Conventions begin to name candidates

Aimee Burch

It’s that time of the political cycle again when Republican and Democratic party delegates meet in one of the country’s biggest cities to formally nominate their candidate for the November presidential election.

The conventions, usually a three-day media spectacle, bring a massive amount of attention to the party and their candidates.

“You tend to get much bigger bounces in national public opinion polls. … It usually is a three-day uninterrupted commercial/infomercial otherwise known as the national conventions,” said Mack Shelley, university professor in political science, in a previous interview with the Daily. “The Republicans will be meeting in Tampa, and they’ll have the airwaves pretty much to themselves. The Democrats won’t be just twiddling their thumbs during that, but you just can’t really get a word in edgewise because the media … will be following the convention and it kind of drowns out everything else.”

Shelley said that the attention the conventions generate is what can drive up approval ratings, at least temporarily.

“Typically what happens is, the Republicans will have their convention and they’re pretty much guaranteed to bounce upward. They may even get above Obama in some of the polls,” Shelley said. “Then … the Democrats do their thing a couple weeks later. Unless something really catastrophic happens, the usual playbook is the Democrats get their bounce.”

After a tense few days of waiting to see where Tropical Storm Isaac chose to exercise his wrath this week, the Republicans are meeting in Tampa, Fla., for the 2012 Republican National Convention. 

Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, gaveled in and gaveled out, both officially beginning the convention and taking a recess until after Isaac hits.

Priebus unveiled the debt clock at the start of the convention, saying: “This clock reminds every delegate and every American why we are here in Tampa — because America can and must do better,” Priebus said. “Every American’s share of the national debt has increased by approximately $16,000 during the current administration.”

Tentatively — unless Isaac strikes again — Ann Romney will speak Tuesday night along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan will speak Wednesday, and Mitt Romney will close out the convention Thursday.

The Democratic Party will not meet until Sept. 4 to 6 in Charlotte, N.C., but Democratic candidate and U.S. President Barack Obama, along with the rest of the party, will still be active. 

Obama kicks off a tour of college towns today, including stops here in Ames, Fort Collins, Colo., and Charlottesville, Va. Obama will also be in Iowa Saturday at an event in Des Moines in the lead-up to the national convention.

The Democratic National Convention will also feature a speaking lineup of heavy hitters. Along with Obama and his running mate Joe Biden formally accepting the nomination, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Chris Crist, former Republican governor of Florida, and Rahm Emanuel, Chicago mayor, are on tap to speak during the three-day event.