As we count down to T-Day — the day when Donald Trump will be formally nominated for president by the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — one might think that we at least know what day that will be. One would be wrong. In the same way that so many simple questions about this election elicit surprisingly complex answers, trying to pinpoint when during the convention the delegates will officially give Trump his benediction is actually really hard. And somewhat surprisingly, it's not because — or not just because — there's an anti-Trump cohort trying to keep him from becoming the nominee by letting delegates vote for whichever candidate they like, not the ones to whom they are bound.
The big reason we don't know yet when Trump will become the official nominee is that his campaign hasn’t made its schedule public yet. Even though Trump promised that his campaign would make public the list of speakers and events for the convention last week, at the time of this writing, there was still no schedule forthcoming. Even looking at the official Republican National Convention app, which has a button which promises a schedule, leads you to a message of “Official Schedule Coming Soon...” It is reminiscent of a comical “We’re experiencing technical difficulties” title card.
Still, with the absence of many notable GOP luminaries — none of the living former Republican presidents will be in attendance, for starters — the question quickly becomes how they're going to fill all that stage time in Cleveland. That question too could potentially impact how and when the final roll call vote that will seal Trump as the party's official presidential nominee occurs.
We can’t even look to previous conventions for clues. One would think the nomination happens on the last day of the convention as a grand finale, but that hasn't necessarily been the case in recent years. In 2012, the roll call vote for Mitt Romney’s nomination was held on Tuesday — not the final day, Thursday. However, this alteration in the typical convention agenda was made because of rescheduling due to Tropical Storm Isaac. In 2008, the official nomination of John McCain was on a Wednesday. At the moment, it seems that the only thing that’s certain is that when (or if) Trump is officially nominated, it will happen sometime between Monday and Thursday next week. We’ll all just have to stay tuned.