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Now that the convention proceedings are finished, things are markedly slowed down for everyone here in Minnesota, and we have time to go into some details we may have missed in earlier posts.  If you’ve never attended a major party’s convention, let me give you an idea of what’s involved for the most dedicated participants:

Imagine waking up for a breakfast event at 8am (though if you’re like most of the people we talked to, you might have slept through this one) where you’ll sip coffee and try to stay conscious through some presentation brought to you by corporate sponsors.  Then you’ll head over to downtown St. Paul where all the real action is.  (You can tell how close you are to all the events by counting the number of police in soft riot gear and the number of protestors in…well, anything you you could possibly imagine.)  
Walking past the MSNBC stage with Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow talking about the latest news and analysis, you’d probably head into the Ordway Center to hear a panel discussion on national security in the 21st century.  After hanging around the post-event reception, shaking hands and passing out business cards, you’d make your way across the street to a swanky hotel for the first of probably three or four cocktail parties during this day, where you’d listen to impromptu speeches and talk to anyone and everyone about what kind of work you do.  (Notice that none of this time is spent eating full meals, or anything that could even pass for actual food–it’s strictly finger foods and desserts all week long).
With the right connections, you’d then be handed your credentials to get into the convention hall for that evening’s speeches–a nice chance to rest your weary legs and listen to the political elites addressing the nation.  But as soon as that’s over, it’s off to the after parties where you’ll find anything that could pass for dinner amid the hob-nobbing, glad-handing, and drinking.  This is where the real connections are made–people go to these to have a good time but also to meet people who can become good partners on work in the future.  Lots of fund-raising deals are made here, and future business ventures are planned out, with the occasional friendship formed along the way.  This goes on until 4 or 5 in the morning sometimes, after which you collapse into bed, only to do it all again tomorrow! 
Which is probably why they only have these things once ever four years!

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