From the Lefthand Corner: State political convention: Booming or busting?
We are just driving back from our biennial DFL State Convention in Rochester. It was not a new experience. I believe it was my 27th such event, dating back to 1964.
It was another three long days of fascinating frustration to us DFL junkies, of boredom and bewilderment to some of the less interested, and a mix of the two to many participants and observers.
I've long described a political convention as an exercise in mob psychology, and this year was no exception. It was quieter and smoother than most, most of the time. That was influenced by a group of candidates and campaigns that appeared polite and conciliatory in preparation and presentations on the convention floor.
The convention mood was enhanced by the expanded Rochester facility with excellent acoustics and accommodation. There was excellent staffing, which showed in providing for convenience and comfort.
Most of our population does not have much interest in or understanding of what our political conventions are or what they do. Some with a little more interest simply express their superficial view that political conventions are dated or have become meaningless.
Much of what has occurred, and is occurring, substantiates that view.
They point to the too frequent examples of candidates who are elected (all the way to the top) who, if they have enough money, can thumb their noses at the endorsement process.
Money influence on political results is in no way new. It was controlling in times of kings and courts. It was a major reason why the colonies rebelled and created our representative democracy. That democracy reduces the primacy of money for most of our two-and-a-half century existence.
Unfortunately, the influence of money has re-reared its ugly head. Money again has become a most primary, often controlling, factor in our election results and political decision-making.
Our 2018 DFL State Convention went smoothly overall, as always with a number of glitches and levels of dissatisfaction. As one who has chaired, participated in and observed hundreds of such conventions from local on up the ladder, I think more went home impressed and satisfied than disgruntled and vowing never again!
On a somewhat contradictory note, however, I think this state convention exhibited and endured more swings in mood, very surprising and sudden surprises, and more unexpected results than most any that I've attended.
It was carefully planned and scheduled for Friday afternoon and evening and all day Saturday and Sunday. At times it appeared bogged down in contest voting that could take days. A short time later it appeared we would abruptly call it to a halt or wrap up early.
In reflection, our convention was a best attended, most diverse, most accommodating, most inclusive event. Despite all the tech reporting on the convention floor, there was very little belittling of what our counterpart Republicans were doing at their convention in Duluth.
We have a wonderful freedom to engage in political activity and make positive improvement for ourselves and all others. How long will that last if we continue our emphasis on greed, our society's scary march toward where the money is, and the power of inanimate money to purchase dire political result?