ChrisWeigant.com

Convention Dreams

[ Posted Thursday, March 31st, 2016 – 17:13 UTC ]

I'm pleased to announce that ChrisWeigant.com is applying for press credentials for both national political conventions this year. Longtime readers of the site will remember that I (and my lovely wife, whose blogs also appeared in the Irish Times) attended the 2012 Democratic National Convention, but seeing as how the level of political excitement this year (in both parties) seems almost unparalleled, this year we really want to see what both parties have to offer, in person.

National conventions are, in modern times, heavily-scripted affairs which often resemble nothing so much as an extended campaign advertisement. This year, obviously, will be quite different. In both the Republican and Democratic national primaries, there is a real fight being waged over the fundamental direction the parties will chart in the future. While every four years political wonks dream of "open" or "brokered" conventions (being political wonks, even our dreams are wonky...), in 2016 we might actually see one on the Republican side. Even if the Democratic nominee is known before the convention, however, there will still be a big rift in the party which will need some serious mending before the general election campaign begins in earnest. Whether this can successfully be done or not should become evident at the convention itself. Whatever happens, it should prove to be more exciting than the 2012 Democratic National Convention, when Barack Obama ran unopposed for his second term in office. Both conventions will no doubt be fascinating in their own ways, in fact -- which is why we're applying for press credentials for both.

The conventions will occur right around the tenth anniversary of this blog. I began blogging when I was invited to do so by the Huffington Post in the summer of 2006, and a year later launched ChrisWeigant.com in order to provide daily political reality-based blogging (posting too often at the Huffington Post is frowned upon, but they don't seem to have a problem with me posting three times a week). This blog grew slowly at first, but has seen huge increases in traffic in the past four or five years, to the point where it now regularly gets over half a million page views per month. There used to be a blog-ranking site (Technorati.com) where you could judge your blog's popularity against similar sites, but sadly they abandoned this service a while back, so it's hard to rate how we stand against other popular political blogs these days.

I have to say, the best thing about blogging is being treated as a full and equal member of the press. This is the key that opens many doors, from calling up a national politician's press site to get a reactionary quote to attending events like the conventions, in order to provide a slightly different viewpoint than readers normally get from the inside-the-Beltway punditocracy.

I had a lot of fun at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and tried to provide as wide a range of voices on the site as I could, for ChrisWeigant.com readers. Not only did we present my wife's reporting -- giving the perspective of a recently naturalized American citizen about to vote in her first presidential election -- but we also met a teenage blogger who had somehow wrangled his way into the convention, and decided his viewpoint was interesting enough to post on the blog as well. Which reminds me, I should try to contact Malcom and see what he is thinking these days, four years later (he should be 21 now).

ChrisWeigant.com started by making a commitment to "reality-based political commentary," and I've always tried to live up to that motto (even when I'm in a snarky mood). When someone on the left or the right is getting a bum rap in the mainstream media, I always try to point it out (such as my "in defense of" articles on Sarah Palin and Pamela Geller, for instance). And when major questions are being ignored by both parties, I strive to point them out (such as last August, on the subject of America's Cuba policy).

This is, and has always been, a left-leaning blog. To anyone who has read more than today's article, this should come as no big shock. However, unlike truly partisan blogging, I've always tried to adequately point out the flaws in political arguments, no matter which side they're on. This can mean bringing up weaknesses in Democratic arguments to prod Democrats to rebut them, or pointing out logical fallacies in Republican arguments, while snarkily urging Democrats to exploit them (as I just mentioned, I do have a left-leaning bias). Throughout it all, though, I strive to see the political landscape through a reality-based lens, which means sometimes mocking Democratic idiocy when appropriate (indeed, we hand out a "Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week" award, every Friday). Sometimes I fall short of this goal, but I like to think I achieve it more often than not. Perhaps this is biased thinking as well -- you decide.

I've learned a few valuable lessons in almost a decade of blogging. The first rule of serious political blogging is: Never mock anyone's name. I did this once (for which I refuse to provide a link, sorry -- best if that one's forgotten), and I learned my lesson right away. With my own last name being on the unpronounceable side, who am I to throw stones? Second rule of blogging: When you're wrong, admit it immediately and apologize! Nobody's perfect. Indeed, most of us fall far short. Sometimes this leads to incredibly embarrassing blunders, especially when you're putting your daily political thoughts out there for the public to see. When you commit such a boneheaded error, immediately admit it. If a correction is justified, run it. If it is impossible to correct the mistake in the original article, leave it up as a monument to occasionally getting things wrong. Third rule of blogging: Always clearly identify both bias and gut feelings. I've always found it much more honest to preface an opinion with an introductory statement ("Of course, I'm going to be biased on this issue because....") so the reader can clearly identify when things are about to get opinionated. In purely analytical articles (such as reviewing poll numbers, for instance), political bias should have no place. But when writing these, sometimes (such as when predicting the outcome of a primary election), you are left with nothing more than just a gut call. Again, these should be clearly identified as such in the writing itself, so the reader can see where data is being used and where intuition is all there is to go on.

Above all, the best thing about blogging is the feedback from readers. So the final rule of blogging is to be respectful, even when you think someone's head is full of pure applesauce. Don't belittle, and don't resort to ad hominem attacks. Because this is the only way to learn what the other side is truly thinking -- by engaging in polite (if occasionally pointed) conversation with those who don't share your political views. Otherwise you are just living in an echo chamber of like-minded folks. I've always loved engaging in political debate with the other side, mostly because it is the best possible way to sharpen your own positions and arguments. And I can proudly state that after almost ten years, ChrisWeigant.com has yet to ban a single commenter for going beyond the boundaries of decency we've set here. That right there is the legacy I'm proudest of at this site.

All of this is what I hope to bring this year to both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. My pledge to all my readers is the same one I made at the very start: I will view both conventions through a reality-based lens. These conventions might be the most exciting ones to happen my lifetime (especially on the Republican side), and I think it would be an honor to attend both in order to report back to you my impressions of personally attending the nominating ceremonies for both major American political parties. So wish me luck on obtaining press credentials to both 2016 nominating conventions.

 

[Program Note: Those interested in a trip down Memory Lane can see all our articles from the 2012 Democratic National Convention by using these two links to our archives from early September of 2012.]

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

24 Comments on “Convention Dreams”

  1. [1] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Good luck!

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris: if you get credentials and come to Cleveland we will have to meet! Maybe David could come up from Cinci!

    Good luck!

    I remember starting to read your posts during the Bush years -- what a breath of fresh air they were. Congrats on 10 years!

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    Today's anecdote:

    First time someone reacted with hostility. Two ladies at grocery store. Well-dressed, white-haired. Turns out the older of the two was in her 90's. The other looked like her daughter, in her late 60's.

    What did they think of the election season so far?

    "I don't!" snapped the younger one, frowning at me and turning away.

    Her mother smiled at me, much more friendly, and just said: "We don't pay attention. You just take it as it comes, take it as it comes. And since I'm in my nineties I think I know something about that."

    At pet store later: thirty-something white man.

    What did he think? He spoke in sentence fragments, never mentioning names -- he could almost be talking about either Trump or Bernie, although I think he meant Trump. (Should've asked, huh?)

    "Volatile. That's how I'd describe it. One day he's up, next day he's down. Coattails -- who knows? The convention is going to be interesting. Looking forward to the primary season being over. He's attracted a bunch of people who don't normally vote. I don't think they understand how things work."

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    When someone on the left or the right is getting a bum rap in the mainstream media, I always try to point it out (such as my "in defense of" articles on Sarah Palin and Pamela Geller, for instance).

    to be brutally honest, i think one of the individuals most deserving of this is jeb bush. i mean sure, he stands on the opposite side of just about every issue as i do, and was probably instrumental in the 2000 election being as divisive as it was. but in the here and now, he was the republican candidate i most respected, as well as (based on politifact) the second most factually accurate candidate of either party.

    JL

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 -

    I actually almost included Bush in the list, due to the article I wrote in his defense after his initial bad response to the "what would you do if you knew what you know now" question:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2015/05/12/dont-mention-the-war/

    ("Don't mention the war!") But I thought the Pamela Geller article was more recent and more relevant.

    -CW

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    The conventions will occur right around the tenth anniversary of this blog. I began blogging when I was invited to do so by the Huffington Post in the summer of 2006, and a year later launched ChrisWeigant.com in order to provide daily political reality-based blogging

    I still dispute the timeline..

    Far be it from me to tell you your history, but I have found CW.COM commentaries from Sep of 2006 when I joined up here...

    Anywho, good luck on the convention!! :D

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW, looking for a "bomb shaped pen" to take to Cleveland? Here's a beauty!

    http://www.onlinesciencemall.com/bomb-explosion-pen-and-notepad-by-kikkerland.html

    Bound to get a smile out of Mr. Trump and his gorilla shaped security team.

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    and here's an elegant and sleek ladies "bomb shaped pen" for your wife!

    http://www.imprintitems.com/custom/10613482

    amadán Aibreáin y'all.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Mr & Mrs Weigant. We're from Homeland Security. We can do this one of 2 ways."
    "Oooo Is there an easy way?"
    "No."

    :D

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/cartoon-donald-trump-slams-anderson-cooper-as-a-dumb-dumb-stupid-head-and-poopy-pants/

    Another piece of pen related Tom Foolery from Stephen Colbert who is having the time of his life.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    on further reflection, i've changed my mind. trump is really the best candidate out there. he tells the hard truths, and he has the best chance of breaking up the establishment hegemony. accusations of violence and fascism are all gross exaggerations, and i like his trade policy as well. with this in mind, i'm going to change my registration to republican, vote for him in the primary and hopefully in the general election as well.

    JL

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    on further reflection, i've changed my mind. trump is really the best candidate out there. he tells the hard truths, and he has the best chance of breaking up the establishment hegemony. accusations of violence and fascism are all gross exaggerations, and i like his trade policy as well.

    I know, right!!! :D

    But, I have it on good information that Comey met with Hillary and resolved the whole email issue..

    Comey's office will be issuing not a recommendation but an apology to Hillary...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "And when major questions are being ignored by both parties, I try to point them out..."
    Any chance you would be willing to expand that to include possible major answers such as my idea to "Occupy the Primaries"?

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @michale [12],

    i know hillary is your hero, but she belongs in prison, and i hope president trump sends her there!

    JL

  15. [15] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    JL-

    My dude, I am so glad to see you are starting to come around.

    I do however think you are being to easy on the HRC. I hope that president trump sends HRC off to build the wall for her crimes and when she drops the last brick in place she is on the mexican side without a passport.

  16. [16] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    CW-

    If you do get in on the action...(I have had the good fortune to be paid for my services at both)

    You really should check out the scene at the delegate transportation stops, especially right before the larger sessions. It will provide you with some interesting insight.

  17. [17] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [6] -

    When I started this blog, I began by posting all my old HuffPost columns. So there are indeed articles from 2006 here, but the blog itself started in 2007.

    nypoet22 [11] & Michale [12] -

    Hmmm... let's see... what date did you post that?

    Heh.

    -CW

  18. [18] 
    neilm wrote:

    I've spend the last week in the United Kingdom, split between Scotland and in London, and every day I've been asked the same questions:

    1. Trump isn't going to win, right?
    2. What is wrong with America - how can Trump be winning?

    (Note: a lot of people from other countries are unfamiliar with the concept of primaries and think Trump is going to be President because he is currently in the lead.)

    I point out that Trump has 40% of 30% = 12% of the voters, and ask if they think Britain also has a 12% loony contingent (sorry Michale). They start to get the point, but say that their loonies aren't as angry and virulent as the Trump supporters.

    BTW, everybody I've talked to, regardless of political persuasion (i.e. Labor, UKIP or Conservative) think Obama is the best President we've had in their lifetimes. They think he is cool, funny and sensible, and are worried about anybody replacing him.

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    2. What is wrong with America - how can Trump be winning?

    The answer to the first part AND the second part of that question is simple..

    Barack Obama and The Democrat Party...

    A right direction for the country and a competent government would have prevented a Trump candidacy...

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    They start to get the point, but say that their loonies aren't as angry and virulent as the Trump supporters.

    And, once again, the anger and virulence of the Democrat Party supporters is (are??) ignored..

    This is exactly why proclamations such as this have to be taken with a huge grain of salt..

    Because it's obvious that it's nothing more than biased ideology talking..

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    When I started this blog, I began by posting all my old HuffPost columns. So there are indeed articles from 2006 here, but the blog itself started in 2007.

    Damn, I keep losing a year.. I actually thought at first it was 2005.. Then I came around to the idea that it was 2006.. :D

    I am so cornfused.. :D

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    2. What is wrong with America - how can Trump be winning?

    Barack Obama and The Democrat Party...

    that part's kinda true. when the supposedly liberal president doubles the drone strikes and covert ops, doubles the secret spying on our own citizens and punishes whistle-blowers, multiplies the corporate hand-outs, ramps up deportations and the war on drugs, creates incentives for privatization of schools and even more high-stakes testing, and various other pro-corporate, anti-populist actions, people tend to feel hopeless enough to believe pretty much anyone who speaks to their disillusionment, no matter how loopy.

    i've long maintained that obama has been a very average president - like taft, hayes, van buren or what have you, he's done quite a bit of good as well as quite a bit of not so good. with all the weight of the hopes people had put in him, an underwhelmed and malleable electorate was practically a foregone conclusion.

    JL

  23. [23] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    If Hillary manages to seal the deal, or steal the deal... perhaps you would consider adding the Green Party convention to your list?

    Hard to see how a "left-leaning blog" can maintain credibility without, y'know, reporting on what the Left is up to... and if Bernie is out, Jill Stein could well cross that 5% threshold for matching funds in November and become a factor in the results.

    Heck, the Libertarian Party convention would round out the pack nicely given your self description in "About Chris" if I remember correctly.

    And, somehow I'd bet you wouldn't need much luck to get either of those credentials.

    So, I'm not making a viability argument here for November, just pointing out some of the other options voters actually have that suffer from neglect from the inside the bubble crowd.
    Ahem.

    A

  24. [24] 
    altohone wrote:

    nypoet22
    re-22!

    Excellent comment btw.

    Obama's list of anti-progressive policies is unfortunately much longer, but they can't be mentioned too often.

    A

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