Compared to previous national political party conventions, big bounces aren't expected as a result of the recent doings in Tampa and Charlotte. The two national campaigns are expected to emerge in essentially a statistical dead heat.
These national political conventions have two tasks, both of which seem highly antagonistic to each other. The first task is to energize the base and build enthusiasm among the party faithful. The second task is to try to lure to their side that small group of undecided voters.
The 2012 race is truly unique in that the country's electorate remains widely divided, with a very few undecided voters in the middle. Ironically, the conventions reflect the great divide, lending credence to all the talk from both sides that this race is truly a pivotal race.
BEEF Poll: Which Ticket Will Win In November?
The candidates typically use the nominating conventions to moderate positions in an attempt to move to the middle. That simply hasn't occurred this year. Both sides have stuck to their guns, and laid out truly different visions for this country and where it should head. The two sides are polar opposites when it comes to the economy, the role of government, the role of individual liberty, the role of America in the world, and even in their basic beliefs about what is moral and ethically right.
Of course, the perverse thing about American politics is that while this election will fundamentally change the direction of this country for decades, the big issues are still really not being discussed. The experts on both sides still seem to be vying emotionally, content to fight this battle with 30-second sound bites, even with speeches that can last as long as an hour. Nor does the media coverage and political advertising appear that it will change.
Industry Resource Page: 2012 Elections
Perhaps the upcoming debates will crystallize the monumental differences facing this country. However, my cynical side says it will come down to one or two emotional sound bites. If you find yourself on the left side or the right side of the political spectrum, this race is as monumental as any you have ever faced. But if you're truly in the middle, this will be a difficult decision because it will fall to you to decide whether the nation continues its severe shift to the left or takes a hard correction to the right.
One thing is for certain – when we wake up the day after the election, America will be fundamentally changed. And the impacts of that change will have long lasting effects.