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A Convention Without Convening That Succeeds

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I have been to several presidential nominating conventions. My first was Bill Clinton’s in Madison Square Garden in 1992. The convening itself — the drawing together of the party’s faithful, the die-hards, the sizzle of their excitement — created the spectacle and the specialness.

A part-political tent revival, part-cult congregational, lavish party.

For that reason, it was hard to conceive of a virtual convention, dictated by social distancing as a deadly virus still rages. Indeed, as the Democratic National Convention opened Monday night, I feared that, despite all their efforts, the convention would fail to succeed.

I was wrong.

There was a particular charge and effectiveness of seeing people in situ, surrounded by their books, in their kitchens, on their lawn, in some place that is meaningful to them or the people they represent.

The lack of a live audience also stripped away a bit of the performative nature of speeches and presentations; no pausing for applause, no way to know for certain if a line was landing. You simply had to deliver your speech.

But yet another benefit was that because there was no roar of the crowd, everyone could be clearly heard; because there was no crowd, cameras stayed fixed on the speaker instead of panning to the audience.

Some of the features of this........

© The New York Times

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