By Ezra Klein
What we just witnessed in Cleveland and Philadelphia defies our normal political vocabulary. We are used to speaking of American politics as split between the two major parties. It’s Democrats versus Republicans, liberals versus conservatives, left versus right.
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But not this election. The conventions showed that this is something different. This campaign is not merely a choice between the Democratic and Republican parties, but between a normal political party and an abnormal one.
The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. The party nominated Hillary Clinton, a longtime party member with deep experience in government. Clinton was endorsed by Bernie Sanders, the runner-up in the primary. Barack Obama, the sitting president, spoke in favor of Clinton. Various Democratic luminaries gave speeches endorsing Clinton by name. The assembled speakers criticized the other party’s nominee, arguing that he would be a bad president and should be defeated at the polls.
That isn’t to say that Democrats didn’t show divisions or expose fault lines. They did. Political parties are chaotic things. The Democratic Party’s primary was unusually bitter, and listening to the loud "boos" of Sanders’s most committed supporters, there’s real reason to wonder whether Democrats will fracture in coming years. But for now, the Democrats nominated a normal candidate, held a normal convention, and remain a normal political party.