George Rose/Getty Images

36 Hours Not In Cleveland

The politician’s guide to finding something, anything else to do besides going to the Republican convention

Forget your American flag jumpsuit at home? Two points down in your reelection race with only a few months to spare? Trying to ignore the fact that your party nominated Donald Trump, but don't quite have the confidence of Ted Cruz? It sounds like you could use a break from work.

Here is an itinerary sure to remind you of all the reasons that America is already great — while also keeping you as far away from Cleveland as possible.


Start your afternoon by buying ice cream cones for all 36 members of your family at Bailey’s Bubble in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Then head to Fort Myers, Florida to talk about algae blooms. The green and blue phosphorescent ooze is especially prominent in Southwest Florida this year and has an unforgettable smell, reminiscent of rancid fish or an anarchic septic system. Thinking about how the state you want to serve for six more years (or maybe four, we'll see!) is slowly being overtaken by smelly sludge for unknown reasons that definitely don't have anything to do with the fact that the Earth is an Easy-Bake Oven will help keep your mind off the fact that your voters want to imprison the Democratic nominee. Nebraska is known for its stellar Little League stadiums, so you should end the day with a game. Hopefully you are so relaxed that you don't see any metaphors when the offense gets messy.


If you begin the day with slight misgivings about the fact that you aren't in Cleveland, ease your conscience by helping a blind person see in Kentucky. For lunch, head back to Florida for a bite at Ana's Cuban Cafe in Key West. If you still don't feel far enough from Cleveland, take advantage of the fact that you are near the ocean and swim to Alaska. You can go fishing at Kenai Beach, where no one will ask you about plagiarism. Take a break in the afternoon to go play with drones in Nevada. End the day with a road trip from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, where you can grab a drink with your friends at Roland's Seafood Grill in Pittsburgh. Try to resist letting out a Mona Lisa smile when you talk about Benghazi and dozens of people with "Hillary for Prison" signs don't magically materialize.

Tim Graham/Getty Images


After you're awake, try to look excited about maritime security barriers while you think of how you're going to distance yourself from the Trump campaign in New Hampshire. Afterward, go find some peace and quiet at a local library in Lake George, New York. Bask in the decorum and reflection that you've been missing by hanging out with small children eager to hear you read House Mouse, Senate Mouse. It's your vacation; don't worry too much about the fact that they seem far more interested in parliamentary procedure than the man currently flying over Cleveland in a Trump-branded helicopter. After that, trudge to South Carolina so you can take a brief moment to ponder the anniversary of the moon landing. It's a perfect way to marvel at the universe without thinking about the fact that the Constitution contains no Article XII, or wondering if the next president has plans to create one. While you're still in South Carolina, take a moment to consider the beauty of peach cobbler. Don't think about what the glorious orange fuzz reminds you of. Just think about peach cobbler — and freedom.

Stop in Maryland to go to a clambake and take a picture with a giant crab.

If you realize that you haven't taken enough photos to make all your friends back in Cleveland jealous, head back to Kentucky to snap a pic in front of the Possum Trot Quickmart. This photo has the added benefit of reminding everyone that you made a blind person see yesterday, because the sign for the Possum Trot Quickmart features four blind possums wearing sunglasses. Resist the temptation to point out that possums aren't actually blind, because everything about the Possum Trot Quickmart is too perfect to question. In the afternoon, head to Arizona and catch a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway. Soak up the beautiful views, and don't think too much about how the parched landscape desperately clinging to its reserves of life-restoring water in the summer heat reminds you of your party. Make a brief pitstop in Jordan.

For dinner, try the charming Chick-Fil-A in York, Pennsylvania. It's beloved with locals, and a fat-induced food coma from eating two chicken sandwiches is sure to keep you from thinking too much about Trump's misgivings about unconditionally helping NATO countries. If you feel like binge eating, the Taco John's in Pierre, South Dakota is a perfect bet, and will definitely not make you think about building a wall.

As the day ends and you become increasingly unable to avoid Cleveland, write a blog post in which you beg your colleagues to stop yelling "lock her up." Spend the last moments of your vacation reflecting on the fact that there are still 110 days left to go before the election, and soon there won't be a Cleveland to stay away from any longer.