A windfall for the press.
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The party conventions are just around the corner. The Republicans will meet July 18-21 in Cleveland, followed by the Democrats in Philadelphia on July 25-28, and they both will be “huuuge!”
Many years ago, a political convention was a big event covered by all the television networks, radio, and printed press. Speeches were given, platforms adopted, and a candidate selected as the party nominee. In 1968, the Democratic convention in Chicago was perhaps the most controversial of all time when the Yippies rioted. Since then, the American public has become bored with the conventions and viewership declined rapidly. They were all but forgotten until this year when Republican Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders, running as a Democrat, caused heightened interest in party politics by creating controversy.
Interest in both conventions will reach new heights this year, likely going well beyond 1968, representing an advertising bonanza for the media. In a way, it will be reminiscent of the 1975 World Series between the Reds and the Red Sox, often touted as “the series that saved baseball.” Likewise, Cleveland and Philadelphia will likely save the concept of the political convention.
According to Nielson, 30.3 million people watched the final night of the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa. This was down from 39.9 million people in 2008. As for the Democrats, 35.7 million viewers watched the 2012 convention, down 2.7 million viewers from 2008. In all likelihood, the 2016 conventions will far surpass the 2012 editions and set new records, maybe as high as 50 million people each.
Higher convention viewership will also mean higher voter turnout in November. Traditionally, Republicans have lower viewership than the Democrats. However, if the 2016 GOP convention garners more viewers than the Democrats, look for a major Republican turnout and victory in the Fall.
All of this has the television networks salivating as they know this will generate millions of dollars for their coffers. Such a cash infusion will make them stronger and more obnoxious than ever.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two conventions is simply: there will be more police OUTSIDE of the Cleveland convention, and more police INSIDE the Philadelphia convention. Whereas there will likely be anti-Trump protestors in Cleveland to disrupt the convention, the Democrats will be fighting among themselves over the platforms of Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders.
Stay tuned, it will be great political theater.
Keep the Faith!