RNC vs. DNC: A Reading List Examining the Conventions

In the past two weeks, Cleveland, Ohio hosted the Republican National Convention and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hosted the Democratic National Convention. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton earned the nominations from their respective parties; they will face off in November. Not everyone is thrilled with this outcome. Ted Cruz urged delegates to vote with their conscience and didn’t endorse Trump, and Bernie Sanders supporters walked out of the DNC or protested outside the convention. I’m equally intrigued and exhausted by the political realm right now, so I’m relying on the thoughtful analyses and on-the ground reporting by talented writers.

1. “The R.N.C. on TV: Ivanka’s Weaponized Graciousness.” (Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, July 2016)

The dangerous choices of the postergirl for the Family Trump, who, you know, probably isn’t actually a Republican. If you haven’t read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story about Melania Trump, read that, too.

2. “I’m With the Banned.” (Laurie Penny, Medium, July 2016)

Troll king Milo Yiannopoulos throws a party for gay Republicans, and he invites his un-friend, feminist Laurie Penny, along for the limo ride.

3. “Bread and Circuses in Believeland.” (Benson Cowan & Kyle Grillot, Roads & Kingdoms, July 2016)

“For four days, photographer Kyle Grillot and I wandered the city, drinking, eating, and talking to people: Republicans, Democrats, independents, and anarchists alike. We went straight into the belly of the beast and mingled with the delegates. We drifted through the pods of protesters. And we travelled off the beaten path to parts of the city where the RNC was an afterthought or a distraction. This is what we found.”

4. “Shadowing My Gregarious GOP Grandma at the Republican National Convention.” (Tom Markham, Narratively, July 2016)

Beth Campbell, affectionately known as “Honey,” is a delegate from Tennessee. She’s thrilled to introduce her grandson, and you, the reader, to the world of the Republican National Convention.

5. “Bim Adewunmi at the RNC and DNC.” (Bim Adewunmi, Medium, July 2016)

Four installments by culture writer Bim Adewunmi on Chris Christie, the American flag, being Black in Cleveland during the convention, Bill Clinton, and splitting the Democratic party.

6. “Donald Trump’s Man in Philadelphia.” (Michael Kruse, Politico Magazine, July 2016)

Meet Calvin Tucker, the man determined to rally Black people in Pennsylvania to the Republican cause.

7. “Hillary Is Poised to Make the ‘Impossible Possible’ — for Herself and for Women in America.” (Rebecca Traister, The Cut, July 2016)

A great follow-up to Traister’s earlier article, “Hillary Clinton vs. Herself.”

8. “For RNC Merch Vendors, Business is Business” & “Outside the DNC, a Sea of Sanders Fashion.” (Eliza Brooke, Racked, July 2016)

Racked sent writer Eliza Brooke and photographer Cole Wilson to the RNC & DNC to scout out the merch.

9. “He’s No One’s Idea of a Liberal Hero, But Tim Kaine Is a Natural Fit for Clinton.” (Patrick Caldwell, Mother Jones, July 2016)

Embarrassingly, I’d never heard of Tim Kaine before this election cycle, but then again, I’m nowhere near as plugged into politics as I should be. This piece at Mother Jones was a good primer for me.

10.  “The Hillary Haters.” (Michelle Goldberg, Slate, July 2016)

It could be that the reasons people give for disliking Clinton have changed simply because she herself has changed. She entered the White House as a brashly self-confident liberal. Early on, some of the president’s advisers sought to undermine her plans for health care reform because they were thought to be insufficiently business-friendly; in response, Carl Bernstein, one of her biographers, quotes her snapping at her husband, “You didn’t get elected to do Wall Street economics.” Then, after the epic repudiation of the 1994 midterms, in which Republicans won a House majority for the first time since 1952, she overcorrected—becoming too cautious, too compromising, too solicitous of entrenched interests. As she would say during her 2000 Senate campaign, “I now come from the school of small steps.”

Finally, Longreads has already shared two excellent articles relevant to the DNC: “Obama’s Aesthetic of Cool” and “The Long, Hot Summer Hillary Became a Politician.”