The Democratic National Convention here was Broadway to the summer stock production that Republicans put on in Cleveland. The Democrats' show was polished and uplifting, while the grand spectacle Donald Trump had promised to produce was amateurish and angry.
The chants of "USA! USA!" -- even if they were, at times, a device to drown out protests by Bernie Sanders' supporters -- and the impassioned waving of flags, were more reminiscent of past Republican gatherings than the typical Democratic convention. You half expected Lee Greenwood, the country star omnipresent on the Republican political circuit, to pop up, joining Katy Perry in a "God Bless the USA" duet.
Yet this was not simply the tale of two conventions. It was, rather, a tale of three: Republicans versus Clinton Democrats versus the Sanders wing.
The Clinton team confronted the delicate task of presenting -- or re-presenting, or re-re-presenting -- their nominee to the country as an acceptable, if not exactly cuddly, alternative to the threat of Trump.