Democratic Convention: 5 Things You Didn't See on TV

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Some things — the heat, the lines, the raw patriotism — can only be experienced inside Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

Think you're a political junkie? OK. But there's only so much you can absorb from watching wall-to-wall Democratic National Convention coverage on cable. Some things — the heat, the lines, the raw patriotism — can only be experienced inside Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. 

1. I'm With Merch

There's no shortage of Hillary Clinton-related memorabilia to load up on in the Wells Fargo Center lobby — buttons, caps, T-shirts, the usual. (There's even a Bernie shirt.) Most striking of all is a poster which features Clinton as we've never quite seen her before: the candidate's face in profile, her hair swept back, a very un-pantsuit-like turtleneck on, set against a sunburst of blue and white stripes ($25). If there's something oddly compelling about the design, you're not wrong: It's strikingly reminiscent of a famous propaganda poster for China's Communist leader Mao Tse Tung, titled, "Respectfully wish Chairman Mao eternal life." (Hillary's, available for purchase on her website, was generically dubbed, "HRC Portrait Poster.) A less-than-ideal choice of imagery for a woman running as the anti-demagogue? Perhaps. But it looks pretty cool. 

2. The Wall

On the first night of the convention, a blue wall — made of fabric stretched over crowd barriers — separated the delegates on the floor from the speakers, who addressed the crowd from a podium 12 carpeted steps above. On the second night, however, the wall was gone, replaced by a glass partition. A marked improvement.

3. Convention Interruptus

After a chaotic and highly disruptive Monday night in which Bernie Sanders delegates regularly drowned out speakers with chants of "No TPP!" and "Bernie! Bernie!," things calmed down significantly on Tuesday. There was one meek attempt at a protest made by a woman holding a hand-painted sign in the very last row, but after about four minutes of chanting in support of Palestinian rights — and being ignored by everyone around her — she eventually took her seat. (Video below.) On Wednesday, protesters were back at it again. A sizable faction of Bern-hards on the west side of the arena chanted over California Gov. Jerry Brown's fiery speech about climate change. By the time he delivered his most powerful line — "Trump says global warming is a hoax. I say Trump is a fraud" —  they had quieted down.

4. House Party

As political convention house bands go, it would be tough to beat the Republican National Convention, which was led by former Saturday Night Live band leader G.E. Smith and played a cover of David Bowie's "Station to Station," a song which includes the lyric, "It’s not the side-effects of the cocaine / I’m thinking that it must be love.” (Watch the performance here.) The Democrats' house band has so far steered away from songs with cocaine-related lyrics, but has nevertheless done its best to keep the energy up with selections like Phil Collins' "Don't Lose My Number" and "Theme From Rocky" (we are in Rocky land, after all). 

5. Balloons

Spoiler alert. There will be balloons.

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