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The Republican Party Nominates Trump

The party’s establishment mounted the stage in Cleveland to line up behind their new leader.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

CLEVELAND—The Republican establishment didn’t get its first choice of a candidate for president—or its second, or its third. What it got was Donald Trump, and on the night that the Republican National Convention formally made the entertainer its nominee, it was the establishment’s turn to go on stage and make the best of the situation.

The lineup was heavy with figures who represent that group, if it even still exists: Speaker Paul Ryan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Governor Chris Christie, a renegade member of the club who was among the first big-name Republicans to back Trump. The remaining hesitations about Trump were barely hidden. But like all true party men, they’re good soldiers, and they knew their duty Tuesday. Luckily for the reluctant backers, they shared one strong motivating force: a fierce dislike for Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton will say anything, do anything, and be anything to be elected president, and we cannot allow that,” McConnell said, sounding about as fired up as he ever does, which is to say not very. Christie, slipping back into his old role as a U.S. attorney, offered a prosecutorial discourse, inviting conventioneers to deem Clinton either guilty or not guilty of a long slate of offenses. For the most part, the audience eschewed both options in favor of a third: “Lock her up!” they chanted, in perhaps the most energetic moment of the evening.

With Hillary’s critics out in force, Trump was largely absent. Despite being formally named the nominee in the afternoon, he appeared only via video (he had flown back to New York, skipping out on a meeting with donors). He barely figured in many of the congressional leaders’ speeches, either. Ryan mentioned him just twice, each time in connection with vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, his former House colleague. McCarthy did the same, but only managed one mention of the nominee.

McConnell offered a fantasy account of the last four years, citing a long slate of almost-legislation—bills passed by the Senate but vetoed by the president, like Obamacare repeal or defunding Planned Parenthood—that he said a President Trump would sign into law. Whatever hesitations Republicans might have about Trump, they seem assured of his ability to put his name on a bill.

Ryan started out a little lethargic, and his laugh lines (“progressives deliver everything except progress”) fell flat in the hall. Acknowledging the acrimonious primary, he veered close to passive-aggression. “Democracy is a series of choices. We Republicans have made ours,” he said. “Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have—and you know what I call those? Signs of life.”

But by the time he got to the end of the speech, the speaker got wound up, and he delivered the clearest call to party unity of the convention.

“What do you say we unite this party, at this crucial moment when unity is everything?” he said, to thunderous applause. “Let’s take the fight to our opponents with better ideas—let’s get on the offensive and let’s stay there. Let’s compete in every part of America, and turn out at the polls like every last vote matters, because it will.”

Paul and McConnell each endorsed Trump this spring, but their backing has been tepid—the sort of support given by obligation, and offered alongside disavowals of Trump’s policy positions and concerns that he’s hurting the party. Ryan even labeled a Trump comment “racist.”

On the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena, there was no denying those tensions. For Gerard Randall, a delegate from Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, they made the unity plea that much more powerful. “It was important that he state it, because so many have been thinking that he waffled on supporting the ticket,” Randall said. “He left no doubt that he supports it, and that all Republicans should support it.”

Over in the Kentucky delegation, delegates seemed to be talking themselves into embracing the ticket, too. “The people have spoken. Who am I to disagree?” said Nathan Haney. Unsurprisingly for a guy wearing a “Team Mitch” button, Haney was a big fan of the leader’s speech. As for McConnell’s support for Trump? “He understands the rules. When the people elected someone, they are the nominee. Whether you supported them, that’s who the voters selected. And we are all in.”

The one man who seemed to have no reservations about Trump all along was Christie. The New Jersey governor’s speech was a noteworthy departure from his speech at the 2012 RNC, in which he barely mentioned nominee Mitt Romney, alienating many in his party. This time, he spoke warmly about Trump, apparently setting aside any disappointment or fury he might have felt at being passed over the running-mate slot. (Perhaps his gleeful broadside against Clinton was an audition for the attorney general’s job instead.)

You didn’t have to look far for reminders of the struggle many Republicans face in achieving that elusive unity. In a back corner of the hall, the Washington, D.C., delegation was still fuming over maneuvers earlier in the evening. Rather than deliver the district’s delegates to Marco Rubio and John Kasich, the party had awarded them to Trump. It was one final indignity for Republicans who opposed Trump, and D.C. Republicans are among the most establishment members of the party. Even a couple hours later, Dana Hudson was still seething.

“Party bosses are colluding with Trump to subvert democracy,” she said. “The Republican Party is the party of liberty and freedom. If they don’t listen to us, why are we here?”

Hudson, a lobbyist, said she and other Trump opponents had been threatened and intimidated. She was the subject of rumors linking her romantically to Marco Rubio, which she says were false. And after those threats, she had no interest in Ryan’s call for coming together.

“I have been waiting for our presumptive nominee to unify the party and I will not vote for anyone who is not unifying the party,” she said. “That opportunity was lost today. That opportunity was lost yesterday.”

Amid the anger and ambivalence, there were two speakers who were ready to speak about the nominee without hesitations, though: Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

David A. Graham

Updates

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Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

Earth, Wind, & Fire isn’t very happy about the convention using covers of their music. The RNC cover band just performed “Shining Star” and before that “September,” two of the group’s greatest hits. The legendary funk, soul, and R&B band joins a growing list of artists who would rather not have their music associated with Donald Trump.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Ben Carson started out his convention speech with a warning to any would-be Hillary Clinton apologists lurking within his own party.

“We must also be wary of the narrative that’s being advanced by some in our own party,” he warned. “The notion that a Hillary Clinton administration wouldn’t be that bad, the effects would only temporary. That it would only last for four, and at most, eight years.” He added ominously: “They’re not using their God-given brain to think about what they’re saying, because it won’t be four or eight years. She will be appointing people who will have an effect on us for generations, and America may never recover.”

In Carson’s telling, the election is a fight to save America from a dystopian, and potentially God-less future. He even said leftist Saul Alinsky (2016’s Bill Ayers!)—a disciple of Lucifer!—was Clinton’s philosophical hero. “The secular progressive agenda is antithetical to the principles of the founding of this nation. If we continue to allow them to take God out of our lives, God will remove himself from us. We will not be blessed, and our nation will go down the tubes,” Carson said, adding: “We don’t want that to happen.”

Donald Trump, however, Carson assured the crowd, “understands this very well. He understands that the blessings of this nation come with the responsibility to ensure that they are available to all, not just the privileged few.” He concluded with a call to action. “Now is the time for us to rise up and take America back!”

When it was West Virgina’s turn in the delegate roll call earlier this evening, one representative held up a coal miner’s helmet, the symbol of the state’s signature industry and the livelihood for many of its residents. Federal regulations are killing that way of life, the man said, putting coal companies out of business and ending a once-sure path to the middle class.

The truth is more complicated. The coal industry has lost more to the fickle energy market than it has to the cost of regulation. But whatever the cause, there’s no hiding the hurt in West Virginia. That was the story shared by Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who devoted the first third of her long speech to the plight of her constituents, whose sense of being left behind is one of the most powerful forces driving the Trump campaign.

“The greatest obstacle for West Virginia families—and families all across America over the past eight years—has been a president that places left-wing priorities and campaign promises over their livelihoods,” she said. “I weep for the fabric of my state. These men and women take pride in their highly skilled and good-paying jobs that provide for their families and support their communities.”

In Capito’s view, America’s leaders don't empathize with working-class voters, and nor do they understand working-class concerns. A miner, a school-bus driver, a nurse—these are the kind of people she said will be undone by any move away from coal, a stated goal of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And the senator didn’t shy away from highlighting the class differences between Hillary Clinton and a Mountaineer State miner, noting that Clinton likely earns enough from a single paid speech to buy a home or two in West Virginia.

“Hillary Clinton understands coal miners and blue-collar workers about as well as she understands secure email,” Capito said. “A day in the life of a coal miner and a day in the life of Hillary Clinton could not be more different. For over 25 years, she’s thrived in a world where the rules bend to her.”

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In his convention remarks, Donald Trump Jr. didn’t so much personalize his dad as mythologize him, describing Trump Sr. as a big-hearted, big-dreaming businessman willing to take risks on those he believes in and itching to prove his detractors wrong.

“For my father, ‘impossible’ is just the starting point. That’s how he approaches business projects, that’s how he approaches life—whether it’s teaching his granddaughter how to swing a golf club or tackling the toughest negotiations, he’s always fully committed,” Trump Jr. said. “That’s why the person who had never run for office before stood on the stage 11 months ago in this very arena with 16 professional politicians, and this week, that same man will stand before you as our party’s nominee for the president of the United States of America.”

Trump Jr. suggested Trump will run the country the same way he has run his businesses, in part with a focus on the little guy. In the speech—which touched, too, on Trump’s immigration, national-security, and economic policies—Jr. emphasized his dad’s relationships with regular Joes in the Trump organization. It seemed to imply he’d stay connected with average voters even if he gets to the White House. “His true gift as a leader is he sees the potential of people they don’t see in themselves,” the Trump son said.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Donald Trump Jr.: “He spent his career with regular Americans.” Like the producers of The Apprentice, the contestants of Celebrity Apprentice, the clients of his luxury golf courses, and the foreign labor that produces his clothing line.

Mark J. Terrill / AP

Chris Christie wasn’t chosen as Donald Trump’s vice president. But it seems he’s only just settling into his role as a Trump-campaign attack dog.

In one of the lengthier speeches of the evening so far, the New Jersey governor suggested he’d harness his experience as a former federal prosecutor to present the case against Hillary Clinton—so that “a jury of her peers, both in this hall and in your living rooms around our nation” could judge the former secretary of state.

Over the next few minutes, Christie accused Clinton of malpractice in all corners of the globe, from her involvement in the Iran nuclear deal, to her relationship with Russia, to her support for softening relations with Cuba, to her infamous email practices at home.

“As to Hillary Clinton, the charge of putting herself ahead of America, guilty or not guilty? ... Hillary Clinton, lying to the American people about her selfish, awful judgment in making our secrets vulnerable, what’s your verdict? Guilty or not guilty?” Christie asked. “Time after time, the facts, and just the facts, lead you to the same verdict both around the world and here at home.”

Christie acknowledged that the convention audience was sympathetic to his arguments. (Their cries of “Lock her up!” and “Guilty!” were an obvious clue.) So he directed his pleas to viewers watching from home, perhaps hoping they’d burst into similar yells. “You are the ones who will decide this election. We have an alternative,” Christie said, beginning to wrap up his remarks. He characterized Trump as a man unafraid, empathetic, and—in a strange non sequitur—“a man who judges people based on their performance,” not their race, background, or gender. “I implore you: We do not need to settle for less in this election,” Christie said. “We cannot reward incompetence and deceit. We need to demand more than what Hillary Clinton offers for America.”

The genius of America’s republican democracy lies its legitimization of dissent. In the United States, citizens can disagree about religious truth, about basic principle, about partisan allegiance—settling their differences at the ballot box, or leaving them unresolved, while retaining mutual respect and protecting the rights of minorities.

It’s a principle that’s more fragile than it seems, an artifact of a political culture built up over centuries. It made America great—different than the lands of Europe, where religious disputes sparked bloody wars, and political dissent could be fatal. Now, that culture is being swiftly eroded.

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took the stage on Tuesday night, he quickly inspired another “Lock her up” chant. “Alright, we’re getting there,” Christie joked. “Give me a few more minutes, and we’ll get there.”

He asked the crowd to sit as a jury, presenting the facts for indictment. He ticked off the counts against her, goading the crowd into roaring, “Guilty!” after every charge.

Here in Cleveland, I’ve noticed a popular urge to turn partisan rancor into something darker. The most popular T-shirt, one vendor told me, reads, “Hillary Clinton for Prison.” Crowds in the convention hall have made, “Lock her up!” into the gathering’s signature chant. Usually, at the end of a presidential election, one candidate heads to the White House and the other goes home. But the Republican delegates don’t merely want to defeat Clinton; they want to put her in prison. Win or lose, it’s a battle-cry likely to damage American democracy.

The speakers tonight make Hillary Clinton sound pretty bad. I wonder what the crowd must think of folks who funded her, invited her to their wedding.

If you believe a word that Chris Christie says tonight I have a bridge to sell you––its in New Jersey, and the commuter traffic has been shut down by a corrupt man over a petty rivalry with another politician.

The crowd is chanting, “Lock her up!” as it did repeatedly last night, but unlike General Mike Flynn, Chris Christie doesn’t repeat the line from the podium—yet.

Department of Spin:

“Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have—and you know what I call those? Signs of life.”

That’s what Paul Ryan said a few minutes ago, explaining this unusual campaign season. Characterizing an open revolt on the floor of the convention and several rounds of strong condemnation of Trump’s bigotry “signs of life” within the party has to go down as one of the greatest euphemisms ever.

Paul Ryan gave an aspirational and learned speech, raising his voice only at the end. Chris Christie will surely be loud from the beginning, serving up plenty of red meat and raw energy as only the bombastic governor can. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy seemed to be the bridge between the two, raising the volume and making personal, empathetic appeals to the Republican electorate.

“We have listened, and you have told us, ‘Enough’—enough of feeling like your government is ignoring you,” he said.

McCarthy, of course, ceded the speakership to Ryan last year upon John Boehner’s retirement, saying he knew he didn’t have enough votes from the party’s conservative wing to win. (Of course, there was also that embarrassing flub on national television where he intimated that the House committee investigating Benghazi had served as a political weapon against Clinton. Whoops!) It’s interesting to see the rhetorical contrasts between the two would-be speakers tonight. Where Ryan supplied the soaring language, it appears McCathy’s role tonight was to play the willing ear, to deliver the Republican equivalent of Bill Clinton’s famous “I feel your pain” line.

“To all those left behind by economic forces out of your control, we hear you,” he said. “To those attacked for your beliefs, we hear you. To a nation that sees chaos spreading across America and across the globe, we hear you. And for our men and women in uniform...”

Well, you guessed it. “We hear you,” he finished.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

It’s a remarkable moment: House Speaker Paul Ryan standing on the stage at the Republican National Convention embracing the party’s nominee, Donald Trump. Ryan has kept his distance from Trump, but on Tuesday night, he touted him as a chance at at a “better way.”

To start though, Ryan recalled the last time he was on the national convention stage as Mitt Romney’s running mate. “You know, standing up here again, it all has a familiar feel. Students of trivia will recall that, last time around, I was your nominee for vice president,” he said to great applause. “It was a great honor, even if things didn’t work out quite according to plan.”

Much has changed since then. As Ryan notes, referring to his memorable recruitment for the speakership, he found “other things to keep me busy.” Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking elected Republican, has been at odds with Trump in the past. Ryan acknowledged a year “filled with so many surprises.” “Democracy is a series of choices. We Republicans have made ours,” he said, adding: “Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have—and you know what I call those? Signs of life. Signs of a party that’s not just going through the motions. Not just mouthing new words for the same old stuff.”

The theme of the night, Make America Work Again, was not forgotten. Ryan has made poverty a top issue on his agenda, and he reiterated that commitment Tuesday night. “Progressives like our president talk forever about poverty in America. And if high-sounding talk did any good, we’d have overcome these deep problems long ago,” he said.

Ryan, who only mentioned Trump’s name twice in his speech, also spoke of a strong governing Republican majority—not of a strong Trump administration. Ending on a note of unity, however, he exclaimed to roaring applause: “What do you say that we unify this party at this crucial moment when unity is everything … Fellow Republicans, what we have begun here, let’s see this thing through … Let’s win this thing … Let’s show America our best and nothing less.”

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Mitch McConnell rarely betrays emotion, but he must be feeling uncomfortable right now. Like many high-profile Republicans, McConnell has tried to walk a fine line between reprimanding Trump and not completely disavowing him. He offered a tepid endorsement when it became clear that the billionaire would be the presumptive nominee, but he has also been repeatedly critical of Trump, at one point saying: “It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about the issues.”

At the convention, McConnell made the case that Trump is the best-case scenario for Republican voters, but he still seemed more comfortable attacking Hillary Clinton than praising Trump. “I am here to tell you, Hillary Clinton will say anything, do anything, and be anything to get elected president,” McConnell said, adding: “We cannot allow it.” Accusations quickly followed. “She lied about her emails. She lied about her server. She lied about Benghazi. She even lied about sniper fire … At a moment when so many feel betrayed by their government, why in the world would Democrats put forward such a candidate?”

McConnell ticked off a list of policy priorities from a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to legislation to defund Planned Parenthood that he said Trump would sign into law. When Antonin Scalia passed away, McConnell said, he “made another pledge that Obama would not fill that seat. That honor will go to Donald Trump next year.”

McConnell faces pressure to enthusiastically support Trump now that he has been crowned the nominee. At the same time, he has to strategize the best way to keep the Senate in Republican hands. If McConnell maintains some distance from Trump, that could make it easier for vulnerable Republican senators to do the same. On the other hand, if the majority leader focuses his attacks on Clinton, he may open himself up to charges of insincerity. Not long ago, McConnell called Clinton an “intelligent, capable person, no question about it” when asked by a reporter what it was like working with her in the senate.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson tried to avoid this moment. He’s working to keep his seat this November, battling it out in an “increasingly competitive” race against Russ Feingold, the Democratic former senator who Johnson beat in the 2010 midterms. Feingold has a lead on Johnson in recent polls and in fundraising hauls, and Johnson previously said he’d skip the convention in favor of campaigning at home.

But as Politico reported this week, Johnson changed his mind after RNC Chairman Reince Preibus lobbied him personally. Based on his remarks tonight, it seems Johnson made the calculation that, if he was going to speak at the convention in the first place, he might as well go all in.

Right away, he attacked Hillary Clinton for how she responded to the Benghazi attacks—and gave himself a plug in the process. “‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ I am the guy that got under her skin and provoked that infamous response from Hillary Clinton by asking a pretty simple question: “Why didn't you just pick up the phone and call the survivors?” Johnson painted a picture of Clinton as a dishonest politician, one who lied to Americans about Benghazi and won’t acknowledge the source of America’s national-security woes—Islamic terrorists.

“When will America actually confront this terrible reality? We certainly won’t if Democrats win in November,” said Johnson, who is also chair of the Homeland Security Committee, before pivoting to his own ageda. He name-checked his opponent, knocked his Senate record on public-safety issues, and then connected Feingold to Clinton. “Now he’s asking Wisconsinites to give him a fourth term—just as Hillary Clinton is asking America to give her Obama’s third term,” Johnson said. “The world is simply too dangerous to elect either of them.”

John Locher / AP

Donald Trump’s appearance tonight was an unusual move. Most candidates stay relatively hidden until Thursday night; they bask in the plaudits of others and let the stage get set for them. Then, once appropriately built up, they then bestow their presence on the crowd of supporters—who go wild. You would think that if anyone understood the value of making a big entrance, it would be Trump. Perhaps he does understand, but he just can’t help himself. He has to get his two minutes of screen time. Last night, he introduced Melania Trump, and it was such a nothing burger: Hello, I love my wife. She’s the best. Here she is. Now Trump chimes in via satellite, and it’s just the usual Trump boilerplate. He has nothing particular to say, but man does he have to say it.

“Today, has been a very, very special day,” Donald Trump says in a broadcast beamed into the convention. With an American flag in the background, Trump says that “together, we have achieved historic results,” reminding the crowd that “this is a movement, but we have to go all the way.” Trump concludes by saying he “looks forward to sharing my thoughts with you on Thursday night on how we build a  brighter and more hopeful future for all Americans.” He adds that he will win the state of Ohio, and, not to be forgotten, the White House, too.

Senator Ron Johnson’s remarks on Hillary Clinton follow a trend tonight: Many of the night’s speeches thus far have blasted the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Earlier in the night, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson denounced Clinton’s experience, saying that her “poor decisions have produced bad results.” Lieutenant Governor Leslie Rutledge followed, beginning by mocking Clinton’s accent and noting that her drawl “is what a real Arkansas woman sounds like.” She later added: “Hillary is a lawyer, but she acts like the law doesn’t apply to her. Absolutely no good could have come from merging her public service with her private interests … much less her private server.”

In short, the theme of the night is “Make America Work Again,” but that sure wouldn’t be clear by the speeches kicking off the night.

It may not come through on TV, but there’s very little energy or buzz inside Quicken Loans Arena right now. Delegates are only beginning to pay attention to the speeches, and many are milling about or chatting with each other. One reason might be that the last few speakers were supposed to speak a bit earlier in the evening, in the initial time slots before the headliners take the stage. But the lengthy roll-call vote pushed everything back, and they are now speaking in prime time. We’ll see if the energy picks up as the night goes on.

Michael Mukasey’s speech was pretty dry, and he didn’t exactly electrify the crowd, but he’s an interesting choice to speak at a political convention. For one thing, he notably opposed Donald Trump in National Review’s “Conservatives Against Trump.” A former federal judge, he became attorney general at the end of the George W. Bush administration, in part because he was seen as nonpartisan compared with Alberto Gonzalez, who had resigned under pressure amid the scandal over the politicized dismissal of U.S. attorneys. One Democrat who had recommended him to Bush: Senator Charles Schumer, who is a big Clinton backer and next in line to be majority leader.

The convention has formally nominated Indiana Governor Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s running mate. “Mike likes to say that Indiana is a state that works,” his lieutenant governor, Eric Holcomb, said in nominating remarks. “Tonight, America is calling on him to expand that success to make America work again.”

After Holcomb’s brief speech, Senator Dan Coats of Indiana moved for the delegates to nominate Pence by acclamation, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a voice vote. The delegates’ “ayes” rang out. Thanks to what McConnell characterized as “overwhelming support,” Pence became the official vice-presidential nominee.

Meanwhile, outside the Quicken Loans Arena today…

John Minchillo / AP
Alex Brandon / AP
John Minchillo / AP
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Well, there it is. Paul Ryan just banged the gavel and declared Donald Trump the GOP presidential nominee making it official. “The chair announces that Donald J. Trump, having received a majority of these votes, entitled to be cast at the convention, has been selected as the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States.” The crowd cheers.

A few moments earlier, the Alaska delegation had protested that its votes had been miscounted, but the matter was resolved fairly quickly. In some cases, if a candidate drops out, “the bound vote gets reallocated to the only candidate left that’s running,” RNC Chair Reince Priebus explained, invoking the all-powerful rules. What that means, Priebus continued, is that “he is correct that that is how Alaska originally voted. However, since there was only one candidate that was left running, the bound vote gets shifted … and that’s why the secretary read it that way. That’s how the rules are interpreted.” The explanation was technical, it was complicated, and it paved the way for the formal crowning of the nominee.

Paul A. Hebert / Invision / AP

The song playing during the Alaska recount is, of course, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” by KC and the Sunshine Band. It was released in 1976 and was a No. 1 hit on the charts for a time.

Aah, everybody, get on the floor
Let's dance
Don't fight the feeling
Give yourself a chance


Shake shake shake, shake shake shake
Shake your booty, shake your booty

Perhaps it’s too soon after all to say if anti-Trump Republicans have fallen in line at the convention. The Alaska delegation is now asking Paul Ryan for a recount.

In a tense moment, a representative from the state stepped to the microphone and made the following accusation: “We were never told that you were going to miscount our votes tonight.” Ryan responded, asking: “Is the gentleman requesting a poll of the delegation of Alaska,” and got an answer in the affirmative. “Yes, I’m requesting a poll of the delegation of Alaska, and that those votes be accurately recorded in this convention.” Ryan responded again: “A delegation has taken exception to the correctness of the vote for the delegation for Alaska. Accordingly, the convention staff will report to the delegation to supervise the poll.” It’s hard to say what this will amount to. At the very least, though, it seems likely to make Ryan and RNC Chair Reince Priebus squirm a bit.

The big question, from Paul Ryan: “Does any state wish to cast its vote or to change its vote?” It’s like a wedding: “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan takes the stage, with a simple, “Hey guys.”

He’s now at the podium, but he doesn’t have anything yet to say. It appears convention officials are still doing the math on the vote counts, and so he’s holding off on speaking. The crowd decides to help him out as he stands mostly silent: “U.S.A.! U.S.A!” they begin to chant.

Donald Trump will address the delegates who made him the Republican presidential nominee at 9 p.m. He will deliver remarks via live feed, according to CNN. Two big speeches tonight also include his children, Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr. Will they soften his persona and give insight to Donald Trump as a father, or not?

Now that Donald Trump is officially the nominee, he appears to have crushed a revolt within the ranks of the Republican Party, or at least any meaningful opposition. Even so, Never Trump Republicans didn’t seem to put up much of a fight on Tuesday. Utah became a hotbed of anti-Trump resistance during the primary season. Yet when it was time for the Utah delegation to report its vote tally, an envoy from the state pointedly made a pledge of loyalty and a prediction: “In November, Donald J. Trump will get the highest percentage vote from the state of Utah. We are always Republican, now, today, and forever.” The subtext was clear: The fight is over, and it’s time to fall back in line.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be hard feelings and potentially lasting repercussions. A BuzzFeed article aptly titled, “Utah Is at the RNC, but in the Back and Heartsick Over Trump” takes a look at the state’s feelings toward the billionaire businessman:

Though Utah has historically been one of the most reliably Republican states in the U.S., it has this year found itself at the center of a movement to resist the presumptive Republican nominee. Whether Utah ever fully embraces Trump remains to be seen. There is a cultural chasm between Trump and Utah’s Mormon voters, and many in the state find his positions on immigration and Islam in particular distasteful. During this week’s Republican presidential convention in Cleveland, the gulf between Utah and Trump seems only to have widened.

The RNC has again “grabbed” votes from a delegation—this time from Utah. After the delegation announced that its 40 votes would go to the winner of its primary, Ted Cruz, the chair after a brief delay gave them all to Trump.

The roll call vote is still happening. But there aren't too many states left to go. As I write this, Trump has about 1600 and his former competitors have about 700. There are only about 150 to be announced.

Don Trump is sporting a serious purple tie for the occasion with a deep textured pattern. And as is classic Trump fashion, he went with the full Windsor knot and deep dimple.

Requisite downer note about New York: According to the latest polls, Clinton leads Trump 12 points. Betting markets give the former secretary of state a 90 percent chance of winning. It will be exceedingly hard to “put New York into play,” as Trump’s son promised.

A yuuuuge graphic reading “OVER THE TOP” has appeared on the Jumbotron.

As Trump becomes the official Republican nominee, an instrumental “New York, New York” is played in the arena—that Frank Sinatra classic and staple of New Year’s Eve celebrations.

And the moment everyone (or at least pro-Trump Republicans) have been waiting for. With Trump children standing in the background, New York state has reported its delegates.  Donald J. Trump Jr. was announced and stepped to the microphone. “We are going to put New York into play this time around,” he declared. “It’s not a campaign anymore, it’s a movement. Speaking to real Americans, giving them a voice again. It is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight,” he yelled out. “Congratulations Dad, we love you.”

Some scattered boos were heard in the hall as Ohio cast its 66 votes for its governor, John Kasich.

A few states are taking the opportunity during tonight’s roll call vote to talk up just how deep red Republican they really are.

At one point, an Idaho representative proudly declared: “Idaho is the most Republican state in the nation.” There was even a GOP joke: “We are so Republican that when we say the Pledge of Allegiance, it’s to the Republicans for which it stands.” From there, a run-down of the state’s conservative credentials: “Our entire congressional delegation is Republican. All of our statewide constitutional officers are Republican, and our legislature is 80 percent Republican. We are indeed a red state.”

When Arkansas reported its delegates totals, a representative from that state struck a similar note, saying, “Republicans control every statewide office, the legislature, and the entire congressional delegation.” Perhaps swing states will start developing an inferiority complex about their conservative cred.

Corey Lewandowski, the chairman of the New Hampshire delegation, has announced the votes his state gave to his former boss, Donald Trump. Lewandowski was fired last month from his post as Trump’s campaign manager, and nearly immediately signed on with CNN as a commentator. But he hasn’t revealed any signs of bad blood between himself and Trump. When he announced the 11 votes Trump got in New Hampshire, Lewandowski called Trump “my friend and the next president of the United States.”

The D.C. delegation is outraged at the RNC and accusing the convention organizers of “grabbing” its 19 votes for Marco Rubio (10) and John Kasich (9) and giving them all to Trump. When the District was called, its delegation clearly stated the tally for Rubio and Kasich, but the votes were recorded instead for Trump. Some members of the delegation booed, and delegate Chip Nottingham told reporters on the floor that the RNC’s move was “outrageous, it’s petty, and it’s unnecessary.”

As the center of the GOP political establishment, D.C.’s Republican Party is no fan of Trump’s, and he won just 14 percent of the vote in the party’s March primary. Nottingham didn’t give a precise reason why the RNC recorded its votes for Trump, but he characterized the decision as a strong-arm tactic. (In a further indication of the District’s status in Trump World, the delegation was placed in a far corner of the convention floor, far away from the podium and next to the hated CNN and MSNBC studios.) “I’m embarrassed right now to be an American,” Nottingham said. “I’ve never said that before in my life.”

The Michigan delegation decided to pass when its name came up in the roll call. This wasn’t an act of anti-Trump defiance. It’s reportedly a “courtesy” to New York, Donald Trump’s home state.

Any states that pass will be called again later on in the proceedings.

No drama from the Iowa delegation, despite yesterday’s walkout: Iowa “proudly casts its 30 votes for the next president,” Trump.

As the votes are being cast, a short note on music: Earlier today, Chris wrote about a small scandal that has erupted over a song the RNC house band played on the first day of the convention. A snarky section of the internet is having a lot of fun with the fact that the band performed David Bowie’s Station to Station, which included singing the line, “It’s not the side-effects of the cocaine/I’m thinking that it must be love.” Plus, as Nora Kelly pointed out early on in yesterday’s live blog, the lyrics of a song the house band at the RNC was playing—in this case, the Turtles’ Happy Together—could be repurposed to mock the fraught relationship between the Republican party and the man of the hour. What hasn’t come out is that some of the other song choices, particularly the songs that aren’t old standbys, seem even more on the nose.

Take a look at a selection of lyrics from The Who’s underrated 1982 offering, “Eminence Front”:

That big wheel spins, the hair thins
People forget
Forget they're hiding.
The news slows
People forget
Their shares crash, hopes are dashed
People forget
Forget they're hiding

Behind an eminence front
An eminence front, it's a put on
It's just an eminence front
An eminence front, it's a put on

The phrase “eminence front,” or a show of self-importance, perhaps sums up Trump’s whole campaign.

The leader of the house band is guitarist G.E. Smith, who was the leader of the SNL house band and has played with rock greats including Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. In a Guitar World interview, he talks about his political leanings and how he felt about playing the 2012 RNC. After explaining that he needs to work to pay for his daughters education, and that he’d already turned down three lower offers, he says:

[The 2012 RNC] came back with an insane final offer. And I thought, Well not only will this pay for several years of Josie’s school but I can hire six or seven of my friends, and give them a really good pay day too. So we went and played the Republican convention. We may not be Republicans, obviously, but it was really interesting. I got heavy flack from some people for doing it. If you remember, at that time, last August, a year ago, it wasn’t so sure. It was kinda looking like Romney was making a good run for it. So I got some heavy flack for it. But I’m a professional musician and this is what I’ve always done. I’ve been a professional musician since I was 11 years old. It’s what I do: work.

There’s more. Take a look at Limelight, a Rush song the band played:

Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage

Cast in this unlikely role
Ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers
To keep oneself intact...

Living in a fish eye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can't pretend a stranger
Is a long-awaited friend

As this roll call rolls through the states, it’s customary for each to work in a little self-promotion into the otherwise legalistic declaration of delegates, as Emma has noted. So far, Arizona boasted of its job growth and Alaska saluted its energy reserves and the Arctic. But my favorite is Arkansas, which cleverly worked in a plug for its fishing. “We cast our lines for world-class trout,” said one delegate proudly, “and we cast 40 votes.”

Colorado’s totals: “31 votes for Ted Cruz, two votes abstained, and four votes for the next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump,” a delegate announced. The relatively few votes for Trump seemed to elicit boos from the audience.

Connecticut’s claim to fame, according to its delegation: Pez. And wrestling, in which “men are men and women are champions,” according to the state’s leader.

Yoni Appelbaum

Alex Jones—perhaps America’s leading conspiracy theorist—regularly warns the listeners of his radio show about the dangers and depredations of overweening government authority. On Tuesday afternoon, I watched a phalanx of Indiana state troopers hustle him into an unmarked vehicle, and speed away, lights flashing. It was as if every dark fantasy he’d ever entertained had come true.

Only, not. This time, Jones was grateful for the gun-wielding government agents. “Communists Attack Alex Jones Outside RNC,” blared the InfoWars headline. “Police forced to intervene due to violent leftists.”

2016 is just that kind of a year. What Tuesday’s protests lacked in scale, they made up in flair.  As Jones was driven away, the pursuing mob dissolved, with a few last, “Off our streets, Nazi scum.” Nearby, Daryle Lamont Jenkins of the One People’s Project exchanged heated words with the conservative provocateur James O’Keefe. Then they paused, and exchanged contact information. This afternoon, that’s what passed for constructive dialogue.

The rest of the crowd flowed back to Cleveland’s Public Square, where the Revolutionary Communist Party was protesting on one side, and the Westboro Baptist Church on the other. A group of locals stood with red, white, and blue parasols, shouting back at Westboro.

“This is hate hiding behind Bibles,” said Matthew Ryan Thompson. Around us, demonstrators chanted, “Black lives matter.” Thompson paused to interject, “Police lives matter!” State troopers stared back, stone-faced. “We wanted to represent our country for what it is,” Thompson said. He’s a Clinton supporter, he told me, there “to spread the love and let people know this is not what our world is about.”

Every few minutes, another band of uniformed officers arrived—on horseback, on bicycle, on foot, by car—until hundreds filled the square. Standing beside me was Donald Larson, a tall man with an open-collared shirt, and convention credentials dangling from his neck. He’s the Republican nominee for Ohio’s Ninth congressional district, which includes portions of Cleveland. “The cops are doing an awesome job,” he told me, praising their restraint and their ability to keep the peace. The day before, he said he’d seen a procession pass by bearing an ISIS flag. “It was the worst use of the First Amendment,” he said, “and it went off without a hitch.”

In the street nearby, I found Ranan Steiger, a 16-year-old from Cleveland taking a break from serving meals in a nearby restaurant. The convention, he told me, was “great for Cleveland,” but he worried that with all the cameras trained on the protestors, “Cleveland doesn’t look like a great place now.” So he’d picked up a sign left by a demonstrator, and held it up where the Westboro protestors could see it: “Just Say No to White Supremecy.”

Two delegations to watch out for: Colorado and Iowa. Some of their members walked off the floor during the voting drama Monday.

Pro-tip: The states are being announced in alphabetical order.

It’s finally happening. The roll call of the states expected to formally nominate Donald Trump has just started. This is supposed to be a moment of triumph for the Trump campaign. But if Never Trump delegates want to make trouble, it could happen now as states report their tally of delegates.

South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster had more laudatory words for Trump, a man he says has “uncommon” strength, determination, and vision, and who’s willing to give up his business “to go work for us.”

He ended on an unusual note. “To paraphrase one of the poets of our time, Buffalo Springfield: There’s something happening here, what it is is precisely clear, we’re going to make American great again with Donald Trump.”

Alright there Alabama—the delegation leader took this delighted opportunity, before announcing the state’s votes cast for Trump, to rep Alabama football, among other state accomplishments. Even if the convention sometimes seems like a farce, sports throw-downs are a charming reminder that democracy is, in fact, happening.

Roll Tide, America.

For some Republicans, speaking in support of Trump is an awkward, or at the very least, uneasy affair. Not so for Chris Collins. The New York congressman was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Trump. He did so at a time when the idea of endorsing Trump on Capitol Hill seemed toxic to many establishment Republicans.

Collins took a victory lap on Tuesday. “It’s time to take back our country,” he called out to the crowd, taking the opportunity to remind everyone of his early-adopter status, and going out of his way to say thank you to “Senator Sessions, who has stood with me from the beginning in support of Donald Trump.”

Trump is very likely to reward the loyalty of members of Congress like Collins and Sessions, who got behind his candidacy when few were willing to. But there’s just one thing that Collins forgot to mention: Before Trump, he had previously supported Jeb Bush.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has kicked off the nomination process, and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who spoke at the convention last night, is the first to give a nominating speech.

“Americans love our country like no other people on earth, but we have gotten off course and the American people know it,” Sessions said, comparing the current political climate with trench warfare. And there’s one man, in Sessions’ estimation, to fix it all: “Donald Trump, was not intimidated, he would not be silenced. He spoke the truth. He gave voice to the people’s concerns,” like ending trade deals and securing the border. “The American voters heard this message and they rewarded his courage and his leadership with a huge victory in our primaries,” Sessions said. In that time, Sessions came to believe that Trump, the man he’s speaking for tonight, “is the singular leader who can get this country back on track.”

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions on Donald Trump:

“In his personal relationships, he is unfailingly courteous and generous.”

Say it, and it shall be so, perhaps?

How’s that for diversity? Harmeet Dhillon, a Sikh lawyer from California, just delivered an invocation at the opening of the Republican National Convention’s Tuesday’s session. She sang in Punjabi, spoke in English, and covered her head; as she did, the attendees of the arena appeared to bow their heads as in prayer, at least according to the view from C-SPAN.

Sikhs are often confused with Muslims in the United States. Although some members of both religious groups hail from India, the two are distinct. That doesn’t mean Sikhs are safe from the prejudice often directed toward Muslims, though; they often face discrimination, especially those who wear turbans.

Anti-Trump Republicans are threatening to throw the convention into disarray—again.

Chaos broke out on Monday when Never Trump forces attempted to force a roll-call vote on convention rules. The revolt was ultimately put down, though, and there’s not much time left now before Trump is officially crowned the GOP nominee. Before that happens, a Never Trump faction is hoping to make a last stand.

Politico has details on what the rebellious Republicans have in mind:

Invoking a conscience vote could spark a return to the convention floor chaos that marred the opening of the GOP convention Monday. The roll call, set to begin at 5:30 p.m., typically starts with Alabama and proceeds alphabetically through the 56 states and territories. The chair of each delegation—typically the governor or state party chair—announces to the convention how many votes its delegates cast for Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and other candidates. But anti-Trump delegates may challenge those counts and force their states to poll their members. Under the rules, the chairman of the delegation is required to count the votes.

If yesterday afternoon is any indication, any show of disunity will be quickly stamped out. On Monday, Republican leaders did not permit a roll-call vote, minimizing any opportunity for anti-Trump opponents to make a fuss. Now, the RNC may be more determined than ever to prevent chaos from breaking out. The Trump campaign appears to be reeling from fallout over Melania’s botched speech. The last thing they need is a display of defiance from Republicans who can’t stand Trump tonight.

Chris, that brings to mind a certain Huffington Post op-ed written in 2012 by Stephan Jenkins, the lead singer of Third Eye Blind. In it, the singer explains why the group turned down a request to play at a private party near the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

They are in fact, a party dedicated to exclusion. Nowhere is this more clear than their stop-people-who-don’t-vote-for-Republicans-from-voting-at-all-Voter ID law. They now seek to subvert the democratic process itself because they no longer think they can win by adhering to basic tenets of our democracy like the Voting Rights Act. I call that craven. For that reason alone, if I came to their convention, I would Occupy their convention.

The Republican party is on the wrong side of Lilly Ledbetter, fiscal responsibility, unions, civil rights, climate change, evolution, the Big Bang theory, stem cells, Medicare, and me, and that’s why we will let them be, in their government-funded event center, to sell their song and dance without me.

Quite the principled stand—except this year, the band is playing in Cleveland. Tonight, Third Eye Blind will headline a benefit concert sponsored by the Recording Industry Association of America and AT&T, raising money for the nonprofit Musicians On Call. It’s taking place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, not the convention floor, but the RIAA’s press release clearly associates the event with the RNC.

We’re less than 10 minutes away from the start of the convention’s evening program. The major event to watch: the formal nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s chosen candidate for president. House Speaker Paul Ryan, as chairman of the convention, will preside during this process, which will begin after an invocation, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and a few other ceremonial elements after the convention is called to order.

The night will also feature big-name speakers, including Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, two Trump children, and former Trump rivals Ben Carson and Chris Christie. We’ll be watching and updating this live blog as the program rolls on.

It isn’t a Republican National Convention without a Rage Against the Machine concert, or two. RATM and its members have been crashing political conventions for well over a decade. And Cleveland is no exception.

Yesterday, a few miles from the Q, the newly formed super group, Prophets of Rage, performed a set at the End Poverty Now concert. The band is comprised of members of Rage, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill. They will perform again Tuesday as night two of the RNC kicks off.

“Thank you for coming out today with your joy and your militancy,” Tom Morello shouted to the crowd of around 700 people. The group played “Bulls on Parade,” “No Sleep ‘til Brooklyn,” and others from a nostalgic catalogue of covers and originals. “This song in particular was used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in black sites overseas,” Morello said moments before concluding with a Rage classic, “Killing in the Name Of.” It was a claim that amazingly appears to be true. “This is our revenge,” he concluded before strumming the first licks.

After the last cords had echoed into silence, the crowd marched toward Quicken Loans Arena where another band would perform that afternoon. The convention house band played a variety of musical fare for the throngs of Republicans, including “Happy Together,” originally by the Turtles, and The Who’s “Eminence Front.” One song stood out, however. “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine. I’m thinking it must be love,” the band’s front man sang while covering David Bowie’s “Station to Station.” To say the least, the lyrics were different​ from most of the speeches ​made in​ an arena packed with conservatives and GOP faithful.

Tuesday night, the Prophets of Rage will continue to, in Morello’s words, “put wind in the sails of the people who are standing up against [Donald Trump’s] message.” But the music won’t stop in Cleveland. “They’re not getting off the hook either,” Morello said when asked if he would be at the DNC in Philadelphia next week.

If you ask Republicans to list the rising stars in their party, one name they’ll never skip these days is Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. GOP leaders tapped the combat veteran to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union, and despite having served only 18 months in the Senate, she drew speculation as a potential running mate for Donald Trump. So it was no surprise that the Trump campaign and the RNC gave Ernst a prime-time speaking slot on Monday night. And it was not just any prime-time spot: The schedule indicated Ernst would speak during the coveted 10-11 p.m. timeslot, the only hour that both the broadcast and the cable networks now cover.

Only instead of speaking before a roaring convention crowd and millions of viewers on TV, Ernst on Monday delivered her speech to a half-empty arena closer to midnight Eastern after the program ran late and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn went well over his allotted time. Members of the Iowa delegation fumed, and Governor Terry Branstad was visibly agitated on the convention floor as the delay mounted.

“It was an opportunity for the nation to see her and get to know her in a way that they hadn’t had that chance before. So that was a significant disappointment,” Representative Steve King told reporters Tuesday. “I don’t know what went on with General Flynn, what he was thinking. I imagine that was all off the teleprompter, because it was going to be choreographed more timely than that.”

Despite the delay, Ernst was all smiles on Tuesday, noting that she appreciated that the whole Iowa delegation stood for her entire speech and her mother was able to see it back home. “I just think there were some speakers that went a little long, but that’s ok because we had a great message last night,” she said at a delegation luncheon in Cleveland.

As Russell noted yesterday, Donald Trump had always planned to fly back to New York after his wife's speech Monday night. But that's apparently resulted in a mix-up with the Trump Leadership Council, a group of 40 business executives and donors who had planned to meet with the billionaire Tuesday morning. Though they've convened once before at Trump Tower, Time reports that the group of leaders was left milling around the concourse of Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium, waiting for Trump to show up.

The group of 40 from companies such as Continental Resources, BNSF Railway and C Spire mingled with Republican members of Congress around breakfast tables set up on one of the stadium’s concourses. The Republican representatives addressed the group, ostensibly stalling for Trump. Rep. Tom Price from Georgia mentioned the plagiarism scandal over Trump’s wife Melania’s speech the evening before. Price blamed the liberal media, who he said, had made the whole thing up, according to people present.

Eventually, though, the speeches ran out and Trump never showed. He had, they found out later, unexpectedly flown back to New York overnight with no word on when he might return. The group was led out to the football field, where the Cleveland Browns play, to take pictures before they were let go with no information about when and if a third meeting might take place.

The leadership council is supposed to advise Trump on various business sectors. But it also puts the campaign in touch with a group he's previously said he wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

Steve King isn’t backing off comments he made Monday during an appearance on MSNBC, when he rose to the defense of “old white people” and questioned what comparable contributions to civilization had been made by “any other subgroup of people.”

The remarks from the conservative Iowa congressman understandably set off a furor. When he was asked about them during a state delegation breakfast here on Tuesday, King said reporters should “put them into context.” He noted that he was responding to a comment from a co-panelist, veteran journalist Charles Pierce of Esquire, who mused that 2016 could be the last Republican convention where “old white people” would dominate.

“You go back and Google ‘old white people,’ ‘old white men,’ you’ll find this comes out of the mouth of leftists constantly,” King told reporters on Tuesday. “They’ve decided it’s open season on white people in America from an ideological standpoint. And I hope it stops there. But somebody needs to stand up for the contributions that have been made by Western civilization. And if we discourage our roots, if we discourage what makes this a great nation, then we’ll lose the formula for being an even greater nation. So I’ve stood up for our foundation, for our history, for our culture of Western civilization.”

Though he has been overshadowed this year by the unfiltered stylings of Donald Trump, King has a long history of making incendiary comments, particularly about immigrants. In 2013, he prompted demonstrations outside his congressional office and a rebuke from GOP leaders when he said that for every so-called Dreamer immigrant “who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

As my colleague Nora wrote, the delegates at the Republican National Convention may just be facing a norovirus outbreak. A nasty piece of work.

In 2012, virologist Aron Hall wrote an academic love letter to noroviruses, in which he described these banes of guts and cruise ships as “perhaps the perfect human pathogens.” Not only do they cause intense bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, as the attendees of the RNC may soon learn, but they also have “all the attributes of an ideal infectious agent.”

They are highly contagious: It takes just 18 viral particles to start an infection. Once they’re off, they reproduce rapidly and then leave their hosts in prodigious numbers. A single gram of poo can contain up to 100 billion viral particles, which means that one infected bowel movement technically contains enough norovirus to infect all of humanity.

They evolve quickly, which is why it’s hard to develop vaccines against them. One such vaccine showed some promise in a clinical trial, protecting a third of people exposed to noroviruses. “A vaccine that leaves more than a third of people vulnerable to a virus is not exactly a silver bullet,” wrote Carl Zimmer for National Geographic. “But against such a perfect pathogen, even a little relief can ease a lot of pain.”

Noroviruses are also really hardy. Cooking kills them, but they can survive milder heat, cold, and many chemical disinfectants. This means that they can spread through unusual and seemingly implausible paths. In one case, an entire soccer team caught the virus when one infected player threw up in the same room as a bag containing the next day’s lunch. She didn’t touch the bag or the food inside it, but airborne noroviruses settled there nonetheless.

No wonder then that they are the leading cause of diarrheal diseases and food-borne illnesses around the world. No wonder they cause 21 million cases of gastro-catastrophes in the United States every year—including now, however many have been affected in Cleveland. The problem is only going to get worse, too. Booming populations, air travel, and the globalization of food have all reduced the already paltry barriers to infection.

The speech-gate saga continues. The New York Times reports that Matthew Scully may have had a hand in drafting an early version of the speech. According to the Times:

Two people briefed on the process, who insisted on anonymity to discuss such a sensitive issue, said that a contract speechwriter, Matthew Scully, had written an early draft of Ms. Trump’s speech several weeks ago. Ms. Trump then took that speech and made substantial changes to it, according to this person, with help from someone working at the Trump Organization.

Scully is a former George W. Bush speechwriter who is no stranger to, well, speech-writing drama. In a 2007 article “Present at the Creation” published in The Atlantic, Scully went after his former speechwriting colleague Michael Gerson. Here’s a brief excerpt of Scully’s unsparing piece:

The narrative that Mike Gerson presented to the world is a story of extravagant falsehood. He has been held up for us in six years’ worth of coddling profiles as the great, inspiring, and idealistic exception of the Bush White House. In reality, Mike’s conduct is just the most familiar and depressing of Washington stories—a history of self- seeking and media manipulation that is only more distasteful for being cast in such lofty terms.

There have been plenty of twists and turns in the convention-speech controversy so far, and reports based on anonymous sourcing should be taken with a grain of salt until they can be definitively confirmed. And even then, the report only suggests that Scully was responsible for “an early draft” of the speech.

Matt Rourke / AP

Millions of Americans tuned in to the opening day of the Republican National Convention—but just how many?

Politico breaks it down:

CNN also beat the broadcast competition at 10 pm, averaging 3.94 million viewers, including 1.37 million demo viewers. MSNBC averaged 1.99 million viewers at 10 pm including 503,000 demo viewers, while NBC averaged 3.91 million, ABC 3.64 million viewers, and CBS 2.69 million viewers.

For all of primetime, from 8-11 pm, Fox News averaged 5.50 million viewers, CNN 3.60 million viewers and MSNBC 1.93 million viewers.

Melania Trump’s remarks were the highlight of the night and many appeared to have tuned in for it. During the evening hours, however, Trump also made the rounds on broadcast networks, disrupting, to an extent, his own convention. On one occasion, he spoke with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in a phone interview, while Patricia Smith, whose son was killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack, gave an impassioned speech slamming Hillary Clinton.

Still, while Fox News came out ahead of the broadcast networks overall, it saw fewer viewers than the first day of the 2012 Republican National Convention, when Mitt Romney was the party’s presumptive nominee.

Convention attendees have enough to worry about. Infighting on the arena floor. Divisive comments about John Kasich. A plagiarism scandal. Protests outside the convention potentially going south. And terrorism, in the wake of recent attacks at home and abroad. They certainly don’t need concerns about a debilitating stomach bug on top of everything else.

But a bug is what they’ve got. Or at least, what roughly a dozen staffers for the California delegation have. The Los Angeles Times confirmed that the staffers have been quarantined in their respective hotel rooms under suspicions they’ve contracted norovirus. The virus, which causes stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea, is “very contagious,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Famous for infecting cruise-ship passengers, it can spread in several different ways: person-to-person contact, by touching compromised surfaces, and by drinking or eating tainted substances. Coincidentally, the name “norovirus” comes from the town of Norwalk, Ohio, which saw an outbreak among schoolchildren 40-odd years ago.

“As soon as we know a little bit more about what we’re dealing with for sure, we’ll have a better way of dealing with future precautions,” an Ohio health commissioner told the Times. Here’s the newspaper on how officials are handling things so far:

The 550-member delegation was warned of the outbreak by state GOP officials in an email at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday. They were advised to avoid shaking hands with others, to wash hands frequently, to avoid sharing food and to not use the delegation buses to the convention if they have any symptoms — all difficult rules to follow at a political convention. …

State party officials realized they had a problem over the weekend and quarantined more than a third of their staff as they become ill. Meals, electrolyte-replacement drinks and Gatorade were delivered to the rooms of the sick people, who were released from quarantine once they had been symptom-free for 24 hours. ...

No delegates, alternates or guests have reported becoming infected, but the risks are high. The staff members who became ill were in constant contact with the delegation, from filling the goodie bags they received upon check-in to handing out convention credentials every morning.

The risks are high and the conditions seem ripe for spread. As STAT put it earlier, “If there are a few people with norovirus, it’s likely there will be more.” Especially given the venue where many staffers and delegates are staying: a hotel with an indoor water park, just “the sort of environment in which the virus could thrive.”

Evan Vucci / AP

Amid ongoing controversy over Melania Trump’s convention speech, CNN reports that the Trump campaign has no plans to fire anyone over the episode.

What the campaign does plan to do, however, seems overly optimistic. “Trump’s campaign hopes to simply move on without further addressing questions about the speech,” according to CNN, noting that “aides to the presumptive Republican nominee are scrambling to move past the imbroglio,” which has “set off infighting and finger-pointing within Trump’s campaign.” Oh and, “Donald Trump himself is furious about it,” the report adds, citing two sources.

Whether, or how quickly, the incident can be forgotten remains to be seen.

Earlier in the day, Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, suggested in a CNN interview that current campaign chief Paul Manafort should resign if he was responsible. “Whoever signed off, was the final sign off that allowed this to go forward, should be held accountable,” Lewandowski said on-air, adding: “I think if it was Paul Manafort, he would do the right thing and resign … If he’s the last person who saw this, and saw this happen, and has brought this on the candidate’s wife, I think he would resign.”

Bad blood is likely a motivating factor behind the assertion. In June, the Trump campaign parted ways with Lewandowski, who had reportedly been locked in a power struggle with Manafort. But in the past, Lewandowski’s time on the campaign has appeared to color his cable-news commentary in favor of Trump. “Lewandowski has not yet transitioned out of his role as a Trump employee,” The Washington Post’s Callum Borchers concluded in an analysis of his first week on CNN. If even defenders of the campaign are willing to go on the attack , it seems unlikely the speech will so easily be forgotten.

The Trump campaign is having an awfully hard time providing one cohesive explanation of Melania Trump’s partially plagiarized speech last night. Consider spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who within just a few minutes on MSNBC changed the way she characterized Melania’s involvement. “Paul Manafort was right—this is not something that Melania Trump did,” Pierson said, referring to the campaign chairman. “She did write the speech, with help, as she has said herself.” The “help” reference seemed designed to distance Melania; so did a sneaky reference to her language skills: “This is a woman where English is not her native language.” Pierson refused to say the passages in question, cribbed from a 2008 Michelle Obama convention speech, were copied. She acknowledged that they were similar, but said they just reflected common “platitudes and values.”

But just moments later, Pierson seemed to ascribe just a little responsibility to Trump’s wife. “I don’t think Melania Trump set out to copy anyone else’s speech,” Pierson said. “Again, it wasn’t even verbatim, and most people are agreeing with that.” According to a report in NBC News, the potential first lady “has been humiliated” and that “heads are going to roll.” In the meantime, defenses like Pierson’s probably aren’t helping things much.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Last week, Donald Trump announced that he had selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. On Tuesday, in Cleveland, Pence stepped into that role, praising Trump and encouraging party unity.

“It is very humbling for me from a small town in Indiana, whose grandfather came in this country in 1923, to think that I would step to a podium and accept my party’s nomination to run and serve as the next vice president of the United States of America,” Pence said.

Pence went through a laundry list of accomplishments in his state, like state tax cuts and “the largest school-voucher program” in the country, as examples of his work and that of other Republican leaders. Then, using Trump’s slogan, he exclaimed: “We will make America great again—at home and abroad.” He added of Trump: “He’s a builder, he’s a fighter, he’s a father, he’s a patriot.”

Pence will formally deliver remarks at the Republican National Convention, as the GOP vice-presidential candidate on Wednesday. And if his comments on Tuesday are any indication, he’ll fit the V.P. bill by touting the GOP nominee. But he, as other Republicans, are also tasked with displaying a united front at the party—a point Pence acknowledged.

“The time has come for us to come together; primaries are over,” he said. “It was a big stage up there with a lot of extraordinarily talented men and women, but I say to my fellow conservatives today, it’s time for us to come together.” Pence originally endorsed Ted Cruz, before he exited the race. But that’s in the rear-view mirror for Pence, as he seeks to show unwavering support for Trump.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t blaming Melania Trump for plagiarized passages in her speech on the first night of the RNC. Rather, the mess-up is the responsibility of the Trump campaign, the Democratic National Committee chair told CNN—and it’s “emblematic” of how “unprepared” Trump is to sit in the Oval Office.

“I thought Melania Trump did a really nice job presenting herself to the American people, and gave a very nice speech,” Schultz said late Tuesday morning. “At the end of the day, it is the Trump organization, the Trump campaign, that needs to be held accountable and to answer for any concerns over the content of the speech.” Trouble with that is, CNN reports, Trump staffers plan to stop talking about the plagiarism, full stop. And in a campaign marked by frequent scandals that distract from those that came before, their stonewalling on this latest mistake might just work.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

As the Republican National Convention gears up for its second day in the house that LeBron James built, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers have remained awfully silent on the arrival of their political guests.

A survey of the players’ social-media profiles reveals nothing resembling a political statement either way as the Republicans descend on Believeland, Ohio, this week. They have opted instead for photos of summer travel, tributes to NBA legends, or plain silence. This despite James’s plea at the ESPY’s last Wednesday for more activism among professional athletes.

“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do,” James said at the ESPN award show alongside Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade. His words came in the wake of tragedies in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. “It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change,” James continued. “Let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves … Speak up. Use our influence. And renounce all violence.”

James and his compatriots were not asking NBA players to be more active in party politics, per se. Working to curb violence can take many forms. But their collective silence is notable, especially as convention speakers conjure the Cavaliers’ title run this summer as an analogy for Trump’s campaign for the White House.

“Here we are entering the finals of the selection process for the next leader of the free world,” Jeff Larson, the convention CEO, said on Monday afternoon. “And like the team that won a national championship in this arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers, our nominee will win this November.” It was a sentiment echoed by Steve King, the arrangements committee chair. Even the official GOP Twitter account boasted in a similar fashion ahead of the convention. The Cavs have been name-checked almost as often as President Ronald Reagan.

Silent or not, James looms large over the RNC. Across the street from Quicken Loans Arena, is a 10-story-tall banner of James—his arms outstretched, his famed No. 23 jersey unmistakable, the word “champions” newly inscribed above his head. The banner was almost removed ahead of the convention, much like the Cavaliers’ team store. But after local outcry, the mural remains on Ontario Street, where it has stood since James returned to the city in 2014.

Speechwriting is hard. The first time I had to write a politician’s speech, I printed out some great examples of the art to use as models. The first time I had to write a college lecture, I did the same. So it’s unsurprising that as Donald Trump began to put together his acceptance speech, he took the same approach. “We looked at previous convention speeches,” his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, said on Monday. “The one he focused on, though, was Nixon in 1968.”

It’s still not clear how passages of Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008 ended up in Melania Trump’s speech in 2016. On Tuesday morning, Melania insisted that the speech she’d delivered the night before was her own. “I read it once over,” she said, “and that's all because I wrote it with as little help as possible.” But the Trump campaign insisted she’d had help. “In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”

But if she went about the process the same way as her husband did, those statements may not be difficult to reconcile. If Donald Trump started with a stack of previous convention speeches, perhaps Melania Trump did the same. And if she passed notes to a team of writers about what she wanted to say, it wouldn’t have taken much for a passage she’d clipped as a model to be mistaken for a “fragment that reflected her own thinking” to be included. Not much—except a lack of professionalism on the part of the speechwriters.

Or maybe it happened differently. On Tuesday, in fact, Manafort steadfastly insisted that it hadn’t happened at all: “There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech,” he said, as if bald-faced assertion could erase incontrovertible evidence. However it happened, though, the bungled response is fast eclipsing the original blunder.

We’ve cracked our knuckles and limbered up for another day of convention coverage here at The Atlantic. Alas, a recent survey from Pew Research suggests that the majority of Americans are tired of seeing election news, complaining that it focuses too much on the candidates’s comments and personal lives. They told pollsters they’d like the news media to focus more on issues. And Democrats say they’re particularly peeved that reporters haven’t paid more attention to the candidates’ respective experience.

I don’t know—I wouldn’t start tearing up the prime-time lineup yet. Cable-news channels are in the midst of a bumper crop of viewers, suggesting Americans are still plenty willing to tune in for election coverage. And this supposed fatigue with the horse race and desire for more “issues” coverage strikes me as the handiwork of the famous social-desirability bias, which pushes poll respondents to give answers they think will make them look smarter to pollsters. I totally buy that people are tired of the election, but given their  palpable interest, they’re almost certainly bound to keep watching.

The Republican Party is about to ceremoniously nominate Donald Trump as its 2016 nominee. But at the convention and beyond, his detractors and lukewarm supporters are “plotting a parallel course,” Politico reports: to keep Congress in Republican hands, as some predict a presidential defeat in November, and to “save the Republican Party itself.” Here's more from reporter Shane Goldmacher:

In interviews with more than 40 of the Republican Party’s leading strategists, lawmakers, fundraisers and donors, a common thread has emerged heading into the general election: Win or lose in November (and more expect to lose than not), they fear that Trump’s overheated and racialized rhetoric could irreparably poison the GOP brand among the fastest-growing demographic groups in America.

And so, to an almost unprecedented extent, as the 50,000 Republican activists, officials and media pour into Cleveland this week, there is something of a convention within the convention. ...

[M]any are already at work to rearrange the fractured pieces to their liking—and advantage.

“After every election where there’s a seismic loss on one side; it shatters the power structure and rebuilds it,” said a top Republican strategist intimately involved in such discussions both in Washington and among the GOP’s biggest donors. “There’s a void that exists. And if you’re not prepared to fill it, the chances are the same people who brought you this disaster will.”

The report is worth a read, and not just for its sheer exhaustiveness. It also features a stunning quote from former President George W. Bush—who’s sitting out this year’s election—that, if meant sincerely, shows how deeply concerned some party members are: “I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president.”

Whether Republicans like it or not, racial divisions have been a significant subplot of the convention so far. The party is meeting in Cleveland amid a recent eruption in violence, first with the officer-involved shooting deaths of two African American men in Louisiana and Minnesota and then the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Speaker after speaker on Monday night defended law enforcement against accusations of racism, accusing Democrats of sowing division. And during an appearance earlier in the day on MSNBC, conservative Representative Steve King of Iowa made a rather stunning defense of white supremacy by questioning the contributions of “any other subgroup of people.”

Well, Jennifer Horn has had enough of all this race discussion. Horn is the chairwoman of the Republican Party in New Hampshire, and on Tuesday morning she vented in frustration as she spoke to a restaurant full of New England delegates at a breakfast event. “I am really sick and tired of this false narrative of the Republican party as a racist party,” Horn said, departing from the standard pep-rally tone usually found at delegation meetings. “I am sick and tired of it, and it is time for us to put it to rest right here.” She was recalling a question she got from a New Hampshire reporter who wanted her reaction to a photo that House Speaker Paul Ryan had posted on Instagram showing him with a group of dozens of congressional interns who were almost entirely white.

“Do not forget,” Horn continued, “and don’t you let anybody forget that the Republican Party just advanced the most diverse slate in the history of politics in this country at a time when Democrats offered two old white people. So let’s not forget who we are as a party. We are the party of opportunity, the party of equality, the party that was built on Lincoln and the effort to free the slaves. And the Democrats have become the masters of division.

“And as long as we continue to ride into it and answer their false questions and accept their false narrative, it’s going to continue as a message in this country. And it’s time for us to stand up and talk about who we are and what we stand for and put an end to it for good!”

After the event, Horn told me she was referring to the 17 Republicans who ran for the party’s nomination, a group that included a woman (Carly Fiorina), a black man (Ben Carson), and two Latinos (Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz). When I asked her whether Donald Trump had contributed to that narrative with the many racially insensitive comments he has made, she replied, “I think we can all do better.” It should be noted that while Horn is correct that the Republicans running this year were more racially and ethnically diverse than the Democrats, the roster of speakers this week will be more than 80 percent white. And on Tuesday, she made her comments to a group of delegates from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Delaware that was also almost entirely white.

Where is Mitt Romney?

The former Republican presidential nominee is notably absent from the party’s national convention. Romney has expressed his discontent with Donald Trump throughout the primary season. In March, he said, “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” adding “He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers.” Trump, who supported Romney in the 2012 presidential primary, later called the former governor of Massachusetts “ungrateful.”

So, this week, perhaps to no surprise, Romney is far away from Cleveland in New Hampshire with his family. The Boston Globe reports:

As his party gathered in Cleveland for the start of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, did not appear to be ruing his decision to spend the week relaxing by the water with 36 members of his family in “America’s Oldest Summer Resort.”

“Just going to be here all week,” Romney said, stepping out of his sprawling house to greet two reporters who briefly intruded on his mid-summer idyll away from all the hoopla surrounding Donald Trump. “It’s wonderful to be with the grandkids.”

Other notable figures absent from the Republican National Convention are former President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and Ohio Governor John Kasich. For a full rundown, here’s The New York Times.

Donald Trump’s campaign is standing by Melania Trump’s Monday night speech.

In a news conference with Republican National Committee officials on Tuesday morning, Trump’s campaign chief, Paul Manafort, expressed confidence in Melania Trump’s remarks, passages of which resembled Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, saying “we don’t believe there’s anything in that speech that doesn’t reflect her thinking.” He added: “We are comfortable that the words that she used are words that were personal to her. The fact that [there are] things like care and respect and compassion, those are not extraordinary words and certainly when you talk about family.”

Manafort’s remarks echoed a statement released by the Trump camp in the early morning hours of Tuesday. “In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” wrote Jason Miller, a senior communications advisor to Trump.

As my colleague David Graham writes:

It’s tough to blame Melania Trump, an inexperienced public speaker who delivered a strong speech in a second language to a packed convention. But the fact that the plagiarism got through looks like an indictment of the Trump campaign—first, on her speechwriters for either inserting or failing to catch the borrowing, and second in their response, which has inflated the story

Just two months ago, it wasn't certain House Speaker Paul Ryan would be attending the Republican convention. He hadn't endorsed Donald Trump for president—indeed, he'd spent months outright criticizing some of his language—and said he needed to see Trump unify the party and back conservative principles before he could take that step. Though his status in the House meant he'd serve at the convention chairman, Ryan said publicly he'd step down if Trump so desired.

But now, more than month out from finally endorsing, Ryan is poised to supervise the convention Tuesday night when delegates officially nominate Trump. He's still not the most vocal advocate for his party's standard-bearer, but he's dead-set on preventing Hillary Clinton from taking over the White House, and on keeping his House under Republican control. At a breakfast Tuesday morning with the Texas delegation, Ryan offered something of a preview of his evening remarks. He quipped that the party had been having "a really big family discussion" this election season and compared the Republican party to a football conference. Not everyone roots for the same team, but will unify before a big interconference game.

Republicans may not agree on how exactly to advance their principles, Ryan said—occasionally abandoning the sports metaphor—but "at the end of the day, we're advancing our principles."

"We may not agree with that, we may not root for that, but at the end of the day, we want to win the game, don't we?" Ryan said.


Carolyn Kaster / AP

Day Two of the Republican National Convention is here, and there’s controversy. On Monday night, Melania Trump spoke on behalf of her husband, but many phrases were identical to those in Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech, raising questions about plagiarism. The Trump campaign responded in a statement, saying, “In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”