How National Political Conventions Have Changed

4:22 AM, Sep 6, 2012   |    comments
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Charlotte, NC -- Is this the Emmys or the Democratic National Convention?

Think about it.

There are cameras, and a lot of them.

You've got celebrities and bright lights, teleprompters, huge LED screens.

You get the point.

We went to our Anchor Emeritus Lee Kinard for some perspective on how conventions are and how they once were.

He says as soon as television took off in the 50s, politicians knew the medium was their chance to meet voters in a new and dynamic way.

And there have been makeup artists and hair-stylists grooming presidential candidates ever since.

The baby boomer generation knows conventions weren't always so full of grandiosity and massive in their production style.

If you click on the video attached to this story you'll see vintage black and white pictures from the 1952 conventions Democrat and Republican.

Easy to tell this is 60 years ago!

And remember this was at the onset of what Lee Kinard likes to call the "television boom."

The graphics weren't nearly as sophisticated.

Just watch how long it takes them to put President Herbert Hoover's name on the screen.


But as television began to spread its wings both in popularity and production appeal Lee told me it didn't take long for politicians to notice - they needed to win on TV.

"You have to believe in a candidate. And this is a wonderful platform for structuring someone to get in front of the television and talk eyeball to eyeball and say 'You must believe me,'" Lee said.

So, again as we ask "What does all this really mean?"... you have to wonder if all this fanfare is nothing more than a staged political ad on primetime television.

It used to be parties would wage internal war over what direction the party would take.

But no more.

In talking with Lee, he says the party's platform is mostly formed on the primary trail.

"The argumentative part that we used to see in the conventions sometimes is no longer there. Hey, that's the Emmys and the Oscars. That's the award winning show that's going to convince you to vote for the candidates," Lee said.

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