Electing the President 2016: An Unconventional Party Time

July 18, 2016 Rebecca Corrente

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Published: July 15, 2016
Author: Robert Schmuhl ’70

Editor’s note: Head of state, chief diplomat, commander-in-chief, guardian of the economy – Americans are fixing to elect another president, so we asked Notre Dame’s in-house pundit to put the moment, the issues, the candidates and the choices in context and perspective. Bob Schmuhl’s commentary on American politics and journalism frequently appears in major news outlets from the Boston Globe to the BBC to Irish public radio. His exclusive commentary on the 2016 presidential election will run on magazine.nd.edu every two weeks.


Republicans and Democrats choreograph their national conventions as star-spangled media extravaganzas that are produced — minute by minute, speaker by speaker — to serve as extended commercials for the fall campaign’s presidential ticket and the parties themselves.

Away from the balloons, bright lights and Teleprompters, a political convention nowadays is closer to a Hollywood set or a Potemkin village. Outward appearances might be appealing, but look behind the curtain and you see it’s closer to a façade without a structure to support the attractive front.

Continue reading Schmuhl's analysis here.