On top of the controversies and atrocities from the past month, there are two more political circuses on the horizon: the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. All of the state primaries and caucuses have voted on their respective delegates to represent their interests in Cleveland (for Republicans) and Philadelphia (for Democrats.)
For all intents and purposes, it seems like the nominees have already been chosen–and are the least likable candidates in American political history. So why do we put ourselves through the trouble of a convention? Is it just for propriety’s sake, or is it something more?
Aside from the patriotic pageantry and formality of selecting presidential and vice presidential candidates, national conventions actually tell a great deal about how the remainder of the election cycle will progress. Lee Edwards at National Review gives us three things to look for: the selection of the vice presidential candidate, the content of the party’s platform, and the acceptance speech by the nominee. From these three things, we can get a sense of the targeted base of voting blocs and the intended campaign themes.
The Democratic convention, barring any surprise indictments, should proceed according to the traditional formula. There will be a series of speeches from the usual suspects, leading up to the nomination of Hillary Clinton and whomever she chooses as a running mate.
The Republican convention is likely to be a different spectacle. Presumptive nominee Donald Trump is already promising to shake things up with his choice of unconventional convention speakers. The lineup is rumored to feature sports figures such as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, UFC President Dana White, and NASCAR CEO Brian France. Campaign surrogate Ben Carson and former candidate Senator Ted Cruz are also likely to have slots.
Meanwhile, some major members of the party, including 2012 candidate Mitt Romney, 2008 candidate John McCain, and Ohio governor John Kasich have already declared that they will not be attending. A spokesman for the notorious “Never Trump” Senator Ben Sasse told The Hill that the Nebraska senator “will not be attending the convention and will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners.”