As cometh the month of July, so too does both of the major party conventions for the Presidential nominations (they're doing it a little earlier than usual because of the Rio Olympics starting at the end of the month).
The Republicans are going first starting July 18 through July 21, in the Great Lakes city of Cleveland OH. They should have scheduled prime-time speakers on each evening, with Tuesday night being the big delegate count to confirm the winner, Wednesday night the Vice-Presidential nominee's speech along with a major guest speaker, with Thursday night being the winning nominee giving the big speech to accept the party's nomination and send everybody home with a go-get-em mood.
That's about all we can say about it right now. I'm serious.
The GOP convention may be less than two weeks away, but there's still a ton of confusion and mayhem tied into it.
There's still buzz about the delegates trying to revolt against putting their votes in for Donald Trump (I really don't wanna link to that site, but when the arch-conservative websites are worried...), the guy who won the Primaries and yet is the most unliked, unwelcomed figure in the party's entire history to be getting the nom.
The number of corporate sponsors have dwindled to where the convention will not be as swank or well-funded a get-together as previous conventions have been.
The number of people willing to show up - and we're talking the party elites, the lobbyists, the deep-pocket funders - keeps dropping, as though nobody wants to be caught on film or camera being anywhere near the city of Cleveland. ...Well, okay, granted, that's normal for Cleveland but still this is supposed to be a major shindig where EVERYBODY who's supposed to be ANYBODY within the Republican ranks has to be seen.
Trump promised a full list of speakers some time last week, but then held off until this week, suggesting problems finalizing the invites. Rumor has it five of the main slots of speakers' appearances will get filled by Trump family, not exactly a good sign.
And then there's the party platform. This is a minor, almost routine part of the nominating convention where the elites get together and hammer out a set of issues and political stances that the Presidential candidate - and the the party as a whole - will campaign on for the General Election.
It's looking like the Republicans won't even make one. Per Ed Kilgore at New York:
For a political party known until quite recently for its virtually unanimous support for the dictates of conservative ideology, the GOP has got some shockingly large divisions on issues today, thanks to Donald Trump. His speech earlier this week on trade is an example: There is no way to identify a single inch of common ground between Trump's attacks on globalization as the source of all evil and the views of the Republican-leaning U.S. business community... Slightly less heated but still important are Trump-GOP differences over social security and Medicare... Immigration, of course, has created its own well-known intra-party fault lines. And there's trouble all over the national-security landscape...
...All these divisions make the drafting and adoption of a party platform — normally a chore so routine and boring you don't even hear about it beyond marginal arguments over the precise language of planks on abortion or guns — perilous...
How to avoid trouble? Well, two distinguished conservatives (one the president of Hillsdale College, the other a member of the actual platform committee) writing at the Washington Examiner have an idea: Make the platform so abstract and brief that none of the divisions even appear...
Essentially, make the platform so vague that people can see what they want to see in it - even if there's no there there - and come away satisfied.
The platform will likely claim to uphold the Declaration and the Constitution and mom and apple pie, throw in a call for less federal control and more states rights without anything more specific, and just leave it at that.
THAT still runs the risk of Trump seeing it as an opportunity to scrawl his own design on that blank slate - screeching all about his latest Twitter war -
which will come across to an audience eager for any details as the party's real platform.
The Republican party, basically, is setting themselves up to fail in whole new ways.
Granted, the RNC and the convention organizers are bound to force Trump to stick to some kind of scripted speech, something vetted and spellchecked to appeal to the masses without alienating the base, but on the biggest stage yet there's every likelihood Trump's gonna ad-lib in some way. There's still the possibility the scripted speech isn't going to be the sop to the general electorate the Republican Establishment hopes it will be, because those guys really are tone-deaf.
So, here comes the oncoming train wreck.
What could possibly go wrong...?
Added: Oh, and I totally forgot this part, but they still don't know who the Veep nominee is. Trump is "vetting" three
Revision to the Addendum with the Update: There is a final list of guest speakers available now, and it's actually quite respectable with known party figures like Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan. Thing is, I think those guys are OBLIGATED to show up. Some of the more interesting highlights are that four spots are taken by Trump's kids - usually just one or two speak - and there's not a lot of up-and-comer figures on the list (likely that's going to be Oklahoma governor Fallin, who's building up a intraparty fanbase).
What's interesting is the party's schedule: They are planning even prime-time around set themes, and the themes are BENGHAZI, Bill Clinton's sex scandals, and Jaywalking.
So, basically, they're taking the "Eastwood Rants At Empty Chair" spectacle and multiplying it by INFINITY.
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG...?