5 Ways to Make the GOP Convention Matter

It’s the season of pool parties and backyard barbecues, and for many voters, the political campaign is about as big a concern as their plans for New Year’s Eve. The political conventions still seem a long way off: The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte starts on Labor Day, which for many families will be the first week of school.

But this election year, the Republicans will go first. In 2008, the GOP convention began on Labor Day and although Hurricane Gustav delayed some of the festivities, more people watched John McCain’s acceptance address in St. Paul, Minn. than Barack Obama’s earlier one in Denver. This year poses a challenge for convention organizers: how to get voters to pay attention to the Republican National Convention, set to take place in Tampa in late August—the last week of summer before Labor Day weekend. Here are five suggestions for how to get voters to tune in during the waning hours of their summer vacations—especially if Mitt Romney does what he says he’s going to do and names a running mate before the convention. While that may increase excitement over the summer, it removes any shred of suspense at the convention. What to do?

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Make a Strong Case to Middle-Class Voters

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In 2008, more Americans watched Obama’s and McCain’s convention addresses than watched the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games in Beijing. Half a million more watched McCain than Obama. If those numbers hold this time, Republicans will have a great platform for making their case for building up the middle class through reforming taxes, growing small businesses, and reining in the size and scope of government. The Democratic convention will be all about tearing down the rich, rather than supporting families and small businesses, so why not draw the contrast first? Every speaker in Tampa should make the case for Republican policies that allow middle-class families to achieve the American Dream again, and warn viewers about the dangers of Obama dividing Americans against one another.

Next: Keep the Convention Colorful

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