NHIOP Hosts Event on Upcoming National Conventions
June 22, 2016
On Tuesday, June 21, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library (NHIOP) held a panel discussion about the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The event, titled "What Was and What Will Be: A Panel Discussion on the Democratic and Republican Conventions," featured a moderated discussion with four speakers addressing past and upcoming conventions.
Speakers included Ray Buckley, Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party; Steve Duprey, Republican National State Committeeman; Tom Rath, former Attorney General of New Hampshire; and Kathy Sullivan, New Hampshire Democratic Party DNC Committeewoman. Neil Levesque, executive director of the NHIOP, served as moderator.
Duprey and Rath will serve as delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21. Buckley and Sullivan will serve as delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Penn., July 25-28.
Each panelist shared stories about previous conventions and weighed in on what may happen this summer. Sullivan explained that the overall goal of each convention is to generate enthusiasm and excitement about supporting the party's candidate.
Rath touched briefly on the history of conventions, explaining that they really began to take on a new shape in 1972. They are now more like carefully scripted television shows, he said.
Duprey discussed some of what will happen at this year's Republican National Convention. In addition to nominating the Republican presidential candidate, the delegates will also vote on keeping the New Hampshire Primary the first in the nation. This year's convention is sure to be "a bit lively," he said.
Levesque inquired as to whether the controversy surrounding this year's candidates and conventions may be beneficial, in that it could cause more voters to pay attention.
"The tension here, in my judgment, is that some of this is a misapprehension of what happens," Rath explained. "There is a lot of feeling that the convention picks the candidate. And that's the way it was for many, many years. Today, the candidate picks the convention." He also added that the conventions will probably be less exciting than one would think.
Through the Q & A portion of the event, audience members asked questions about the debates, Bernie Sanders running on a third party ticket, and the legality of former candidates pledging support to the nominee.