I had been afraid that COVID would kill the political speech, an institution already weakened with some chronic underlying conditions.
For decades now, political ads have become the main messaging vehicle for candidates running for statewide or national office, making fundraising a candidate’s most important job, not the ability to move and inspire a crowd.
And televised debates have supplanted the stump speech as the spectacle that grabs voters’ attention in the final stretch of the campaign when they are making up their minds. But memorized one-minute responses on crowded stages are no substitute for a sustained argument. Candidates get points in a debate for delivering a devastating zinger, but there’s never really enough time to articulate a policy goal – let alone a strategy to achieve it.
Until this year, party conventions were one of the last places where a well-written and well-delivered address really mattered. But I worried