One might ask why someone might be willing to give of their time and money to be a delegate at the National Convention. This was a question that I began to focus on the more I learned of the delegate requirements including time, money, and the efforts that have to go in to campaigning to receive the honorable spot. In order to be a qualified National Convention Delegate, one must move up the ranks from precinct to district to state and then on to become a National Delegate. An election occurs at each of these steps which can require much time networking, campaigning and communicating why you are not only qualified but also deserving to serve as the voice within the area you are representing.
Once elected on the state level, delegates begin confirming hotel arrangements within their states assigned hotel, planning transportation, rsvping to dinners and rallies and scheduling days events while at the National Conventions. The preparation takes time but that is only the very beginning. As I talked with an Iowa delegate this morning, I began to get a better understanding of the various objectives the delegates have while attending the conventions. Some delegates use this as a way to serve their country, political party or their communities while others may use this opportunity for more selfish reasons by networking for possible future campaigning and fundraising.
Delegates are able to use this opportunity in a variety of ways. One could observe many deals being made, campaign money being raised and hands being shaken. For some this week is just another day at work while others view this week as an amazing vacation that was spent taking pictures and talking with celebrities that they would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. An Iowa delegate who is also a Political Science Professor at the University of Iowa said he is surprised at how little is accomplished at these conventions as he has so far been experiencing many motivational speeches and a lot of "fluff".
Overall, I believe that delegates walk away from this week with many different experiences and opinions as to the accomplishments and the future of their party. The experiences a delegate take away with depend on the state inwhich they represent, the amount of particpation they are involved with and the objectives and goals they had for the week. The diversity within the delegation is a key as to why the National Conventions can be interesting.