Republicans and the reporters who buzz around them will descend on Cleveland July 18 for the GOP National Convention, a four-day event that will culminate in the party’s official nomination of businessman Donald Trump for president.
The Republican primary was a rollercoaster ride for the ages. Questions of a so-called contested convention haunted the process until early May, after Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pulled the plug on their respective campaigns and cleared the path for Trump. Republicans who remained decisively anti-Trump — popularized in the #NeverTrump Twitter movement — made a failed attempt at stopping the businessman from collecting the nomination in the final days before the convention. They had hoped to unbind delegates, allowing convention delegates to vote for whichever candidate they wanted and potentially forcing multiple rounds of voting at the meeting.
But with that drama out of the way, and Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for vice president made official on Friday, convention-goers can focus on the speeches, balloon-dropping and pomp and circumstance that often define the event. Graphiq politics site InsideGov takes a look at the convention and highlights the important facts and figures making waves at this year’s GOP meeting.
Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland’s downtown Quicken Loans Arena has undergone a major transition in the few weeks since the NBA Finals wrapped up, switching from a sports venue to a political hub.
The arena has been configured to hold about 21,000 during the convention, which is a bit more than its regular capacity. The space will include floor seats for the 2,473 delegates, not to mention two 500-ton air-conditioning units and 100,000 balloons, according to local news reports.
Security in Cleveland
While the turmoil within the GOP has largely subsided, law enforcement officials are gearing up for a raucous few days outside of the event. Many Republicans anticipate violence at the convention, while the head of Homeland Security, Secretary Jeh Johnson, said he is “concerned about the prospect of demonstrations getting out of hand.”
According to NBC News, 5,000 police officers will be on hand when the convention kicks off, including 300 officers on bikes who will focus on diffusing tension between groups. The Cleveland police chief also said he would prefer people not bring firearms to the convention, although he noted the state is an open carry state, meaning people are allowed to carry unconcealed, loaded firearms. NBC reported no guns will be allowed inside the convention or in the area immediately outside it, but they will be permissible in the larger surrounding space.
GOPers Not Attending
Trump has been a polarizing figure in the presidential race since his controversial announcement speech. But some Republicans have taken that to the next level, saying they will not attend this year’s convention.
As the visualization shows, 22 GOPers — including the last two Republican presidents and the last two Republican presidential candidates — have said they will not attend the convention.
Joni Ernst: Prime-Time Speaker
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst stormed onto the national stage during the 2014 midterm elections, when her team released a memorable campaign ad called “Squeal” that compared cutting government spending to hog castration. She quickly became a GOP darling, delivering her party’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech in 2015.
A one-time rumored VP candidate for the Trump ticket, Ernst ended up snagging a prime-time speaking slot (details still TBD) at the 2016 convention. This is a big get for any politician — considering how many people tune in for these nationally televised events — but the audience could be even larger this year, considering how much media attention Trump has received. For context, according to data from Nielsen, more than 30 million people tuned in for the final night of the convention in 2012, and almost 39 million people watched the final night of 2008.
A Socially Conservative Platform
In the week leading up to the convention, Republicans met in Cleveland to draft the party’s platform. It reflected very conservative stances, especially on social issues like abortion and rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The New York Times reported that the platform calls for overturning the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2015; it also discusses appointing judges to the Court “who respect traditional family values.” The platform also weighs in on so-called bathroom bills, which restrict which public restrooms transgender people are allowed to use. The Times also reported that the platform “stated ‘natural marriage’ between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged.”
In the end, the GOP platform is thoroughly conservative, a marked difference from Trump. The businessman tends to notch a more moderate ideology score overall, as the visualization below shows.
However, Trump has proven to be the master of changing his mind this election season, going back-and-forth on topics like abortion and the bathroom bills. How much this platform will impact his views — or how he talks on the campaign trail — remains to be seen.
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