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Future Convention Planners, Be Warned

August 25, 2012

With Tropical Storm Isaac threatening the Gulf Coast, Republican Party officials said Saturday they will postpone convention activities originally scheduled for Monday in Tampa. It is the second straight Republican convention that will be cut short a day thanks to weather.

Both parties should take the hint: The practical benefits to holding a convention in late August or early September no longer apply. Now, in fact, there are ample reasons to hold a convention earlier, rather than later.

Republicans and Democrats always jockey for convention position. They must conduct their formal nominating processes in time to meet ballot deadlines in key states, but they each want to hold their events late enough to capture attention from undecided voters who haven't yet tuned into the campaign.

But the number of undecided voters who actually spend an evening watching the convention proceedings is incredibly small. Instead, the big speeches Mitt Romney and President Obama will give over the next two weeks will be spliced into soundbites and played in 30-second increments, which will reach more undecided voters than the speeches themselves.

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