The Democratic Party safely navigated its four-day virtual convention last week. The Republican Party will begin its version tonight. The shortened format for Democrats did produce fewer gaffes and less drama as tightly scripted, mostly prerecorded, speeches were delivered. Less is more may become the mantra for future conventions.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who accepted his party’s nomination Thursday night, gave one of the shortest speeches in decades, clocking in at approximately 24.5 minutes. For context, the longest acceptance speech was Bill Clinton’s 64.5-minute stem-winder from 1996.

At the 2016 Republican convention, then-candidate Donald Trump spoke for 75 minutes, exceeding George W. Bush’s 2004 acceptance speech of 62 minutes.

President Trump is currently expected to make appearances each night of the convention this week and accept the nomination with a speech on Thursday evening from the White House. The speech will be followed by a fireworks display over the Washington Monument, according to permits requested through the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

In our opinion: Unconventional convention wisdom for Democrats and Republicans

Republicans are likely to follow the Democrat’s model with a very narrow range of speakers and many preproduced vignettes about Trump, his policies and vision of America.

A move to more minimalist conventions may endure. While many missed the pageantry and spectacle of a live event and the dynamic it brings, others who watched appreciated a more succinct presentation.

Less is more is a good mantra for most meetings and gatherings. Equally important, however, is what there is less of in order for there to be more of something better. Less but better may be the better phrase. 

As it relates to political conventions, less of the divisive, angry and bitter rhetoric that has become all too common would be better. The nation could use more of the kind of conversation suggested by two-time presidential candidate and former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson: 

“Let’s talk sense to the American people. Let’s tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions. ... What counts now is not just what we are against, but what we are for. Who leads us is less important than what leads us — what convictions, what courage, what faith.”

This isn’t to suggest that conventions and political speeches need to be dispassionate or boring. Rather, it is a call to voters to make sure their assessment of political party platforms and candidates isn’t based on bumper-sticker phrases or campaign talking points.

If the nation wants better leaders and better government, it is up to its people to expect more, listen differently and ask harder questions of campaigns and candidates. 

The 2020 conventions are unlike any in American history. We agree that less can be more — but only if filled with better content and more inspiring conversations.