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“The Best Man” and My Dad’s Un-Conventional Idea

posted by Nell Minow

I’m very proud of my dad’s piece in Politico today about the advantages of a brokered convention.

I’ve been at a brokered convention and worked for a candidate who came out of it. Even though my candidate lost the general election, it was still a far more robust and constructive process than the primary-caucus marathon of the past half-century.

My dad, who has been involved in national, state, and local campaigns since 1948, says that

primary voters push GOP candidates to the right, and Democratic candidates left. Independent voters, who occupy the center, wonder why the parties nominate candidates who don’t represent their views. The nominees then spend the general election recanting what they said in the primaries, to persuade the independents, who decide elections.

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We thought getting rid of the brokered conventions would do away with smoke-filled rooms and backroom deals. We just substituted one set of bosses for another.

I also read today that a new production of Gore Vidal’s play, “The Best Man” is about to open on Broadway with an all-star cast that includes “Will and Grace” star Eric McCormack, Candace Bergan, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, and, in a small role, Donna Hanover, who knows something about politics as the former wife of the mayor of New York City.  Vidal, whose political expertise was in part based on his being related to Jaqueline Kennedy, penned a sharp story about two Presidential candidates at a brokered convention along the lines of the ones my dad wrote about.  The movie version, starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson, is one of my all-time favorite political dramas and as timely as the day it was written.

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