Top 5 things to look for at the Republican National Convention this year

The Republican National Convention will be rolling through Cleveland, Ohio on July 18 - 21, bringing with it the culmination of one the most eccentric races the Grand Old Party has ever seen.

Not many could have predicted what was coming down the pike — an uncontested convention led by celebrity and television personality Donald Trump. Now that the unexpected has become expected, there are five big things every vote — Republican, Democrat or Independent — should look out for.

5. Protests

The RNC will essentially be a large-scale Trump rally, and seldom does a Trump rally pass without some form of protest.

The newly formed supergroup Prophets of Rage — made up of members from Rage Against The Machine, B-Real of Cypress Hill and Chuck D of Public Enemy — announced they will stage a show near the convention site on July 19 as part of their "Make America Rage Again" tour

The Cleveland Police Department announced on its Facebook page that roughly one-third of its officers will be assigned to the RNC.

4. A last-ditch challenger

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) stayed in the race longer than anyone would have expected in hopes for a contested convention.

Although Trump is the GOP's presumptive nominee, a contested convention could still take place, however unlikely it may seem. 

Free The Delegates, a grassroots organization of delegates seeking the ability to vote according to their own will, is seeking a convention rule change so as to bring in a challenger for Trump. 

Those opposed to Trump need 28 votes in order to produce a minority report and bring in a candidate of their own, NBC News reported. They currently have 16 votes. 

Whether or not this actually comes to pass is another question altogether, but its possibility makes the convention more high-stakes than in a typical election year. 

3. Campaign platitudes and subsequent endorsements

Trump has not exactly been known for his specificity on the campaign trail. Promises to "Make America great again" and "build a wall" are often unaccompanied by details other than promising Mexico will foot the bill.

The Platform Committee met on Monday, July 11 to update the party's platform — a motion that included an endorsement of Trump's border wall and a plan to prevent women in the military from combat among other things.

Although Trump does not disclose policy details at speaking engagements, his website does have a list of steps needed for his policy changes if elected to the presidency. 

2. A call to Bernie Sanders supporters

Bernie Sanders officially endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, July 12, leaving his supporters with the option to now vote for Clinton or Trump. 

On Twitter, Trump is already calling upon former Sanders supporters for votes — a plea which will probably go unheard. 

If Sanders supporters were to take his endorsement at face value, voting for Clinton — not Trump — would be their next logical step.

1. Trump's running mate

Once Trump started gaining momentum — which is to say, almost since he declared his candidacy — no one has been able to pin him or any of his staffers down on who his pick for Vice President will be.

Although it was not originally expected until the convention, Trump's campaign manager announced Wednesday, July 13 that the pick will come Friday in New York.

With the announcement coming days before the convention, one can expect the VP-to-be to make his or her presence known throughout the convention with speeches and campaign appearances.

No matter what happens, this year's RNC is bound to be unlike any other — in keeping with what has become the status quo for this year's election. 


Reach the reporter at jwbowlin@asu.edu or follow @mrjoshuabowling on Twitter.

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