It’s become clear that, barring any extraordinary developments, the Republican National Convention isn’t going to be contested this year. But it’s going to be an historic event regardless, as the party itself is experiencing a rift of potentially fatal proportions. If you find the idea of witnessing this event appealing, you’re probably wondering: Can I go to the Republican National Convention?
It depends on who you are, but in all likelihood, you can’t. The convention is closed to the public, according to the website of the official host committee, which means that unless you’re a delegate, a candidate, or a member of the press, you’re probably not going to be let inside the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
It’s safe to say that this year’s GOP convention will be a lively one. There will almost certainly be protests, for one, and Donald Trump supporters have a tendency to physically attack protesters. Unfortunately, it’s not at all unlikely that there will be some manner of violence at the convention. There’s also the fact that there will be a ton of nudity outside of the arena: New York artist Spencer Tunick plans to stage a photo shoot of 100 naked women outside the convention.
The convention is expected to be so raucous that the Greensboro Police Department canceled its plans to send 50 officers to help with security, as the police department determined that its officers wouldn’t be adequately prepared for the proceedings. The U.S. Secret Service will provide the bulk of the security for the event, with assistance from the FBI and local police.
For a period of time, it looked like the Republican convention was going to be contested; that would have been the first contested convention in either party since 1952. But that didn’t happen. Donald Trump ended up winning the majority of delegates in the primaries, which means he’ll win a majority of votes on the first ballot and become the Republican presidential nominee.
But Trump’s ascendency in the GOP could prove more harmful to the party than a contested convention ever would be, because his success has exposed an enormous ideological chasm between the moneyed Republican establishment — donors, elected officials, strategists, and business leaders — and the party’s grassroots. The Republican establishment would prefer that the party focus on economic issues, primarily keeping tax rates low for the richest Americans. The grassroots, meanwhile, seem to care primarily about flexing nationalist muscles and subjugating people of color.
It’s far too soon to say what will result from this rift. But whatever it is, it will have begun in earnest at the 2016 Republican National Convention.