Steve Kornacki’s latest Salon.com article: The star-making convention slot

Updated

You may not have heard of Julian Castro – yet – but he was just handed a priceless opportunity to enhance his future political prospect: the keynote speaking slot at September’s Democratic convention.

That means that the 37-year-old Castro, who was elected mayor of San Antonio in 2009 and reelected last year, will address a primetime audience on the convention’s first night (which, in a break with tradition, will be on a Tuesday this year, with Democrats trimming their convention to three days from the customary four). His selection signals the party’s desire to maximize its advantage among Latino voters, a growing voting bloc where Mitt Romney and the GOP face a particular struggle.

But it’s also a chance for Castro to radically enhance his visibility in his home state and nationally. It’s true, as Jonathan Bernstein points out, that conventions aren’t what they used to be – that the infomercial packaging and lack of suspense has led television networks to devote less and less time to their coverage every four years. But in a way, this has actually increased the value of the keynote gig, which now stands as one of the very few speeches that the media makes a point of covering.

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Steve Kornacki's latest Salon.com article: The star-making convention slot

Updated