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WHYY Interviews Klinkner on Party Conventions


Philip Klinkner
Philip Klinkner

As a guest on WHYY’s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, Philip Klinkner, the James S. Sherman Professor of Government, discussed a wide range topics related to this week’s Republican National Convention. Comparing past party conventions – particularly those in 1964 and 1968 – to 2016, he noted the shift in purpose of the four-day events.

What was once a time in which both the presidential and vice presidential candidates might have been chosen has now become somewhat of an “infomercial” as all major decisions have already been made, Klinkner observed. Changes in convention rules have rendered the gathering into an opportunity to “send out messages and images to the party faithful.”

Klinkner also noted that the party platforms are “mostly ignored,” and that in Trump’s case, “the platform matters even less. Social conservatives had free rein to write the platform.” He also noted the underlying schism in the party over Trump, “the consternation and dismay over a candidate who is extremely intemperate.”

The show aired Monday, July 18, in the 11 a.m. to noon hour. Radio Times can be heard nationally on Sirius/XM channel 122, NPR Now, and via podcast. WHYY is the flagship National Public Radio station serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley.

In a continuing discussion of the Republican National Convention, Klinkner reviewed the opening day on Utica’s WUTQ’s Talk of the Town. His July 19 interview included an overview of the week’s planned speakers, the controversy over Melania Trump’s speech, reduced TV viewership numbers and possible Democratic vice president candidates. 

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