It would be a mistake to dismiss this week’s Republican Party Convention in Tampa as little more than political theater, a mere formality ratifying the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ticket.
It’s true that Romney long ago secured his spot as the Republican presidential nominee and named Wisconsin congressman Ryan as his running mate weeks ago, leaving little room for any surprises. The Democratic National Convention offers even less mystery with President Barack Obama’s reelection bid.
“It’s like watching a game show where you already know the winners,” said Sergio Bustos, The Herald’s politics editor. “While the drama is gone, it’s a chance for each party to make their case to the American voters, mostly unfiltered.”
The process matters — as does the context we bring to our coverage of the convention in our own backyard, followed almost immediately by the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C. As history reminds us, Florida plays a pivotal role in the outcome of presidential elections — making an informed electorate in a key swing state all the more important.
“They have the microphone. They have the stage. They’re in primetime,” our political reporter, Marc Caputo, said. “What are they going to say? And perhaps, a more important question is: What aren’t they going to say?”
Our job is to dig beyond the production value and provide insight and analysis from behind the scenes. Our team includes Mary Ellen Klas, The Herald’s Tallahassee bureau chief, and Caputo — led by Bustos. Our coverage will range from live Tweets (@MarcACaputo, @MaryEllenKlas), to updates posted on our website and in The Herald’s Naked Politics blog (@NakedPoliticsFL), to next-day in-depth analysis in the paper.
We’ll also be working with our partners at The Tampa Bay Times, as well as the national political reporters from our McClatchy Washington bureau.
Miami Herald Editorial Page Editor Myriam Marquez will share her points of view throughout the Republican convention on Twitter (@MyriamMarquez), Facebook and columns that will run on MiamiHerald.com and in the opinion pages.
For a dose of levity, Herald humorist Dave Barry will offer his unique perspective from both conventions. When the focus turns to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, Herald columnist Leonard Pitts will kick off our coverage with a special column on the politics of poverty that he’s writing for our sister paper, The Charlotte Observer.
So that’s our plan — instant news, analysis, opinion and humor — gavel to gavel at both conventions. We’ll want your perspective, too. Send us your feedback through Facebook, Twitter and our Public Insight Network on what the candidates say and how it affects Florida.