First Conventions

Taylor Riddle is politically savvy, in a way people twice his age could only hope to be. He’s 18, but Riddle has already led both the Republican and Democratic clubs at his high school (not beccause he’s a flip-flopper, he thought both groups should be represented), worked as a Congressional page, and earned a ticket to Denver as an alternate in the Arkansas delegation. At the Pepsi Center, he glides from person to person, shaking hands with Congressmen John Lewis and Tim Ryan (who used the word “bro” in conversation – I guess that’s why Congress is the “broken branch”), talking with fellow delegates, and picking out faces in the crowd.

But just like everyone at their first national convention (including me a day earlier), Talyor’s political jargon and rehearsed answers fail him as he steps into the convention hall. The young politico who talked easily with CNN analysts Jamal Simmons and Jimmy Carville walks into the arena, and can only manage “wow,” “unvelievable” and “holy cow.” The first time seeing the stage at the DNC is an experience no one can forget, and Taylor Riddle is no exception.

Later, we talked with Riddle about his political future. “I would like to run for office but I couldn’t tell you what office,” he tells me. “It’s one of those things that I would like to serve in any capacity that the people of Arkansas want to put me to. If they elected me trash collector, I would be more than glad to do it.”

I think it’s safe to say we can expect a slightly higher office in Taylor Riddle’s future. Who knows, he might be making more noise at the 2020 convention.


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