Today is the opening session of the Democratic National Convention, the second of the nominating conventions in the US two-party system, setting the stage for the fall presidential campaign between President Obama and the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Like the Republican convention last week in Tampa, Florida, the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina is not a genuine deliberative or decision-making body, but an elaborately staged and carefully scripted public ritual. It is being financed with $18 million in taxpayer funds, as well as tens of millions more provided by corporations and banks. Despite the fact that every speech has been preapproved and that the outcome of the convention is a foregone conclusion, the convention will receive saturation coverage by cable television as well as an hour each night on the broadcast networks.
The sole purpose of the convention is the renomination—perhaps “coronation” is a more appropriate word—of the Obama-Biden ticket. Dozens of Democratic Party speakers will sing the praises of the current administration and warn of the pernicious consequences of the election of Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. The Republicans, they will say, aim to destroy social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, enact new tax cuts for the wealthy, and carry out attacks on the democratic rights of women, gays, Hispanics, African Americans and working people as a whole.
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