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All Eyes on Cleveland

What to expect at the Republican National Convention, where Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg will be reporting live

Jesse Bernstein
July 15, 2016
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Donald Trump speaks at the Grand Park Events Centerin Westfield, Indiana, July 12, 2016. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Donald Trump speaks at the Grand Park Events Centerin Westfield, Indiana, July 12, 2016. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

It’s been quite a few months for the Republican Party and presumptive presidential candidate, Donald Trump, whose star continues to rise despite, well, a lot: Over the course of the last four-and-a-half months, Trump (as outlined by our Trump Watch column), has done his very best to alienate and offend (deep breath) black people, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, women, the disabled, and pretty much anyone who isn’t him.

And yet Trump, who officially named Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate Friday via Twitter (who needs a press conference?), comes into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland riding a wave of support, however waning, that seemed utterly laughable a year ago. (Clinton, too, appears to have reluctant support from party ranks.)

Still, the show must go on, and Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg will be at the RNC covering what is sure to be a rollicking, and hopefully safe, affair. Here’s a quick guide to some pressing questions concerning the Republican festivities.

Will Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s withdrawal from the campaign foment a mass exodus? With news of the rabbi’s decision to rescind his commitment to deliver the invocation at the RNC, will any other of “Trump Jews” follow suit? Probably not. Maybe attendees will.

What will the reaction be to the GOP platform on Israel, the furthest right (at least on paper) it’s been in years? For those who still thought Trump could corral some would-be Gary Johnson supporters, this will represent a serious test.

Will “Never Trump” mount any serious attack? The question on everyone’s mind. Politico reported that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has been quietly negotiating with the would-be protestors, but the jury’s still out.

How will newly-crowned VP-pick Mike Pence fare? Though Trump respectfully waited a whole 16 hours after the Nice attack to announce his pick, the spotlight is still firmly on the Indiana governor whose most significant act in office has been singing into law a bill that critics say enables businesses to deny goods and services to the LGBT community. Cool! Let’s see how he handles a national crowd.

What kind of reception will Trump get? There are plenty of GOP players who, though not fully in the Never Trump camp, have serious reservations about the Donald. Will he receive chilly applause? Wild reveries from his supporters? Walk-outs? It didn’t happen at AIPAC. Maybe the memo will be read now. Maybe Trump will bring a plane.

Will Cleveland remain calm? Headlines seem to think that 2016 is shaping up to be the most tumultuous convention year since Chicago, 1968. Seeing as this will only be the second largest party in Cleveland this summer, these predictions might be a little hysterical, but we’ll see.

Will Clint Eastwood speak to an empty chair?

The loss of NFL hearthrob Tim Tebow from a stacked speakers lineup hurts, no doubt. He could’ve gotten VP traction based on those traps alone. However, his absence can indeed be filled—all we need is an aging Hollywood star gesticulating wildly towards furniture. MAKE IT HAPPEN, REINCE.

To watch the RNC, every major network will have round-the-clock coverage on television, while ABC will stream the convention online. Party conventions don’t tend to be appointment viewing, but everything’s up for grabs with Donald Trump in the mix. Enjoy, and be sure to stay glued to The Scroll all week.

Jesse Bernstein is a former Intern at Tablet.

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