Today, 2,472 Republican delegates from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and insular U.S. territories descend on the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, for the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The event has attracted around 15,000 credentialed media, 50,000 expected visitors and an international press contingent only surpassed by the group arriving in Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
The Cleveland convention kicks off in the midst of a serious and poignant time in 2016, marred by killings at home and violent extremism abroad.
In light of the divisiveness pervasive throughout the Republican camp this cycle, Cleveland is focusing heavily on security. Fittingly, Trump has looked to claim the “law and order” mantle.
When asked whether this year’s RNC would be a “Republican convention or Trump convention,” Trump campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort made a weak effort to be diplomatic, making it clear that this week is about one man, and one man only: “Tthis is a Donald Trump convention.”
The assuredly “Donald Trump convention” will be hard-pressed to cajole those uninspired Republicans who have attempted and most likely will fail to unseat the Republican nominee. If the past year has taught us anything new about Donald Trump, it is that he won’t kneel to the party or kiss any establishment ring.
Notable GOP politicians will be absent from the events in Cleveland.
Many are party leaders who before-Trump (BT) were widely considered rising stars within the party. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Ohio(!) Gov. John Kasich will all forgo their party’s nominating convention, according to CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday.
Not to mention former party leaders who won’t attend -- the two Bush presidents and the 2012 and 2008 GOP nominees, Gov. Romney and Sen. McCain.
It wouldn’t be a Trump 2016 event without some serious Clinton bashing. Monday evening will be dedicated to highlighting the attacks in Benghazi, and apparently convention goers and viewers can expect a presentation delineating President Bill Clinton’s accusations of sexual misconduct at some point.
In the words of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, “a convention actually is a great big TV show.” And, Donald Trump is well schooled at running those.