The 2016 Republican National Convention is in Cleveland from Monday to Thursday. Here are 15 things you should know about the big event:
A Trump coronation: Donald Trump is virtually guaranteed to win his party’s nomination after an alliance of GOP stalwarts and Trump supporters outlasted what remained of the resistance movement in a marathon rules committee session. Some Trump opponents are still holding out hope for a miracle. Miracle or not, it would probably take some type of supernatural effort to deny him the nomination at this point.
How it works: Voters don’t actually directly nominate candidates to head their party’s ticket. Instead, they vote for delegates who are responsible for picking the nominees. Trump months ago clinched the 1,237 delegates he needs to win, though many Republicans are still skeptical of the free-wheeling businessman.
The GOP platform: Before most of the delegates arrived, a small group of Republican stalwarts cobbled together a platform that has Trump’s stamp of approval. The staunchly conservative document bars military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source and strikes any mention of “LGBT.”
The running mate runner-up: Trump picked Pence over former Georgia lawmaker Newt Gingrich, who has still been promised a role in a Trump administration. Gingrich also landed a prime speaking spot on Wednesday evening, just before Pence’s speech.
Other convention speakers: The rest of the convention speaker list is not exactly studded with stars. Many of the party’s brightest luminaries and best-known leaders are skipping the event or playing an understated role, and former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow turned down a speaking invite. But several Trump relatives are speaking, as are a few celebrities and allies of the presumptive nominee.
A tight cordon: Roughly one-third of Cleveland’s police force will be assigned to convention duties, and local officials expect up to 50,000 visitors, as well as a constant stream of raucous protests. The U.S. Secret Service is in charge of security at the event, and several states, including Georgia, are sending state troopers to help.
Get ready for protests: Cleveland officials are getting prepared for unruly visitors and have drawn up plans for mass arrests if protests get out of hand. White supremacist organizations, black nationalist factions and religious splinter groups are among the protesters expected to rally outside the Cleveland arena where the delegates will convene.
Who’s not going: The roster of who is skipping the convention is almost as notable as who is attending. The party’s two living ex-presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, won’t be attending, nor will former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Also absent will be the party’s two past presidential nominees, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Kasich’s role: Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the last Trump opponent to drop out of the race, and he still hasn’t warmed up to the businessman. He’s maintained a low profile since pulling out of the race and expects to steer clear of most of the proceedings.
Troubled finances: A growing list of corporate behemoths and prominent conservatives pulled out of sponsorships for the event, forcing Republican organizers to ask casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to front them about $6 million to fund the convention. In all, the party promised to spend about $64 million to bring the convention to Cleveland.
A big bang: For all the financial trouble and security concerns, the convention is big business for Cleveland retailers. It’s expected to carry an estimated $200 million economic impact for the city, which estimates that 21,000 hotel rooms have been reserved.
A Democratic response: Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee will be in Cleveland, too, running a “counterconvention” they’re calling “Better Than This.” The anti-Trump convention will be held less than a mile from where the GOP gathering takes place.
Parties galore: Don’t think for a minute that all delegates do is listen to speechifying. Their schedules are packed with glitzy fundraisers and parties hosted by heavyweight law firms and corporations. Republican officials estimate there are about 1,200 events scheduled around the convention.