Here’s what I learned from two weeks in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Cleveland doesn’t suck.
Uber drives in Cleveland didn’t want to tell us their political leanings.
The t-shirt vendors in Cleveland aren’t necessarily sexist but sexist shirts sell better than regular shirts.
If the 2016 NBC Champions Cleveland Cavaliers ran for any office in Ohio, they’d win.
After the RNC, I headed to Chicago for a wedding. People wanted to know about the craziness. They were disappointed when I told them about the lack of craziness. They wanted to know about Trump’s chances. I told them it’s very, very, very unlikely any of us will see a President Trump. They did not believe me. I didn’t try to convince anyone. I just went to the DNC.
Philadelphia does not need conventions. It’s a historic city worth visiting any time of the year. Full of tiny streets, great bars and useful subway system, it’s also horrible for political gatherings. It’s full of tiny streets, great bars you’d rather be in than an arena and a subway system that’s packed with people that need to get to work and home from work.
Uber drivers in Philadelphia were a little more forthcoming about their political leanings.
The bootleg merchandise in Cleveland was what you’d expect. The racist, homophobic and sexist Philadelphia merch was nonexistent.
There were more balloons and more people and more protests and more excitement in Philadelphia.
I learned things I couldn’t have learned without attending both conventions. I did not think that would happen. I’ve never had more faith in America and the goodness is most people.
If you talk to anyone that doesn’t align with your political point of view, you’re going to engage in a pointless debate. The next 96 days will feel like 96 uncomfortable Thanksgivings. But that’s OK. In fact, that’s good. Bernie Sanders made the DNC uncomfortable for a few days and now there’s a presidential candidate acknowledging systematic racism. Sure, the guy isn’t the party nominee but the party platform is more his than anyone else’s. A few uncomfortable days is perfectly fine. It seems that the reality of a demagogue as president may be little too uncomfortable for most people.
By the time this week’s news cycle began, the speeches from both presidential candidates were old news. The only thing that seemed to stick was Khizr Khan’s speech, Trump’s reaction and the back and forth. Unlike Trump’s challenges to Senator McCain, Muslims, Mexicans or the Pope, this controversy seems to be sticking.
This was originally supposed to go up on Monday, August 1. Like everything else in this election cycle, I thought Trump’s most recent gaffe would pass without much movement in the polls. I was wrong. Since the conventions, the republican candidate attacked a Gold Star family, made flippant comments about receiving a Purple Heart, contradicted himself about business ties Russia, incorrectly said Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, kicked a baby out of his rally, claimed the NFL sent him a letter about the debate schedule (the NFL did not), refused to back Speaker Ryan and Senator McCain, there are reports his staff is ‘suicidal’ and the candidate asked multiple times why he couldn’t use nuclear weapons. The polls are moving. On the morning of Wednesday, August 3, according to 538, Donald Trump just has a 31.6% chance of winning the presidency.
That’s what I felt after both conventions. Based on polls, press conferences, speeches, conversations with delegates and Uber drives and vendors and bartenders and city workers, there didn’t appear to be a path victory for Trump. Now it looks like some people that weren’t lucky enough to attend a press conference next to a boxing ring are feeling the same thing.