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Night three at the DNC, starring America’s crazy uncle and America’s dad in cycling shorts

There’s a plot twist in every cheesy thriller novel that’s so excessive it makes you roll your eyes and realize everything you’ve read up to that point has been a slow-burn of absurdity. In the potboiler that is the 2016 presidential election, that came yesterday, when Donald Trump invited the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. It was outrageous—but so too was Clinton’s use of a private server. And who ever thought Donald Trump would be a convincing presidential candidate? And why did I buy this Clive Cussler crap?

Wait, that’s right. I didn’t.

And so the real-life farce continued yesterday at the Democratic National Convention. Bill de Blasio got things rolling by trashing Donald Trump for racking up debt and undergoing bankruptcies. This is precisely what Democratic governance accomplishes, so I’m not sure if he meant it as a criticism or bipartisan outreach. Confusion became gumption when the mayor of Detroit took the podium afterwards to whoop that his city is bouncing back. It is—as will any falling object that hits the pavement—but everyone still remembers what party’s policies forced it into bankruptcy in the first place.

RELATED: Yes, Joe Biden just walked out on stage to “Rocky” music

The Gun Grabber Jamboree was next, starring Senator Chris Murphy. He mourned recent mass shootings and then advocated policies that would have done nothing to stop them. Background checks might be ineffective, but they’re all Democrats can risk right now without white flags ascending above Blue Dog offices. And speaking of political theater that scares the pants off of the heartland, during Leon Panetta’s speech, delegates erupted with “Love not war!” and “Lies! Lies!” which no doubt drew chants of “Air ball!” from Republican operatives watching at home. The dissenters—in the throes of a particularly passionate Bern—were eventually drowned out, but still, just when you thought Democrats had finally found a united front, the ghost of George McGovern arrived and started whipping his chains around.

Joe Biden won them back, or at least seemed to, with his blistering attack on all things malarkey. And while most of the media zeroed in on Biden’s customary passion, it was his unusually strident condemnation of Donald Trump that struck me. “No major party nominee has ever known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security,” he said at one point. At another, he analogized Trump’s advocacy of torture and religious discrimination to the Islamic State. It was an unfair comparison—Trump isn’t smart enough to run a caliphate—but that’s just Biden being Biden being Biden, the delightful codger.

After America’s crazy uncle came America’s dad in cycling shorts, Tim Kaine. Kaine is a vanilla personality with a rainbow-sprinkled background: a Jesuit who instructed carpenters and welders in Honduras, an attorney who targeted abusive insurance companies, fluent in Spanish. His politics aren’t far-left, but his experience is pure social justice. Still, as the genteel Kaine tried to rip a few on Donald Trump, it was obvious that he was Hillary’s safe school veep choice—not necessarily a criticism: the third-rate colleges are often just as good as the moss-draped ones, if not better.

RELATED: Hillary’s VP pick just made fun of the way Trump talks on national television

So we’ll see whether Hillary’s non-gamble on Kaine returns dividends. She picked him because he’s a sharp policy mind and a trusted confidante from a swing state, someone who will appeal to what she sees as the patient American middle. Problem is, the outer districts aren’t in a mood to be pacified—if they were, Donald Trump wouldn’t have a combed-over-hair’s-breadth lead over Clinton. Facing accusations that she’s a Washington insider, for her running mate Hillary reached outside the D.C. bubble all the way to…Virginia. At last, those Arlington Millennials will finally vote Democrat! Kaine might be a good guy, but politics is won on the crudest sort of perception, and spiking two insiders over the top in this year of rage will be a tall order.

President Obama closed Wednesday’s offerings with his usual airborne rhetoric and a reference to the Democratic convention 12 years ago when he first spoke to a national audience. It felt nostalgic. Unlike in Great Britain, where prime ministers are unceremoniously carted off in the dead of night, our presidencies are almost always consequential, and those that last eight years leave something behind. Obama has health reform and a modestly performing economy, but his biggest legacy promise was to cauterize our wounds after eight years of division under George W. Bush. Instead, Trump grunts, Bernie Bros jeer, and pundits quiver about another 1968. The novel seems doomed to end on a cliffhanger.

This post is from RareRare. Click here to read the full text

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