5 Ways to Make the GOP Convention Matter

Republicans need to take steps to make sure their convention helps them reach voters.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop in Bowling Green, Ohio.

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Fourth, keep the convention colorful. Meaning, don't give the networks too many shots of older white men giving speeches to older white delegates wearing wacky hats. Craig Romney, the candidate's son who lived in South America, should address the crowd in Spanish with subtitles. Condoleezza Rice should highlight Mitt Romney's foreign policies. Mia Love, the African-American Mormon mayor from Utah who is running for Congress, could introduce Sen. Marco Rubio. Here's one that would be a big hit: Persuade Colin Powell to speak. Powell, you may recall, endorsed candidate Obama in 2008 but has stayed mum about whom he'll support this time. All he'd have to say to African-American voters is one sentence: "It's okay to make a change."

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Finally, don't let protesters become the story. It's so predictable: Reporters love to write about protesters at Republican conventions. This time, the Occupy Wall Street crowd has already announced that it will be protesting in Tampa. There are sure to be other protests as well, and the Tampa police could take a page from the St. Paul police, who led protesters on a two-hour, 2½-mile march away from the 2008 Republican convention. Not much press coverage of that.

Holding this year's Republican convention before Labor Day isn't ideal, but with a little creativity it may be possible to keep 2008's record-breaking audiences. And one last suggestion: Please, no more wacky hats. Save them for New Year's Eve.

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