The Democratic and Republican National Party Conventions (opening on 16 July and 20 August) will culminate in the acceptance speeches of the two nominees for President. When the nominees step up to the microphones to address the cheering party faithful in the convention hall, and the nation on television and radio, they will leave behind them the committee wranglings over party platforms and the balloting of the state party delegates which brought them their nominations. Although one nominee will be the incumbent President, re-selected without serious contest, whereas the other will have racked up his votes through the Democratic Party primary elections, the task of each speech will be much the same: to sound a chord for the campaign battle ahead while reaching for ideas and images that project national unity and personal statesmanship. The speeches will contain policy statements that reveal some choices and priorities, but they will be high-toned rather than specific. The acceptance speech is an affirmation, not a programme.