National Political Conventions

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Democrats and Republicans are having their national conventions over the next two weeks to finalize the selection of their presidential nominees. It’s been an unusual election year and that is expected to carry forward into the conventions. Political consultants Marcus Dell’Artino, a partner in FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs, and Joshua Zaragoza, chief strategist for Elected Digital, will talk about the conventions.

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Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The city of Phoenix has a new police chief, she is Jeri Williams and she's the city's first female chief of police. She is currently police chief in Oxnard, California. She will start work in October. Jeri Williams is the mother of Phoenix sun's center Alan Williams.

Ted Simons: Ruben Gallego has introduced legislation keeping military rifles away from children. The "Heart Act" would prevent children from accessing weapons.

Ruben Gallego: This is not about violating second amendment rights. [Indiscernible] claim support [Indiscernible] at a time when a country has never been divided and our society has more than firearms, I believe there is room for [Indiscernible] and compromise to make sure Americans practice responsible gun ownership at all times.

Ted Simons: Gallego was joined by six other people to sponsor the bill.

Democrats and Republicans will be finalizing their presidential nominees over the next two weeks. Here to discuss these political gatherings is Marcus Dell'Artino, a partner in first strategic and Joshua Zaragoza. Good to have you both here.

Both: Thanks for having us.

Ted Simons: Marcus, how do these things work?

Marcus Dell'Artino: We are going to carefully script what you should know. You know, I think you hit the nail on the head. We're going to do TV for four nights and we are scripted the message points for the candidate and what we want American voters to hear that candidate stands for. By the way, ted, this convention possibly could be drastically different than past conventions but that has what's happened in the past.

Ted Simons: Could go off-script?

Marcus Dell'Artino: I have a funny feeling it might.

Ted Simons: Democrats, not so much probably. How do they work, I mean, what is a political convention?

Joshua Zaragoza: In the past, it was a point at which the parties or the candidates and delegates within the parties would coalesce. It would be a point of which they would make news. Like this time, they're very scripted. I don't think it will be the case with the republican convention. With Hillary is always prepared and on-point and scripted. I would imagine the convention will reflect her personality and she'll have powerful people, such as her husband, President Barack Obama, Senator Elizabeth warren and hopefully Bernie Sanders will be speaking on her behalf, as well.

Ted Simons: Who attends a political convention?

Marcus Dell'Artino: The delegates and alternative delegates. Arizona will have the delegates and the alternates. Political operatives, campaign people go. Elected members of congress. Pretty much, you know, every person who's involved in the campaign business will traditionally be there. We're hearing this year people might not be so excited to go and are shying away saying; I have to go one day for business but I'd rather not be there.

Ted Simons: That's amazing, isn't it? People look forward to these things every four years.

Marcus Dell'Artino: Yeah. They are scared to be part of -- they don't know what Donald Trump might say on the republican side. In today's day in age, there are safety and security concerns for everybody involved here, both on the democrat and republican side. It will be a highly, highly secured area.

Ted Simons: What actually gets done at a convention?

Joshua Zaragoza: A convention, they develop a policy platform in which the party and their candidates or elected officials so move on -- or, fight for on behalf of. Recently, there was a meeting between a committee in which Bernie, some of his key staff and Hillary's key met some staff and decided on a party platform. It was the most progressive platform. They aren't binding by law; it is not holding it to the presidential candidate. It is a set of ideas that the Democratic Party should be fighting on.

Ted Simons: If I'm a delegate going to either convention there, what am I doing there? Am I making contacts? Going to souvenir tables and blowing little horns?

Marcus Dell'Artino: You're absolutely doing that. [LAUGHTER]

Marcus Dell'Artino: We're accustomed to the evening activities. We're going to get the introduction of the vice presidential candidates and on the front side, we're going to do the rules committee, the platform committees. During the day, you know, there's activities that go on. There's usually lunches. A lot of breakfast. You will not be hungry at a convention. Perhaps you wanted to meet Paul Ryan or more likely, conventions are where both parties introduce the farm team. When you think about it and you go back in history and look at Barack Obama, where did he get his start? Convention.

Ted Simons: Bill Clinton. Ronald Regan as well.

Marcus Dell'Artino: The Monday, the Tuesday nights, you'll see -- expect to see those people.

Ted Simons: Special interests, I would imagine abound at these conventions.

Joshua Zaragoza: Absolutely. Sponsorships or meetings where they discuss issues. A lot of rubbing and networking and educational and informational sessions. But merely just it's a lot of people across it country that are -- that believe within the party and what they stand for, getting together to get behind your candidates and farm team, like he described. We are seeing VP candidates that will be announced there while it's the most overrated story that's covered throughout the election. It is also a good discovery for who they think should be the leaders of the party after them.

Ted Simons: I want to get back to that in a second here. As far as delegates, how many delegates does Arizona send to the republican convention?

Marcus Dell'Artino: I want to say 60 delegates, 60 alternatives. That was back when I went. I'm not too sure -- there was adjustments. The numbers are adjusted on a couple factors. As your party voted and republican and for how long? Also, when's your primary? It's a fight between the RNC and or the DNC.

Ted Simons: Here's a loaded question. Are they beholden to the candidate?

Marcus Dell'Artino: And, what a great question because this debate is happening right now as we speak. And I think when you research it, the Supreme Court's been pretty clear on this. I understand you're going to get into greater detail about this tomorrow. They have had two cases and looked into this and said, no, they are not beholden to the votes. They are beholden to their own conscious. I believe we will have another Supreme Court decision on this.

Ted Simons: How many democrats?

Joshua Zaragoza: I thought it was around 72-76 range. It changes each election cycle. I went in 2012 for work. Yeah, the number, I have to double-check.

Ted Simons: And, beholden, again, to -- how does that work? If all of a sudden Hillary Clinton decides on a vice presidential candidate, I don't know who. Pick someone. Jesse Ventura and everyone goes, whoa, I can't abide with this. What happens?

Joshua Zaragoza: Conscientious objectors? In trump's case, for the party -- for a new candidate to emerge or him to be in a coup, there would need to be coordination on the G.O.P. side. What we learned is that they can't coordinate right now. [LAUGHTER]

Ted Simons: I'm talking about Hilary and she picks someone that people don't like?

Joshua Zaragoza: As we saw yesterday with Bernie's endorsement, is unifying. After the convention, it's going to be more solidified and more unified. If the republican's not, that's the --

Marcus Dell'Artino: The Democrats have the super delegate which is vastly different than what the republican party has so that affords them different opportunities. Had Hillary got in substantial on the email issue and they might want to call on Joe Biden. It was an interesting conspiracy theory that didn't pan out for me. [LAUGHTER]

Ted Simons: That's possible. The super delegates or a bit of a wild card.

Joshua Zaragoza: It happened after 1972 with McGovern and then the election of 1980 when Reagan overwhelming beat. They established a super delegate.

Ted Simons: Last question, it's going to you because your convention will no doubt be entertaining. What's going to happen?

Marcus Dell'Artino: God only knows. You've got this entertainer factor with trump. His buddies are at nbc producing TV shows. We might have fireworks or dancing girls. The people on his campaign who are currently working with him, which could change last week, have a long history of working with these conventions. He needs to stick to his message and this is the opportunity for him to do that.

Ted Simons: So, we'll see what happens. We will talk tomorrow. We have a guest to talk about the legalities on whether or not they are bound to their delegates. Good to have you both here.

Marcus Dell'Artino: Thanks for having us.

Marcus Dell'Artino: Partner in FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs, Joshua Zaragoza: Chief Strategist for Elected Digital

J-TEDS

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