The second day of the Republican Convention looked to focus on the subject of jobs and employment. The official theme of “Make America Work Again” saw two more members of the Trump family take the stage amongst a varied cast of speakers.
After the opening day of action which set the pace for the convention, day two faced a difficult task here in Cleveland. Attempting to follow up the drama of day one could be compared to British politics following the commotion of the last handful weeks in and around Westminster (although from what we hear the Labour party are doing their best).
Nevertheless, this is a national party convention and there is always a story or two to be told.
Protests and demonstrations are a staple part of the convention season. Under the heightened security of the United States at present the fear over the protests has escalated. Likewise the presence of groups with very contrasting views has caused concern.
Under a blanket of heavy law enforcement, protests have taken place at Cleveland Public Square throughout the opening days of the convention. On arrival at the scene of the protests anxiety and tension could easily be felt. Those protesting were ringed by uniformed officers accompanied by police horses and bike units, which are being deployed across the city.
The protests themself appear on the relatively peaceful and small side with no mass confrontations with law enforcement or conflicting activists. In addition to the visible police in the area a small number of citizens formed their own line armed with rifles. The member of this group that we spoke to highlighted that they were their to ensure public safety and protestors constitutional right to protest in a peaceful manner.
The occasional protestor was deemed to have been acting overly proactively and removed from the area by police. On the most part the scenes in the square whilst unruly showed no signs of become violent.
Some at the demonstrations simply were there to spread their own message: peace. The majority of the people voicing their view throughout the convention are clearly passionate to campaign for their cause. Donning a unique look and handing out flowers the needle in this haystack of passive aggression felt the police were doing a good job managing the protests in light of recent events across the United States.
The grand procession
Over at the Quicken Loans Arena the Republicans continued to play around with tradition. Going against the pre-planned schedule, the Tuesday session began with the roll call of delegates for the presidential nomination.
The results of the state primaries have been known for sometime, but Donald Trump only officially became the nomination after Tuesday night’s events in Cleveland. As characters of habit and routine the delegate roll call remains one of the big moments of the convention week.
From California all the way across to Florida each of the United States, as well as the territories, delivered their delegates nomination. The processional process triggers comparisons to the results process of the Eurovision song contest. After thanking the convention for the floor, the designated speaker reminds delegates of their regions uniqueness. In some cases this referred to sporting success. Ohio drawing prominence on the success of the host city’s basketball side who won the NBA Championship just a few weeks ago. Others favoured a softer line. Washington confirming their position of the christmas tree state (delegates donning head dress to accompany this claim). The 12 points go to Donald J. Trump!
The main moment of the event came from the New York state delegation. With New York delegate Donald Trump Jr on the mic it seemed beyond coincidental that the confirmation of Donald J. Trump’s nomination was delivered by his son. Trump Sr was “over the top” and wild scenes commenced in the Quicken Loans Arena.
The remaining states gave their declarations as the roll call drew to its conclusion. It had been a few hours controversy free, but the Alaskan delegation prevented the evening drifting by in an orderly fashion. The state claimed that their declaration had been incorrectly recorded by the Republican party. This was swiftly dealt with by the rules committee before the evening’s speeches commenced on the subject of work.
Delivering a message
Brain surgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson provided much material for the media drifting wildly off script at length talking about Lucifer in comparisons to Hillary Clinton in the sessions headline speech. For a summary of his at times complex speech I recommend visiting here.
Speeches also came from Trump family members. On this occasion his daughter Tiffany and Donald Trump Jr after his teaser on the delegation floor. Much like Melania’s Monday address, albeit without the allegations of plagiarism, both Trumps delivered passionate messages on their father’s suitability for the White House.
Day two at the convention for some time focused more on what came before than what lay in waiting. The lack of big name political speakers or even top level celebrities are seeing this convention plod from a rock to a hard place and back again with very little political policy discussion.
In the UK there are concerns that politicians divert off track and do not explain their policies to the electorate. The Republican Convention however is taking this to a frighteningly new level and I cannot see that changing in the second half of the convention.