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The U.S. political conventions: greatest political show on Earth

Every four years, over two separate four-day periods, business leaders from around the U.S. and the world, gather in two locations in the U.S. for intense interaction with one another and with the leaders of American government at all levels, the news media, entertainers and representatives of virtually every interest group one can imagine.

These gatherings are the national conventions of America’s two major political parties. The primary purposes of these conventions are to nominate the party’s candidates for President and Vice President and convey whatever messages the party wishes to convey as the final stage of the presidential election campaign begins.  However, in the past twenty years, the conventions have spawned so many events taking place around their host city that the convention itself has become for some only a minor part of the reason for attending.

There are a variety of gatherings – policy seminars, luncheons and dinners, cocktail parties, “after parties” featuring major recording artists, and more. These events are sponsored by the host committee of the convention and by major corporations, trade groups, non-profits, labor unions and others. 

Being present for the nomination of a major party’s national ticket is definitely a thrill for anyone who is interested in politics and government.  When you add to the equation the potential to spend four days and nights mingling with the leaders of corporate America, Members of the U.S. Congress, Governors, Mayors and a variety of show business celebrities, the calculus for many business leaders tilts in favor of attending.

In 2016, the Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland, OH from July 18-21. The Democratic National Convention is being held in Philadelphia, PA from July 25-28.  Obtaining hotel rooms, credentials for the convention itself, and invitations to events requires knowledge of how the system works and – yes – a financial investment.

The U.S. Democratic Party will convene for its convention in Philadelphia this summer and make history: it will either nominate the first woman to run for President as the standard bearer of a major national party, or it will nominate an avowed socialist who will take the party farther to the left than it has been for eighty years – or perhaps, ever. 

Either way, the convention will present an opportunity to gain an understanding of the state of American politics and participate in the largest gathering of American political, business, labor and non-profit leadership anywhere. During convention week, it will be possible for participants in the events in Philadelphia to advance their own message to one of the most influential gatherings one can find in the United States. 

Being effective in doing so requires the investment of money, but also a sophisticated approach to managing the time of those attending and developing a message that will penetrate with the right people amid all the background noise. 


Peter A. Peyser

Peyser Associates LLC

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