Expectations for the 2016 GOP Convention

Following on the heels of Donald Trump announcing Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, the GOP will be in Cleveland, Ohio, next week to formally nominate Trump. Donald Trump, of course, has run a few pageants in his day, so one expects that the result will be well-polished and featuring corresponding displays of the candidate’s ability in areas from evening wear to Q&A…

The convention will feature a series of speakers from the worlds of sports, politics, and religion, including the Vice President of the Evangelical Football League… All the vice presidential hopefuls that didn’t make the cut will also be speaking, as will the Trump family (family singalong to be confirmed).

The main thing to watch, as conventions are typically boring and pointless affairs, is whether there is any real traction to block Trump’s nomination. Although efforts with the rules committee have been a bust so far, any remaining effort should become apparent as the first votes begin to take place. If all the delegates are seated, and the rules are adopted, it will be less likely to see a challenge to Trump. But the actual nomination will take place on Tuesday, with the roll call. At that point (if all goes well), Trump will be legally wed to the Republican party, and then they go off together on a honeymoon.

As a casual observer of politics, I would expect at least some at-convention effort to challenge Trump’s nomination. There is enough risk in the candidate that to lack at least a showing of dissent among the delegates would be to embrace Trump, and if he burns out in November, the party would take a bigger hit for it. If some of them can at least point back and say, “see, toldyaso,” it gives those party members a leg up in the future. On the other hand, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nightmare comes true and Trump wins the election, those who opposed him will be harmed by their dissent, at least a bit.

Their possibility of success in blocking the nomination is low. The will of the people being a sacred phrase in America, they have to convince the delegations as a whole both that nominating Trump is going to be very bad and that there is someone else they can convincingly run. They’re also fighting a battle against both Trump’s delegates and the RNC, who has allied with Trump due to optics. Worse, if they blocked the nomination and run someone who gets beaten as badly as Trump might, they probably still take the hit for it. So, the expectation is that they will merely have a swing-and-a-miss attempt.

Other than that, the usual expectations of Trump remain. He will probably stick to the prompter for his speech, but some of the other speakers may go off the rails from time to time. And we will likely see some extra-conventional loud-mouthery from Trump all the same.

The other thing that comes out of the convention is finality. Although the unexpected could always happen, once Trump is formally nominated, we have to expect things will probably stay the same, ticket-wise. That means we’ll get to see if he can actually get elected or if he is defeated, running as disreputably as he has.

Other things to watch for:

  • A second golden elevator, with a wax dummy of Trump that attendees can ride down with to recreate his ride down to his announcement of running (wealthy donors also get a brief private meeting with said wax dummy)
  • The unveiling of a Pokémon GO-styled Pokey GOP app that lets you hunt down cartoons of witches, atheists, and other reviled figures, and then you can banish them by reciting Bible verses
  • A bizarre one-act play reinterpreting Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech, in which the President of Mexico tells Trump to tear down the border wall (which is constructed out of air conditioners and Oreos®) and then the Trump character moons him and farts “The Star Spangled Banner”
  • Confetti and balloons