The Amphitheatre was the best place in the world for a convention. Relatively small, it had the packed intimacy of a neighborhood fight club. The entrances to the gallery were narrow as hallway tunnels, and the balcony seemed to hang over each speaker. The colors were black and gray and red and white and blue, bright powerful colors in support of a ruddy beef-eating Democratic sea of faces. The standards in these cramped quarters were numerous enough to look like lances. The aisles were jammed. The carpets were red. The crowd had a blood in their vote which had traveled in unbroken line from the throng who cheered the blood of brave Christians and ferocious lions. It could have been a great convention, stench and all—politics in an abattoir was as appropriate as license in a boudoir. There was bottom to this convention: some of the finest and some of the most corrupt faces in America were on the floor. Cancer jostled elbows with acromegaly, obesity with edema, arthritis with alcoholism, bad livers sent curses to bronchiacs, and quivering jowls beamed bad cess to puffed-out paunches. Cigars curved mouths which talked out of the other corner to cauliflower ears. The leprotic took care of the voice-box of the dumb. The tennis players communicated with the estate holders, the Mob talked bowling with the Union, the principals winked to the principals, the honest and the passionate went hoarse shouting through dead mikes.
—from Norman Mailer’s Miami and the Siege of Chicago, his account of the Republican and Democratic conventions of 1968. Often considered “the last truly meaningful convention,” Democrats no doubt hope that the 2012 edition is a lot smoother than that one.