GOP convention alternate delegate Jonathan Hoffman of James Island is writing a daily guest blog from Cleveland this week. He can be reached at
email@example.com and via Twitter @hoffmanforsc
So one full day is in the books and it was an interesting one.
On Monday afternoon and evening we were witness to both the contentious convention rules vote and Melania Trump’s anticipated speech. The rules debate in the hall was a less than ten minute distraction that was resolved to the satisfaction of at least 80 percent of the attendees and seems likely to result in nothing more than an historic convention footnote.
Melania’s late night speech was incredibly well received by most of the delegates (note that no one was live checking her prose inside Quicken Loans Arena). She has delivered few remarks publicly so delegates were interested to see how she performed. And while the cable news echo chamber may have been critical (for good reason), that sentiment was not shared in the “Q” during her speech.
It was questioned by some delegates why Melania was scheduled on a night where the theme of each and very single other speaker on “Make America Safe Again” night was safety and security.
On the social agenda we had a group breakfast where we heard from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who gave his standard stump speech. Pollster Frank Luntz talked about messaging and polling. His remarks were both enlightening and depressing.
Luntz noted the lack of optimism in the country runs across all political and economic classes. He also touched on the appalling lack of support for capitalism by younger Americans. He was funny and politically biased, and the delegation loved him.
For lunch we had a tailgate party at the Cleveland Brown’s stadium with the other Southern delegations. There was no Chick-fil-a, Bojangles, sweet tea or the playing of “Tiger Rag,” so I am not sure if it technically qualified as a tailgate.
From a security perspective, protestors are all over the city. The police have intervened with a few who were wearing masks and acting suspiciously (in addition to just being an adult wearing a child’s mask).
Despite the efforts of many protestors to force the police into a physical altercation, the coalition of police forces have been amazingly restrained. I have seen protestors yell at cops from four feet away for 20 minutes at a time. I have seen protestors refuse to move out of lanes of traffic or entrances. But for now the protestors are outnumbered and out-organized by the police. We’ll see if that changes later in the week.