But while the cast of characters somewhat changes from convention to convention, there is one glimmering, hopeful constant in the whole thing: absurd hats.
Year after year, convention-goers of both democratic and republican persuasion put their best hats forward to support their party and bring a festive flair to the event.
As Harry Rubenstein of The Smithsonian Institution recently told MSNBC, the practice “grew out of a tradition of hat-wearing delegates adding a button or flag to their headwear until they became elaborate works of art drawing media attention,” but says these days it’s more about attendees who want “more attention from the camera crews.”
Naturally, people pulled out all the stops this time around, sporting cowboy hats, elephant hats, plenty of americana and more.
Take a look at some of the best (and worst) toppers below.