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Trump Bends the Party to His Will

On the first day of the Republican National Convention, the candidate beat back a challenge on the floor, demonstrating his control of the GOP.

John Locher / AP

CLEVELAND—Donald Trump took the stage silhouetted in smoke, with Queen’s “We Are the Champions” blaring in the background. The air cleared. “Oh, we’re going to win. We’re going to win so big,” he said.

On Monday night in Cleveland, Trump bent the Republican Party to his will. An unconventional lineup of speakers sang his praises, echoed his slogans, and adopted his unbridled style. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who usually favors a tone of restrained menace, let his voice rise to a Trumpian roar as he denounced Islamic extremist terrorism. “You know who you are! And we’re coming to get you!”

When Trump took the stage, it was to introduce his wife—and to emphasize that this convention isn’t about the party. It’s a family affair. “If you want someone to fight for you and your country I can assure you, he’s the guy,” Melania Trump said. “He will never give up, and most importantly he will never, ever let you down.”

But just hours before Donald Trump made his first appearance in Cleveland, kicking off his four-day coronation as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, a raucous rebellion broke out on the convention floor. The law-and-order candidate, it turned out, was struggling to keep his own party in line.

The Republican National Convention may be an elaborate pageant, but it’s also the governing body of the Republican Party. Those dual identities came into conflict, as a band of delegates tried to force a debate on the rules that govern the party, floating a proposal to unbind delegates and let them follow the dictates of their own consciences. The dissidents rounded up enough signatures to force a floor vote. The chair called for a voice vote, proclaimed the rules adopted, and tried to forge ahead.

Instantly, chaos. There were shouts on the floor. “Roll-call vote!” “Freedom!” “Railroad!” Directly in front of me, two ushers jammed their fingers against their earpieces, struggling to hear above the crowd, then started pacing around, chanting, “U! S! A!” It built to a roar, drowning out the protests.

Some delegates headed to the exits. I found Bradley Gulotta, an alternate delegate from Louisiana, fuming outside the hall. It was “an effort to stamp out transparency,” he said. He’d come to Cleveland as a Cruz delegate, but, he said, “I would’ve held my nose and supported any of the candidates other than Trump.”

It all came pouring out. Trump doesn’t represent conservative values. “He spits so much venom at anyone who crosses him.” And he worries about Trump. “He’s not someone who you want children from across the country looking up to,” Gulotta said.

He was hardly alone. A delegate from Tennessee told me she was dismayed. A delegate from Arkansas confided that his delegation was split, and he’d hoped to have the chance to vote against the rules. Maybe, if there had been a roll-call vote, they would have stood by that, but neither was willing to be identified by name.

The effort came close to success, though, because it drew on broader discontents within the party. “I wanted to vote no on the rules, and I’m a Donald Trump supporter,” Thomas Leonard, a Massachusetts delegate, told me. He was hoping a rules fight could lead to a successful challenge to Rule 12, which assigns more power to the Republican National Committee, and less to the grassroots. Leonard had been elected as a Ron Paul delegate in 2012, then bounced off the slate by the state party, which had confirmed his hostile view of establishment control.

Other delegates wanted to rework the primaries, apportioning delegates on the basis of registered voters and closing them to all but registered Republicans—both moves that would favor conservative candidates like Ted Cruz. The common theme in these proposals was an effort to reclaim the party—to insist that it belongs to its members, to its grassroots activists, and not to the establishment or to any particular candidate.

But the effort fell apart. It needed support from a majority of seven states’ delegations. The dissidents said they submitted signatures from 11, the chair recognized nine, and then Trump loyalists convinced enough delegates to rescind their support that only six remained.

The effort failed because most Republicans in Cleveland have come around to embrace Trump as their nominee. “I was for Cruz,” Oklahoma’s Carolyn McLarty, who chairs the RNC’s resolution committee, told me. “But 14 million people voted for him. He’s done an amazing thing.” This was “not the time or the place to usurp the democratic will of the people,” Mike Edwards, another Oklahoma delegate, said. Julie Faubel, an alternate from Texas, had once favored her former governor, Rick Perry. “Donald Trump was not my first choice,” she told me. “But I said, ‘I will support whoever we put up in November.’” She proclaimed herself, “pleased with the vote and ready to proceed.”

Indeed, the convention proceeded through the night, with speaker after speaker praising Donald Trump and denouncing Hillary Clinton. The delegates cheered Giuliani. They greeted Trump with a thunderous ovation. They embraced retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn’s attack on Hillary, chanting, “Lock her up!” And they hailed Melania Trump’s optimistic, positive speech.

It’s Trump’s party, rocking on in Cleveland. —Yoni Appelbaum


This live blog has concluded

After a parade of speakers denouncing illegal immigrants and railing against the privileged and powerful, Melania Trump took the stage, speaking with a heavy accent, as she recalled growing up in Slovenia and what it's like being married to a billionaire businessman.

It was a remarkable moment, and not just because of the contrast with what had preceded it. While Trump loves to talk, his wife seems to shun the spotlight on the trail. That persona made it extraordinary to hear Melania speak so extensively at the convention. Still, limelight averse or not, it was inevitable that she would eventually have to more formally introduce herself as America’s prospective First Lady, and what better time to do it than during prime-time.

Melania argued that Trump is not the man his detractors unfairly describe him to be. “He’s tough when he has to be, but he’s also kind, and fair and caring,” she said. “This kindness is not always noted, but it is there for all to see. That is one reason I fell in love with him to begin with. Donald is intensely loyal to family, friends, employees, country.”

She made the case that Trump will unite, not divide. “Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people,” Melania stressed, “That includes Christians, and Jews, and Muslims. It includes Hispanics, and African-Americans, and Asians, and the poor and the middle class.”

Melania wore her patriotism as a badge of honor. She told a story of immigration that the crowd, which had earlier grown incensed at illegal immigration, fully embraced. “I was born in Slovenia, a small beautiful, and then communist country in Central Europe,” Melania said. But of course, that was just the start. “I was very proud to become citizens of the United States, the greatest privilege on planet Earth,” Melania said, appearing poised even as she tripped ever so slightly over the words. The line won cheers and applause.

It's a big night for Donald Trump. The crowd is favorable. He's getting heaps of praise. He even gets to talk, when he introduces his wife Melania.

But it's also a big night for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, whose anti-immigration policy positions weren't quite as mainstream as they are right now with Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee. As Bloomberg recently put it, Sessions has gone from “party gadfly to trusted adviser for the potential president” in just the last few months, and during his remarks Monday night, Sessions was able to promote his agenda on a larger stage than usual. “For 30 years, our good and decent people have rightly pleaded with their leaders for an end to the lawlessness, and for sound immigration policies that are fair and advance the national interest. To this legitimate plea, our elites have responded with disdain, dismissal, and scorn,” Sessions said, before blaming immigrants for taking American jobs. “The only solution from Obama and Hillary Clinton is to capitulate to the lawlessness and give amnesty and citizenship to all.”

Sessions seems grateful to Trump for his amplifying voice. Here's Bloomberg again:

"I have been making this basic message for several years now and I believe it was a key to this election," Sessions, 69, said in an interview last week. "A lot of good candidates with a lot of good money and a lot of talent have been dispatched by the one candidate who spoke in these terms."

In Trump, Sessions saw someone strong enough to smash the system in Washington that he says caters to big money interests like the Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street.

"Trump has a way of driving a message so people hear it. I’ve been talking about it for years and nobody hears it," Sessions said. "Trump has that gift."

Rudy Giuliani has never been elected or nominated to be president, vice president, governor, senator, or congressman. Even so, the former mayor of New York has been a prime-time speaker at three of the last four Republican conventions.

Yet Republicans have never seen a Giuliani speech like the one he just delivered in support of Donald Trump. Louder—far louder—and more animated than ever before, Giuliani electrified the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena. He vociferously defended police officers and Trump while eviscerating Clinton—a woman he nearly ran against for the Senate back in 2000. “I am sick of the defamation of Donald Trump by the media and the Clinton campaign,” Giuliani thundered. “I am sick and tired of it! This is a good man!”

While he was frequently accused of racial insensitivity during his eight years as mayor of New York, Giuliani presided over a drop in crime that continued after he left office. “What I did for New York City,” he said, “Donald Trump will do for America.”

He opened his speech by calling on Americans to support police officers across the country, alluding to the racial tensions that have erupted again in recent weeks. “When they come to save your life, they don’t ask if you’re black or white,” Giuliani said. “They just come to save you!”

Giuliani finished by focusing on Clinton, criticizing her record on Libya and her support for President Obama’s foreign policy. “Hillary Clinton's experience is the basis for her campaign,” Giuliani said. “Well, Hillary Clinton's experience is exactly the reason she should not be our president.”

Trump couldn’t stay away. The candidate isn’t set to formally accept the Republican nomination until later in the week, but he appeared on stage tonight to introduce his wife Melania before she addresses the crowd. And remarkably, he kept it short.

“We’re going to win, we’re going to win so big,” Trump said, after making a dramatic entrance and emerging into the bright lights of the stage. From there, he wasted no time: “It is my great honor to present the next First Lady of the United States,” Trump said, calling her “my wife” and praising her as “an amazing mother.” It wasn’t the first time in the evening that Trump grabbed the spotlight. He called in for a phone interview on Fox News at the same time that speakers at the convention talked about the Benghazi attack.

Rudy Giuliani's sputtering, screeching condemnation of President Obama's policies on racial injustice and terrorism might remind some people of Pat Buchanan's infamous “culture war” address at the 1992 GOP convention. Opening the night’s final and most heavily watched hour, Giuliani spoke in explanation points and pointed barbs. “What happened to there’s no white America, there’s no black America?” he said. “I am sick and tired of the defamation of Donald Trump by the media and the Clinton campaign. He’s a good man!” He continued: “I said Islamic extremist terrorism. You know who you are and we’re coming to get you!” He closed with one word, vaguely connected the rest of the address: "Greatness!"

Chris Christie's lips are sealed.

In an interview with CNN from the convention floor, the New Jersey governor mostly kept mum about his feelings on losing Trump veepstakes, telling reporter Dana Bash that he's focused on leading Trump's White House transition team. Asked about his reaction to the Mike Pence pick when Trump called him last week, Christie declined to elaborate, telling Bash the conversation was “typical” of their relationship: “free-wheeling and rollicking and private.”

Christie similarly demurred when asked what his speech Tuesday will be like. “I hope to be charming tomorrow night, Dana. Charming and absolutely disarming. Intelligent and witty. I hope to be all those things,” Christie said. “You can tell me tomorrow night if I achieved it or not.”

It was a mention so brief you might have missed it, but Tom Cotton uttered a name that no other speaker has cited tonight: Pence—as in Donald Trump's newly-minted running mate. “In a Trump-Pence administration and with a Republican Congress, help is on the way,” Cotton said.

It's common for convention speakers to promote the entire ticket, both presidential and vice presidential nominees. But this convention is clearly about Trump and Trump alone, and so perhaps it's not surprising that Pence, who is in the arena tonight, isn't getting much love. He should get some more praise from speakers on Wednesday ahead of his own speech, but the speeches so far seem to confirm that the Indiana governor will take even more of a back seat than running mates of the recent past.

If Donald Trump wants to make the case that he’s the law and order candidate,” then having Tom Cotton speak for him can’t hurt. The Arkansas senator has made a name for himself as a foreign-policy hawk. Not long ago, he declared that the United States has an “under-incarceration problem” at a time when consensus had been building across the political spectrum that over-incarceration was in fact the problem.

At the convention, Cotton suggested that Trump will make America great again by making America more militaristic. He called for a “commander-in-chief who speaks of winning wars,” as opposed to “merely ending” them, a president who “calls the enemy by its name,” and “draws lines carefully, but enforces them ruthlessly.” Cotton advocated for “politicians who treat our common defense as the chief responsibility of our federal government,” and indicated that with Trump in the White House all that could be achieved. “This isn’t much to ask for,” the senator said, after outlining his security wish list, and before concluding: “In a Trump-Pence administration and with a Republican Congress, help is on the way.”

It’s a bit odd to see Cotton speaking up for Trump on the basis of security and defense. As Uri Friedman notes, there are plenty of ways Trump and Cotton diverge when it comes to foreign policy, and the way they believe America should engage with the rest of the world. Yet that hasn’t stopped Cotton from supporting Trump. For now, he seems determined to find common ground, and ignore the ways in which he departs from the nominee. Or maybe the explanation is even more simple: Cotton and Trump have found a common enemy. “It would be nice to have a commander-in-chief who could be trusted to handle classified information," Cotton said, pausing for cheers and applause, as he criticized Hillary Clinton without invoking her name.

Darryl Glenn, a black Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado, finished up a speech full of zingers moments ago, including jabs at Hillary Clinton's pantsuits, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson. “I am an unapologetic Christian constitutionalist conservative,” he declared. His speech may as well have been delivered in the 1990s as today: caricatures of Democrats as the party of hand-outs, condemnations of crime, rejection of the putative progressive spokesmen of “black America.”

What's so strange is how different the “unapologetic Christian constitutionalist conservatives” were two or three decades ago, compared to the party of Trump. It seems doubtful that the small-government-loving, “constitutionalist” conservatives of years past would have supported a candidate who doesn't want to cut Social Security, for example. The labels and words may stay the same. But their meanings have shifted, just like the focus of their party.

Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. just spoke at the RNC, and his message was a turn from the night’s focus on foreign policy, Benghazi, and immigration to his usual talking points on policing, especially his attacks on Black Lives Matter protesters. After past remarks in which he claimed activists would join ISIS and after recent attacks characterizing them as enemies of the country and purveyors of hate, Clarke actually toned down his fiery rhetoric a little, but not much.

Following an introduction in which he received rousing applause for proclaiming that “Blue Lives Matter” in the wake of murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Clarke continued some of his old attacks on anti-police-brutality protesters, celebrating the victory over what he characterized as a “malicious prosecution” in Baltimore after Lieutenant Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges related to the death of Freddie Gray. And he also curiously used a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. in an attack on the practice of civil disobedience. He continued with more critiques. “What we witnessed in Ferguson and Baton Rouge was a collapse of the social order,” Clarke said.

But the rest of his speech avoided the broadsides against activists that he’s used in the past, with the overall message that “the tradition of the primacy of the rule of law in America is strong.” What was left was a pretty boilerplate speech presenting Donald Trump as the candidate of law and order, and also of safety as a “shared endeavor.” In that regard, the speech fits neatly with earlier speeches from parents whose children were victims of alleged crimes by undocumented immigrants. Making America great again as Trump and his supporters see it is making it safe again. Many of Clarke’s favorite targets might disagree on when that ever was.

Texas Representative Michael McCaul is backing Donald Trump.

That may have been obvious, given that the House Homeland Security Committee chairman agreed to speak at the convention tonight. But during his national-security-focused speech, McCaul made it official. “We cannot afford Hillary in the White House again. We need someone who can repair the damage she has done, take the fight to the enemy, and put America first. That man is Donald Trump,” McCaul said. “I am proud to serve as a member of his national security team. And I can tell you this, I can tell you this, Donald will never apologize for American greatness—he will promote it.”

Until this evening, McCaul's view of Trump looked murky. He was critical of Trump's Muslim ban, danced around questions about Trump's anti-terrorism agenda in a recent interview, and hadn't offered an official endorsement. But all that's in the past. As McCaul said in his remarks, “it's time to unify as a party.”

From General Hospital to general assembly: The actor Antonio Sabato Jr. made an appearance at the RNC in Cleveland, even though, he said, “I’ve never considered myself very political.”

The actor isn't really a notable name in tonight's Cleveland line-up—if you can list all the actors from General Hospital's merry-go-round of stars, I invite you to be my lifetime trivia partner—but his comments fit a pattern that's shown up repeatedly during this election: a soft, non-specific invocation of Trump's religious beliefs in testimonies of support for the candidate.

“My belief in this country and my faith in Jesus Christ have compelled me to speak now,” Sabato said. “I believe we need Donald Trump, who shares my beliefs and my faith, to get our country back on track.”

In interviews, Sabato has identified himself as a Christian, using language often associated with non-denominational or evangelical Christians. Trump, a Presbyterian from the mainline tradition, doesn't exactly match that in terms of a model of shared “beliefs and faith.”

But that's besides the point, really. Trump has made many a religious flub this cycle, from his infamous invocation of “Two Corinthians” to his comments about not needing to ask for forgiveness. Sabato's declaration is yet another interesting example of a self-proclaimed Christian not really seeming to care about the details of Trump's faith or Christian know-how, and yet still claiming him as one of his own.

Sabine Durden, another grieving mother, explains her advocacy for Trump. Her son was killed in a motorcycle accident involving an undocumented immigrant, the RNC's schedule reports, and she sees in Trump an ally. “Donald Trump is not only my hero, he's my lifesaver,” Durden said. “Hillary Clinton, or as we know her, Crooked Hillary, always talks about what she will do for illegal aliens and what she will do for refugees.” But Trump “talks about what he will do for America.”

We're switching subthemes here, from the 2012 Benghazi attack to illegal immigration. First up: The family members of a border patrol agent who was killed in 2010, and whose death brought to public attention the Justice Department's Fast and Furious operation. They spoke live from the Arizona-Mexico border, with a wall visible behind them.

Two of the more powerful moments came off script. Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell stopped reading from the teleprompter to urge young Americans to sacrifice for the nation. “I’m so used to speaking from the heart that when I read this it goes wrong. So I’m just going to go, alright?” (Although FiveThirtyEight later reported that the rest of the speech was also on the teleprompter.) A few minutes later, Patricia Smith, the mother of a victim of the Benghazi raid, heard an audience member call Hillary Clinton a liar.  “She sure is. She lied to me then called me a liar,” Smith said, referring to Clinton's denial that she told Smith the raid was the result of outrage over a video. A few minutes later, she nodded at crowd member and said, “That’s right. Hillary for prison. She deserves to be in stripes.”

As the Republican National Convention is underway in Cleveland, Donald Trump spoke to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in a phone interview. Trump previewed his remarks later this week, saying he would focus on “law and order” since it’s “coming up more an more.” But the timing of the interview was bizarre. Simultaneously, Patricia Smith, whose son was killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack, was delivering an emotional speech on the convention stage.

The night's speeches have taken a somber turn. Patricia Smith, whose son Sean was killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack, told the audience that she “blame[s] Hillary Clinton personally” for Sean's death. Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, and in Republican circles has been criticized for her leadership during the attacks. Last year, she was grilled by a House committee for 11 hours on the events in Benghazi, and GOP members of Congress haven't let up their inquiries into her involvement in the months since.

“For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton,” she said. Smith's voice cracked at times as she explained her ire at the presumptive Democratic nominee. “Hillary Clinton is a woman, a mother and a grandmother of two. I am a woman, a mother and a grandmother of two,” she said. “How could she do this to me? How could she do this to any American family? Donald Trump is everything Hillary Clinton is not.” Smith promised that Trump will “kill the terrorists who threaten American lives.”

You might recognize Marcus Luttrell from coverage of his “Lone Survivor” heroics. But you  also might recognize him from Governor Rick Perry's presidential announcement speech. He and his twin brother Morgan stood on either side of Perry as he kicked off his campaign last year, like bodyguards. As Perry said in his introductory remarks, he and Luttrell have been close for years, and Perry has said he considers him a “second son.”

Rick Perry kept it short and sweet—and he avoided talking about Donald Trump. The only nod the former Texas Governor made in the direction of the GOP’s presumptive nominee was to say, at the very end of his remarks, with a promise to make “America Great Again.”

Let’s not forget that Perry once called Trump’s candidacy “a cancer on conservatism” that “must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” Trump has gotten his own jabs in at Perry, too. “He should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate,” Trump tweeted at Perry last July, though of course it is difficult to come up with a more devastating insult than comparing a political opponent to a devastating, and often deadly, illness.

Perry didn’t offer any kind of glowing endorsement for Trump at the convention. But he has already said he will support Trump, and his decision to appear on stage at the convention shows he’s standing firmly in the businessman’s corner.

His dramatic reversal is emblematic of the dilemma that so many high-profile Republicans face this election season. Many of the party’s most promising politicos denounced Trump during the primary season. For those that did, they can either stick with their criticism and risk alienating themselves from voters and the rest of their party. Or, like Perry, they can cave and risk losing credibility.

Donald Trump said he wanted to bring “showbiz” to the Republican National Convention. And, at least based on the first 10 minutes of the night’s speeches, he succeeded. Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson kicked off the night, followed by actor Scott Baio, widely known for his role in Happy Days.

“I want to thank Mr. Trump for asking me to be here tonight. I can't tell you how much of an honor it is to stand up here and talk about a man that I trust with the lives of my family and the health of our country,” Robertson said. “Our country right now is in a very bad spot. You can feel it. You can see it everywhere. There's no stability. Nothing seems right and all the things that we hold dear are being attacked every single day. We cannot go down this road anymore. We need to stop. We need Donald Trump to fix this.”

Who better to kick off an event celebrating a former television star than a current television star? Willie Robertson, star of A&E's Duck Dynasty, gave the night's first speech, dropping plenty of references to his famous family—one of whom, his dad Phil, supported Ted Cruz in the primary.

“We need a president who will have our back. I can promise you this: No matter who you are, Donald Trump will have your back. If you're looking for a job or trying to grow a business like I am, Donald Trump will have your back. If you're a serviceman fighting overseas or a cop who is risking their lives to keep us safe at home, Donald Trump will have your back,” Robertson said. “If you're an average American who feels you've been forgotten, neglected by faraway leaders, that the deck is stacked against you and you just can't win, Donald Trump will have your back.”

“Donald Trump will always tell you the truth as he sees it,” said Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson. The key here is the last half of the sentence: “as he sees it.”

The convention's evening session is starting. I have to imagine these next few hours are the ones the RNC really cares about. This afternoon's drama happened during work hours, when most Americans were tuned out, and organizers can hit reboot for primetime. “It's over, we're onto the program, Melania Trump is going to take the stage tonight, we're going to talk about making America safe again," Sean Spicer, the RNC's communications chief, told CNN a few minutes ago, referring to anti-Trump delegate moves this afternoon.

We’re moments away from the night’s speakers taking the stage, and it’s worth repeating the day’s theme: Make America Safe Again. A spinoff of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, tonight’s speeches will focus on issues like national security and immigration. Survivors of the 2012 Benghazi attack will speak, as well as immigration-reform advocates whose relatives were killed by undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Trump of course has made immigration a staple of his presidential campaign, touting his plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, one that would be paid for by Mexico. (Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox said that would not be the case.) Still, viewers are likely to hear this pledge again.

Trump will also introduce his wife, Melania, tonight, before taking the stage again on Thursday to deliver remarks.

Yoni Appelbaum / The Atlantic

“We’re just trying to educate people,” Tim Alexander told me.

They stood in the slender bar of shade along a wing of Cleveland’s terminal tower, a dozen heavily armed, armored, and tattooed men. Most carried AR-15s; a few had pistols strapped to their belts. A small cluster of police officers from a motley assortment of law enforcement agencies stood a few feet away. Their patches read, “West Ohio Minutemen,” but  they were quick to say it was only a patch. “We’re a bunch of buddies,” Bryon Hennon said.

I asked what he thought of Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, who had asked Governor John Kasich to suspend open carry in Cleveland during the convention. “He needs thrown out of office,” Alexander said.

At the other end of the line stood Seth Taylor. “If someone starts beating on someone or causing violence, I’m not going to stand there and let it happen,” he said, although he quickly clarified that he’d only use a firearm if someone’s life was in danger. “Without the Second Amendment, there is no freedom.” Two young black men stopped by just then. If they didn’t have any felonies, Taylor told them, they, too, could openly carry weapons like these when they were old enough.

They told him they weren’t interested.

On the first day of the GOP convention, one of the only major speakers to have held elected office will be Rudy Giuliani. Also taking the stage will be Melania Trump, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and—in case anyone is worried about an absence of star power—Chachi from Happy Days himself, Scott Baio.

Giuliani is something of a fixture at GOP conventions. He spoke in support of George W. Bush in 2004, famously remarking that on September 11, 2001, “Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneous, I grabbed the arm of then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and I said to him, 'Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president.'” And he spoke at the 2008 convention in support of John McCain, highlighting the candidate’s wartime valor.

But his appearance at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday—with the theme “Make America Safe Again”—could be awkward. After all, with his sights set on Jeb Bush in the run up to the South Carolina primary, Donald Trump faulted George W. Bush for allowing 9/11 to happen on his watch, saying “That’s not keeping us safe.” Trump also said John McCain was “not a war hero.” “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.

Most likely though, Giuliani will find it even easier to praise Trump, the newly self-styled “law and order candidate,” than previous nominees. The two share a certain reflexive view about race in America. And they also share a seeming need to share that view on cable news: Giuliani most recently made waves by criticizing Black Lives Matter on Fox News, calling the protest movement "anti-American" and opining that its name is "inherently racist."

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Giuliani about his comments Monday ahead of his speech and whether he believed they united the country.  “Well, when you do not include that all lives matter, when you take someone like the governor of Maryland and intimidate him after he said all lives matter to say no black lives matter that's dividing the country by race,” Giuliani said.

The former mayor of New York later reflected on his tenure to highlight what he says Republican mayors have done for the African American community. “I put them to work. I got them better educations. I got them better jobs. I reduced crime by 65 percent.” He added: “I think we have the answers.”

Giuliani’s own long history with police and race relations is checkered at best. A CATO report released this month details how he mishandled the 1992 NYPD riots during his mayoral campaign, and ordered an internal report on political liabilities advising him to condemn the “underlying racial nature of the protest” destroyed.

Republicans leaders may have put down the anti-Trump revolt for now, but that doesn’t mean the unrest is over. “You will see more insurgency,” leader of the anti-Trump “Free the Delegates” effort Kendal Unruh told C-SPAN. “This is America, and people should have the sanctity of their vote not threatened, intimidated and coerced out of them,” Unruh said, adding that that the anti-Trump roll call vote effort ran into “strong arm tactics.” Unruh concluded: “The system is rigged in order to make sure that Donald Trump gets this nomination.”

The irony is that Trump has always positioned himself as the populist candidate. In his telling, voters should trust him precisely because he is not part of the political establishment engaging in back room deals. Now that seems to be exactly what the anti-Trump forces are accusing him of. Unruh added ominously: “What they don’t understand is, when you attempt to quell dissension, it only builds up in those that have the dissension. It doesn’t smooth things over. It only makes things explode. Unfortunately, this isn’t over and we’re going to have to hold the party accountable for the way we’ve been treated.”

The convention is in recess until later this evening. The night’s festivities are supposed to kick off just before 8 p.m. ET. The first speaker is supposed to be Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, and as Russell reported earlier, Donald Trump himself will make an appearance to introduce his wife, Melania. Here’s a rough schedule from the Republican National Committee.

How's this for unity: Steve Womack announces that it's time for an official convention photograph. He looks unhappy as he explains the rules for this. “You need to stand completely still. The photograph may be ordered online through the official convention website.” The whole scene is so odd. For a while, the crowd goes silent, but then cries of "roll call vote" are heard.

The chair “found insufficient support” for a roll-call vote, because while nine states filed the proper paperwork, three reportedly withdrew. Reminder: Anti-Trump delegates wanted a roll-call vote to signal their displeasure with the nominee. In their ideal world, delegates would vote down the current rules and replace them with rules that say delegates can vote their conscience.

Going with something that seemed likely to unite, Senator John Barrasso takes the stage and asks, “Who is proud to be an American?” The line gets cheers, but it's clear that the mood at the convention is extremely tense right now.

Steve Womack, a Republican congressman from Arkansas, is currently presiding over the chaos. He does not look happy. In all, the scene is, as Senator Mike Lee said, pretty surreal. Womack is standing at the podium as shouting and yelling continues to echo throughout the arena.

It appears that they are redoing the voice vote: “The chair would remind the hall that it is absolutely critical that we are able to discern the ayes from the nays.” Both sides responded pretty loudly, but “in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it.” Once again, chants for a roll-call vote ring out.

Things turned dramatic quickly. Senator Mike Lee is holding forth for reporters as he explains the demand for a roll call vote on the convention rules. “Not being coy here, I have no idea what's going on right now. This is surreal. The chair walked off the stage. He completely abandoned his post,” Lee said to a group of reporters. “It's strange. This is a political convention.”

The convention floor is chaotic right now, as pro- and anti-Trump delegates scream and yell. Anti-Trump delegates want a roll-call vote on the convention rules. “A majority of the delegates from 11 states have asked for a roll-call vote on the rules. … That’s all we’re wanting,” Utah Senator Mike Lee said from the floor. Another delegate yelled in a mic: “You are ignoring delegates who have been elected to this convention.”

A bit of good news for anti-Trump Republicans: Politico reports that a faction of Republicans who can’t stand the thought of Donald Trump as the GOP presidential nominee appear to have enough support to trigger a vote on convention rules. If the maneuver succeeds, it would only be a minor victory for the Never Trump crowd on its own—and seems poised to be a symbolic show of defiance rather than a substantive threat to Trump. Still, a vote on convention rules agitated for by anti-Trump Republicans would be an unsightly display of discord at a moment when GOP leaders are desperately trying to project a united front. Plus, it goes without saying that such a vote would not sit well with Trump.

Here’s more from Politico’s Kyle Cheney:

[T]he faction would need signatures from the majority of delegates from 7 states or territories. According to documents provided to POLITICO, they have a majority of signatures from 9: Colorado, Washington state, Utah, Minnesota, Wyoming, Maine, Iowa, Virginia and Washington, D.C. …

Submitting those signatures would force a roll call floor vote from all 2,472 delegates to the convention on the Republican National Committee rules that an 112-member panel voted through last week. Those rules required pledged delegates to vote for the candidate dictated by their state’s primary or caucus results, a system that would allow Trump to clear the number of votes he needs for a nomination. The faction is hoping those rules will be voided and replaced with rules that allow delegates to vote their conscience.

While they’re highly unlikely to win the roll call vote, the Never Trump delegates hope to at least draw attention to their cause and, with a large vote count, prove what they've long claimed: that a significant section of the party still doesn't support the presumptive nominee.

City, state, and federal officials have been planning for unrest in Cleveland. They are concerned, in part, that protests outside the Quicken Loans Arena could turn violent. But so far, the demonstrations on Monday seem fairly mild, based on tweets and video from reporters on the ground.

This afternoon, protesters gathered outside a convention center that's less than one mile from the arena.

In the 2 p.m. hour, many were on the move, marching near the convention site.

Protests had already been under way before the convention even got started Monday. Demonstrations kicked off in the city on Sunday, and The New York Times reported that participants didn’t have entirely uniform motivations:

At the height of the protests early Sunday evening, about 200 demonstrators marched down Euclid Avenue in the heart of downtown, stopping traffic and shouting, “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” as they neared Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the convention. The crowd, which was also directing its ire at Donald J. Trump, was circled by police officers in cars and on bicycles and horseback. …

The protesters were animated by both Mr. Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee, and recent violence between the police and civilians. While some protesters spilled into the streets, there were few signs of the violence or mass arrests that the authorities had feared, giving the day a feeling of relative calm before a potential storm, with the convention beginning Monday.

Public demonstrations are expected in Cleveland throughout this week and next week in Philadelphia, where the Democratic National Convention will be held.

One group that stands to profit from the Republican National Convention are the homeowners renting their living spaces on Airbnb. The home sharing website projects more than 1,900 people will book lodging in Cleveland through the service—four times more than normal—over the course of the convention.

As one would expect, most of the guests are from Washington, D.C., followed by New York and Los Angeles. They’re paying around $300 a night, according to the site, for a citywide total of about $1.7 million. (For comparison, the four-star Cleveland Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel normally offers rooms for around $350-$400 a night.) It appears this payout enticed quite a few Airbnb newcomers to list their homes—two-thirds of the hosts are renting for the first time.

That said, Donald Trump has been both a blessing and a curse to would-be innkeepers. Since Trump became the presumptive nominee, bookings have increased eightfold—but cancellations have spiked too, according to Airbnb. The site says the ratio of bookings-to-cancellations has increased 50 percent since Trump secured the nomination, an indication that some convention-goers may have ditched their accommodations when they realized the New York billionaire is the candidate they’d be fêting.

There’s been a lot of talk of 1968 lately. The year witnessed the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., subsequent riots in cities like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and anti-Vietnam War protests.

Now, Trump campaign head Paul Manafort is suggesting that the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee may turn to Richard Nixon’s 1968 Republican National Convention acceptance speech as inspiration for what he will say at the 2016 convention, according to Politico.

So what did Nixon say in his 1968 address, and what was he trying to achieve? Nixon painted a picture of a country in turmoil, describing “cities enveloped in smoke and flame,” and “Americans hating each other; fighting each other; killing each other at home.” He blamed failed leadership, but cast the Republican party as a redemptive force. “America’s in trouble today not because her people have failed but because her leaders have failed,” Nixon said, promising: “We are going to win because at a time that America cries out for the unity that this Administration has destroyed, the Republican Party...stands united before the nation.” “A party that can unite itself will unite America,” Nixon added.

Nixon “wanted to make himself the candidate of law and order without overtly appealing to Southern racists,” presidential historian Richard Norton Smith notes in an introduction to footage of the speech on C-SPAN. “To some degree, Nixon is walking a tightrope here,” Smith says in his analysis, adding that, Nixon was “sending out a conservative message, but a message of thoughtful and inclusive conservatism.”

Trump is also making an appeal to law and order, and has explicitly declared himself the “law and order candidate.” It is not hard to imagine Trump describing Hillary Clinton as an emblem of failed establishment leadership at the convention, especially since he has already done that for some time. That message will certainly appeal to some Americans in a country dissatisfied with the federal government and Washington. It is harder to imagine Trump convincingly making the case that his administration will be a force for unity given the number of prominent Republicans who continue to revolt at the prospect of a Trump presidency.

Roughly 250 miles from Cleveland, Hillary Clinton delivered remarks in Cincinnati at the annual NAACP conference. The event comes after an attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that left three officers dead and three others injured over the weekend. Clinton has commented on this kind of violence several times in recent days.

“This madness needs to stop,” Clinton said on Monday. She emphasized the importance of police and community relations, though noting “that gets harder every time someone else is killed.”

Donald Trump was also invited to the conference, but declined to attend, according to the NAACP. Clinton has accused Trump of fueling divisions in the country. Last week, in a speech in Springfield, Illinois, she said, “this man is the nominee of the party of Lincoln. We are watching it become the party of Trump.”

Black voters buoyed Clinton’s presidential run throughout the primary season. On Monday, she reiterated her commitment to criminal-justice reform, saying police departments should be held accountable for violence in cities like Ferguson and obtain “accurate data on in-custody deaths.”

As I type this, a band on the convention stage has just concluded their performance of The Turtles’ 1967 song “Happy Together,” which followed a prayer and other opening-ceremony rituals. The lyrics seem tailored to the moment, which has the GOP putting a brave face on for the sake of party unity—and for the sake of party victory in the fall:

If I should call you up, invest a dime
And you say you belong to me and ease my mind
Imagine how the world could be, so very fine
So happy together …

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they tossed the dice, it had to be
The only one for me is you and you for me
So happy together

It has begun. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus just kicked off the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. After welcoming delegates to the convention, Priebus called for a moment of silence. He asked the crowd that had gathered to “take a moment to recognize the fallen police officers in Baton Rouge, Dallas, and elsewhere, the men and women who protect our safety and well-being, who put their lives on the line everyday,” calling them “genuine heroes.” Priebus added: “We also want to recognize all the families who have lost loved ones during these troubling times.” America “grieves when we see these awful killings,” he said.

On the opening day of the Republican National Convention, the Clinton camp released a re-creation of a 1964 anti-Goldwater ad, “Confessions of a Republican.” Originally a Lyndon Johnson campaign ad, the one-minute video shows a man expressing his frustrations with the Republican party.

“Look, I was a Republican who voted for Eisenhower and Nixon, my father was a Republican, his father was, the whole family was,” he says. “But Donald Trump, he’s a different kind of man, this man scares me.” He later adds: “I’ve thought about just not voting, but you can’t do that. That’s saying you don’t care who wins and I do care. I think the party is about to make a terrible mistake in Cleveland and I’m going to have to vote against that mistake on the eighth of November.”

The ad echoes that from 1964, in which the man also called Goldwater a “different kind of a man,” adding “this man scares me.” As some pointed out on Twitter, the man in the ad is the same one from the 1964 ad. In an instant, a viewer can catch that in a quick flash frame.

As I wrote in my article, “What Does It Mean to Be a Republican?” earlier this year, “Trump’s candidacy is complicating the relationship between party identification and party allegiance within the GOP.” Republicans appeared divided about abstaining from voting in November or writing in someone else’s name. Barry Goldwater was similarly a divisive candidate and the resurrection for the 1964 ad highlights a similar moment in 2016.

There’s an irony in the Clinton campaign releasing the ad. Clinton was a “Goldwater Girl” herself, supporting the 1964 Republican presidential candidate even though she was too young to vote when he ran. And in her first year at Wellesley College, she joined the Young Republicans Club. Clinton has used her past ties to conservatism to court Republicans. As the Republican party seeks to show its unity in the coming days, Clinton seems to be trying to remind voters of the fractures within the party.

A good rule of thumb in politics is that the more a party leader or campaign official has to say “We are unified,” the less unified the party actually is. So it was on Monday morning as Paul Manafort addressed reporters to preview this week’s convention schedule. The question of unity dominated the briefing, and Manafort gamely tried to convince the press corps—against plenty of evidence to the contrary—that the Republican party is not convening in Cleveland in the midst of a civil war. “The party is unified,” Manafort said at one point. At another, he conceded that, OK, maybe it’s not quite there yet: “We think the party is getting unified.”

Yet much like the candidate he serves, Manafort undermined his argument with other comments in the span of a few minutes. He was asked to reconcile his claim of unity with the fact that so many Republican luminaries, including the entire Bush family, are skipping the convention and withholding their support for Donald Trump. While acknowledging that the campaign would have liked to have the backing of the Bushes, Manafort added a swipe that the Bush family is “part of the past. We’re dealing with the future and the issues that are related to the future.”

The campaign chairman also did not back off comments he made earlier Monday morning that the decision of Ohio Governor John Kasich not to speak at the convention was “embarrassing.” “We invited him. We wanted him to participate,” Manafort said. “He chose not to, and we think that was the wrong decision.”

In truth, the disunity in the GOP ranks has been too obvious for even the Trump campaign to ignore. The candidate himself said a major reason he selected conservative Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate was for “party unity.” And on Monday, Manafort said unity would be one of four major themes of the prime-time speaking schedule this week. As for the others, he said the many members of the Trump family speaking during the four nights would offer up a biography of the real estate tycoon, and other speeches would focus on an “indictment” of the Obama legacy and an “indictment” of Hillary Clinton, both personally and politically. (The use of the word “indictment” was surely no accident, serving as a none-too-subtle reminder of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server.)

There was little doubt, however, that the primary goal for Republicans here in Cleveland is to repair a breach that Trump deepened—and exploited—to win a nomination that many in the party still can’t believe is his. “Conventions are a healing time. They’re not a time when everything is finally done,” Manafort said. “We feel, however, that the healing is happening and when we leave here, by and large, it’s going to be a united Republican party.”

There are many prominent Republicans skipping this week's convention in Cleveland, choosing family time or foreign trips over rallying around their party's divisive nominee. But there's perhaps no one whose absence will be more conspicuous than that of Ohio Governor John Kasich, whose state is hosting the big event.

For months Kasich has refused to endorse Donald Trump, his onetime competitor in the presidential race. As I reported last week, Kasich has chosen to withhold his support until Trump adopts a more civil tone. “I don’t like when he’s attacking and putting people down,” he told Anderson Cooper in the spring. “I’ve made it clear that I need to see a positive approach. And, you know, if there’s one not forthcoming, you know, it’s gonna be a real problem for me to endorse.” Because he's not backing Trump, Kasich won't be attending the convention at all, not even to give the welcome speech that hosting governors typically give. Though he'll be in town, he's channeling his energy elsewhere. “He will have a robust schedule outside the convention hall,” a Kasich spokesman told CNN. “He is focused on supporting Senate, House, and other down-ballot candidates.”

His stubbornness hasn't been lost on the Trump campaign, which had reportedly lobbied Kasich and his team in recent weeks to get the governor on board. Ohio is a crucial swing state in the general election, and Kasich is well liked at home. Having him on Trump's side could encourage anti-Trump Ohio Republicans to give the nominee a second look.

By Monday morning, though, it was clear relations had soured even more. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign head, told MSNBC's Morning Joe Kasich was “making a big mistake.”

“He's hurting his state. He's embarrassing his state, frankly,” said Manafort, who was reportedly involved in the Kasich lobbying effort. “Most of the Republicans who aren't coming are people who have been part of the past. And the people who are part of the future of the Republican Party are, frankly, going to be here participating in the program.” Of course, in withholding his support, Kasich is banking on Manafort getting that wrong.

Delegates here in Cleveland will get to see Donald Trump take the stage at the RNC much earlier than expected. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chief, told reporters at a press conference opening the convention that the GOP presumptive nominee will introduce his wife Melania before her prime-time speech on Monday night. “He wanted to be here for the speech,” Manafort said.

Afterward, the Trumps will fly back to New York before returning to Cleveland on Wednesday ahead of his address formally accepting the nomination to close the convention Thursday night. Ever the attention-seeker, Trump at one point had talked about speaking at the convention all four nights, but the final plans have shifted to a somewhat more traditional schedule. In the most recent conventions, nominees have made brief appearances on stage before their formal speeches, but Trump tonight is likely to be the first in some years to actually address the convention in advance.

I flew into the Cleveland area from Atlanta. From 37,000 feet up, the differences between red and blue America are clearly visible, inscribed on the land itself. The plane carried me over Ohio’s Butternut country, with its rugged hills. The farms here stand by themselves on irregular plots, carved out of the wilderness at the beginning of the 19th century by fiercely independent settlers moving north from the border states. They came seeking land, and the security from dependence that it promised to confer.

They brought their crops with them, too—notably, tobacco, barreled up and shipped by river to distant markets. The towns that grew up in this region had a somewhat haphazard look, with courthouses at their center and houses popping up along the roads leading out.

Connecticut Yankees settled the land around Cleveland two centuries ago, as part of that state’s Western Reserve. They planted orchards and corn, but they also planted towns—dense, nucleated settlements. Some, like Cleveland, grew into thriving, multi-ethnic cities. The Yankees were soon joined by the Germans, Irish, English, Jews, Canadians, and Scots. This part of the state favored a government that could provide infrastructure and public education.

They brought their three-bay barns and their gabled houses, and their towns built around a common or square. They set up dairy farms, serving nearby settlements. Even today, from the air, the farms of northeastern Ohio form a neat patchwork quilt, speckled with cities and towns, often with green rectangles still at their core.

Trump didn’t carry the state in the Republican primary, losing to Governor John Kasich. But he did carry a swath of counties along its edge eastern and southern edges—economically struggling, culturally distinct. Most of these areas were first settled from Appalachia, and from Southern states. Kasich’s support was concentrated in metropolitan areas—Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. And he carried much of the old Western Reserve.

The Republican National Convention is in Cleveland. It’s a city that voted for Kasich, and will almost certainly vote for Hillary Clinton. But then, almost all of America’s largest cities seem likely to vote for Hillary in November. Ohio is a richly diverse and complicated state—more intricate and complex than these broad generalizations allow. But it’s also as divided as the rest of the country; if anything, it’s more evenly split. So Trump’s challenge this week is to chart a path forward. They may love him in the Butternut country. But unless he can win over some more substantial portion of the old Western Reserve and the state’s metropolitan areas, he seems likely to lose the state a second time this fall.