the themes, which hurt Kerry in 2004.

    The week leading into Labor Day weekend is a great week, as the convention leads right into the traditional Labor Day campaign kickoff.

    On the other hand, the GOP was forced into either the 1st or 2nd week of September. The first week starts on Labor Day. Talk about starting the convention with noone paying attention. Not to mention grumpy press losing their holiday weekend. The GOP couldn't go the following week as fall TV schedules start, and the convention would have ended on 9/11, and even the GOP didn't want to go there.

    Your point on the bounce being depressed is valid, but I think a July date presents bigger problems, and would allow the GOP into the late August date.

    I've thought about this alot, and I think the last week in August is probably the best week to have a convention.

    Some of the press reports on the date:

    US News wrote:

    Dean's unusually early announcement has irked the GOP, and there are rumors that the Republicans might try to spoil the Democratic event by choosing the same dates. But Republicans insist that's unlikely.

    The Washington Post wrote:

    The choice of the date -- and the announcement so far in advance -- is also tactically important. Democrats want to avoid what happened in 2004, when Republicans took a date in late August, forcing the Democrats to hold their nominating convention in late July to avoid competing with the Summer Olympics. As a result, presidential nominee John F. Kerry had to give his address a month earlier than President Bush and withstand an additional month of GOP attacks.

    The Hotline wrote:

    In '05, DNC Chair Howard Dean announced that the party would hold its convention from 8/25-8/28, effectively boxing GOPers into either holding the convention the same week as the Democrats -- which the RNC rejected -- or holding it the week after.


    Rules in several states prevent presidential nominees from being added to the general election ballot after a certain point -- usually early September.

    which forced the GOP into Labor Day week. Note also that the Democrats will never hold their convention in September due to the large number of teacher delegates.

    And the Washington Post wrote when the GOP finally chose their date:

    Republicans privately seethed, arguing that the DNC's move was intended to box them into holding their convention before the Summer Olympics, which run Aug. 8-24.

    Hope this helps shed some light on the convention date game.

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