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What We Learned From the D.N.C.

2020-08-21 10:30:02
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“Viewers got a very good sense of Biden himself as a family man, someone with a moral compass,” Lisa told us. And both Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, sharply criticized President Trump’s response to the pandemic.

2. High stakes. “This convention was waged in existential terms,” Lisa said. Perhaps the starkest warning came from former President Barack Obama, who cast his successor as a threat to American democracy.

3. A big tent. From disaffected Republicans to progressive Democrats, the convention showcased the breadth of the coalition the party hopes to mobilize. But squabbles over speaking times, generational gaps and divergent ideologies also laid bare the challenges of holding such a wide coalition together.

“On the first night, for example, voters heard from John Kasich, a Republican, and Senator Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist,” Lisa said. “Those two men likely agree on very little beyond the need to defeat Trump.”

4. Winning is one thing, governing another. Notable speakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren and former President Bill Clinton touted aspects of Biden’s policy agenda, as did Biden himself. But the convention focused more on critiquing Trump’s stance on problems like gun violence, climate change and the virus than on detailing Democrats’ solutions.

Given Biden’s current lead, Lisa noted, that might be enough. “But I do think voters like to know what they’re getting with a candidate,” she said. “What will this person do beyond simply ousting the guy in office right now? I’m not sure this convention answered that question.”

Trump and the G.O.P. will get a shot at a rejoinder when their own largely virtual convention starts Monday.

For more on the D.N.C.’s fourth night:

The pandemic has been a boon to home gardening. The mental and physical benefits of the activity are well known: longer lives, lower levels of depression and exposure to vitamin D. “Gardening reduces stress,” Huma Yasin has written in The Times.

Contact with nature can also provide philosophical comfort, The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead argues: “Many people, when faced with their own mortality or that of their loved ones, become more attuned to the natural world. This is evidence not just of a garden’s power to distract and inspire but of its power to console.”

And for some marginalized communities, gardening grants agency over food insecurity and a lack of healthy options. “Possibilities, solutions, freedom — that’s what I’m growing,” a Los Angeles gardener and activist told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s what the gardens represent.”

Cowboy caviar (also known as Texas caviar) lies somewhere between a dip and a salad. You can customize the recipe with corn, avocados or whatever else you have on hand. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy.


If you’ve ever read the wildly popular “Neapolitan Novels” series in English, you’ve come across the translation work of Ann Goldstein. Though she’s worked with Elena Ferrante since 2004, even she has never met the famously secretive Italian novelist; they communicate through Ferrante’s publisher.

Goldstein, who used to lead The New Yorker’s copy desk, became one of the most acclaimed literary translators in the world through her work on the series. The pair collaborated again on Ferrante’s latest novel, “The Lying Life of Adults,” out next month.

Read about her fascinating life in a new profile.


Our weekly suggestion from Gilbert Cruz, The Times’s Culture editor:

I have never solved a Rubik’s Cube and probably never will. Many of you might be the same. But there’s something fascinating about that colorful square. So small! So difficult!

A new Netflix documentary offers a peek into the world of competitive cubing, where mostly young people gather to solve the puzzles as quickly as possible. (We’re talking seconds here.) “The Speed Cubers” focuses specifically on the sweet friendship between two of the top cubers in the world — the Australian star Feliks Zemdegs and the American Max Park, an autistic teenager whose parents first put a cube in his hand as a means of increasing his fine motor skills.

Soundtracked by the constant clicky-clack sounds of people fiddling with the cubes, this 40-minute film is a reminder that what might seem small and niche to you can be the whole world to others.


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