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For political parties, virtual conventions have their pros and cons

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Marketplace/NPR, August 2020

The Republican National Convention starts Monday. And if you watched any of the Democratic convention, you know this year’s mix of live and pre-recorded speeches was a departure from the traditional format. National conventions are a form of marketing, and the COVID-19 economy has forced both parties to go virtual.

Without a live audience, political parties miss out on a way to broadcast enthusiasm for a message.

“You don’t get the applause at certain points. You don’t get the orchestrated signs that people were holding up,” said Costas Panagopoulos, professor of political science at Northeastern University and editor of “Rewiring Politics,” a book about modern party conventions.

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