Make conventions great again! The best, wackiest ways states introduce themselves


Members of the Washington state delegation take dignified part in the Roll Call of States during last week’s Republican National Convention. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Day Two of the Democratic National Convention will see delegates formally nominate their party’s presidential candidate. It should be hands-down one of the best things to watch, and not just because, if all goes as expected, Hillary Clinton will become the first major party female nominee for president (Although that’s a very big deal. Just as the Republicans nominating Donald Trump  as their candidate last week was also a very big deal. Keep those angry emails at bay, folks!)

No, it’s because of how the candidates are nominated. AKA, the Roll Call of States. Like beauty pageant contestants who totter onstage in ridiculous outfits representative of their  state  (“Miss Vermont, home of maple syrup!” while dressed as a flapjack, etc.), the state delegations at conventions try to make the most of their moment in the sun.

(Or, in Maine’s case last week, their several moments. Before giving it up for Trump, Maine’s spokesperson name checked seemingly every every person in the state, then rather hilariously assured anyone who was concerned this was a problem that it was “leading the way to make New England great again.”)

Not every state can hope to have the finger-tingling moment that occurred when the New York’s delegation’s spokesperson, Donald Trump Jr., cast the votes that put his father over the top.

Still, some other states more than held their own. As we eagerly await tonight’s Roll Call of States, here are some standouts from last week’s GOP gathering

  • Um, what does that mean exactly: North Dakota justifiably bragged on its five-time FCS (i.e. Division I-AA) football champs, the North Dakota State University Bison, then rather inexplicably concluded, “the only state in the United States last year to grow younger.”
  • Meanwhile, over in South Dakota, they were busy dropping the mic: Who doesn’t love a state that offered up this piece of political poetic Haiku:  “Home of Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, and other great faces and great places.”
  • We get it. You’re all about the politics: Iowa, which already saps up an insanely disproportionate amount of attention every four years thanks to its “first in the nation” presidential caucuses, just wanted to make sure we knew that they know what’s important there. Its one-note intro: “Home of the two hardest-working U.S. senators, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst, and the longest-serving governor in American history, Gov. Terry Branstad.”
  • We get it. You’re all about guys named Sam: Say hello to West Virginia, “Home of the greatest golfer in the history of golf, Mr. Sam Sneed. The greatest pro football player in the history of the NFL, Mr. Sam Huff.” (What about the greatest patriot in the history of patriots, Mr. Uncle Sam?).
  • Seriously? He comes after mystery meat in a can?! Sigh. You were so close, Minnesota, with your boast about being “Home of 10,000 lakes, home of Spam, and home of the late, great Prince.”
  • To quote Donald Trump, “Sad!”:  Poor Kansas had to make do with glomming onto a professional sports team’s success . . . in another state! The World Series champ Kansas City Royals may play in Missouri, but the Kansas delegation assured us they were the “Home of the greatest fans of the reigning World Series champions . . . “
  • They’re laughing all the way to the beach: Who knew the Northern Mariana Islands got to send a delegation to the Republican convention? For that matter, who even knew there was a Northern Mariana Islands? Their in-your-face response: “From the most Republican territory, where the weather is 85 degrees all year round.”
  • What happens in Carson City stays in Carson City: Finally, remember that poor, unfortunate Miss Teen USA contestant who got tripped up a few years back by a question about many Americans’ inability to find their own country on a world map? [No? Well, here’s the video to remind you]    Apparently a lot of those Americans were in the Nevada delegation, which boasted about the state’s attributes: “From the great shores of Lake Tahoe to the most entertaining capital city, Las Vegas, . . .” In fact, Carson City is Nevada’s capital city.

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