The convention that nominated Obama set a standard for pageantry
The plan was risky, though
It depended on weather, logistics and a crowd of 80,000 showing up
When: Aug. 25-28, 2008
Nominee: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois
If political conventions are now largely pageants — and they are — the 2008 convention that nominated Barack Obama set a standard against which other such gatherings will be measured.
A successful convention wasn’t automatic, though. For months Obama had battled Hillary Clinton in state after state, scrapping for primary and caucus voters and the delegates those contests would bring. America learned of something called “superdelegates,” the party leaders and power brokers who could cast votes on the convention floor for anyone they wanted.
The discomfort between the two campaigns only grew as spring turned into early summer. Many Democrats worried openly about a contested convention in Denver, or an unmanageable split between Obama and Clinton that would alienate one side or the other.
In March there had even been quiet talk of a “mini-convention,” where superdelegates could hash out their differences and hand the nomination to one of the two candidates.