I have thought about the proposal to delay Kerry's acceptance of the nomination to delay the point at which the general election begins -- and Kerry must stop spending privately raised money and use public funds. The Republicans are already complaining about this ploy turning the nominating convention into a multi-day political rally at public expense. Instead, I suggest that Kerry be nominated at the convention but his formal acceptance would be later. Or the nomination and acceptance could become effective on 1 September.
Democratic Party officials and lawyers said they see no significant legal bar to postponing the formal designation of their presidential nominee. Donald L. Fowler, former Democratic National Committee chairman, said that the national convention is the ultimate authority for party rules and that an "appropriately drawn resolution" could be approved at the July convention that sets out what constitutes formal acceptance of the nomination.
"I don't think it's a big legal thing," Fowler said. "The convention can do what it wants."
Another lawyer working with the party said, "This is a decision the party makes and it makes it pursuant to its own rules," adding that there are no other regulatory or statutory limitations.
Democratic officials said they are exploring a number of possibilities. One would be to reconvene the delegates to the convention, although trying to physically reconvene them appears unlikely. Instead, officials said, there is talk of convening through the Internet or through a conference call.
Fowler said the convention could give authority to the national committee, which could convene around Sept. 1 and designate Kerry as the nominee. In 1972, when presidential nominee George McGovern had to dump his vice presidential nominee, Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton (Mo.), the DNC convened to pick R. Sargent Shriver as his replacement. -- Kerry Ponders Delay in Party Nod (washingtonpost.com)
Stephanie Cutter, Mr. Kerry's spokeswoman, said a delay in the nomination was "not a fait accompli," and said the campaign was also discussing a second option: encouraging Democrats and supporters of Mr. Kerry to steer their contributions to the Democratic National Committee and to state party committees to buoy the campaign during the five-week gap between the conventions.
"We will find a way to level the playing field," Ms. Cutter said. "It very well may not be this option. But given the amount of money we've raised — $89 million over 80 days since Super Tuesday, the average donation is $200 — there's significant support out there, but we've only begun to see that support, and it can only improve from here. And we've got to find a way to continue to tap that momentum in those five weeks." -- Kerry Considers Strategic Delay for Democratic Nomination (New York Times)
During the 19th Century, it was not uncommon for the eventual nominee not even to attend the convention. Then, as now, the convention appointed a small group to take the word of the nomination to the candidate. Then, the candidate might be a day or two away by train. Now, he or she is in a nearby hotel. (The first major party candidate to accept the nomination in person by addressing the convention was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.)