Thursday Reads: The Trump Convention Approaches

Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, 2008

Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, 2008

Good Morning!!

The next two weeks will be fascinating ones for political junkies. The Republican Convention begins on Monday, July 18 in Cleveland, and just a week later on July 25 the Democratic Convention will be held in Philadelphia. The list of speakers for the GOP Convention was released this morning.

The Washington Post: Republican convention’s ‘non-conventional’ list: Model, astronaut and Trump clan.

Donald Trump’s convention will feature an eclectic mix of cultural figures, from the first woman to command a space shuttle mission to the survivors of the 2012 Benghazi attacks to an underwear model.

But while several Republican Party establishment figures will take the stage next week in Cleveland, the national convention to officially nominate Trump will be devoid of some of the GOP’s most seasoned leaders and brightest new stars.

Republican officials released a long-awaited list of convention speakers on Thursday that are billed as “non-conventional speakers” who emphasize “real world experience.”

Barry Goldwater and William Miller at the 1964 GOP Convention in San Francisco

Barry Goldwater and William Miller at the 1964 GOP Convention in San Francisco

A small number of elected officials and former office-holders have agreed to speak at Trump’s convention, including Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Huckabee, Rick Scott, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Jeff Sessions, Joni Ernst, and Asa Hutchison. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is not included in the list of speakers. It’s not clear whether that means he will be the VP nominee or if there is some reason he won’t be speaking. Another notable omission from the speakers list is Sarah Palin.

The unusual collection of non-political speakers seems designed to broaden Trump’s appeal. They include retired astronaut Eileen Collins, the first woman pilot and first woman commander of a space shuttle mission; Mark Geist and John Tiegen, two survivors of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya; and Antonio Sabato Jr., a former Calvin Klein underwear model, soap-opera actor and reality-television star.

Some sports figures will take the stage here, including pro golfer Natalie Gulbis and Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White. But some sporting heroes of decades past that Trump has said he would like to see at the convention — former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight and boxing legend Don King — are not listed as featured speakers.

Thomas E. Dewey at the 1948 Republican Convention

Thomas E. Dewey at the 1948 Republican Convention

Trump family members and close friends will also speak at the convention.

The Cleveland convention will be orchestrated to help expand Trump’s appeal to the general electorate. To that end, several member of Trump’s family are expected to give speeches, including his wife, Melania, and his four oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany.

In addition, other speakers who have known Trump and his family through the years plan to take the stage. They include Haskel Lookstein, a rabbi in New York who converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism; Tom Barrack, a wealthy California-based investor who has worked with Donald Trump on real estate deals; and Kerry Woolard, the general manager of Trump Winery in Virginia.

See a full list of GOP convention speakers at and a tentative schedule of events at Newsday.

In contrast to the weak list of GOP convention speakers, the Democratic Convention speakers list is star-studded. The Washington Post:

The Democratic National Convention is likely to open with a showcase of some of the party’s biggest stars, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and first lady Michelle Obama, according to a source with knowledge of the convention planning.

Although the speaking schedule isn’t yet set in stone, the jam-packed Monday night is also expected to include Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) will introduce Warren in Philadelphia.

Sanders’s name will be entered into the nomination, prompting a roll call vote of delegates for both candidates.

Percy Sutton nominates Shirley Chisholm at the 1972 Democratic Convention

Percy Sutton nominates Shirley Chisholm at the 1972 Democratic Convention

As we all expected Sanders will continue trying to get as much attention as he can for as long as he can.

According to another source familiar with the convention planning, the night’s theme will be an economic agenda focused on families. The list of speakers is intended to highlight the unity of the Democratic Party in contrast to the Republican convention that will have come the week before.

The night’s programming, including the speakers and videos, will drive home the theme of Clinton’s campaign, “Stronger together,” by highlighting a populist economic agenda.

The convention speaking list is coming together this week, and more speakers are likely to be formally announced as early as this week.

Presumably, speakers also will include President Obama and former President Clinton as well as rising stars in the party.

The Trump campaign announced yesterday that the presumptive GOP nominee will name his Vice Presidential running mate tomorrow morning at 11AM in New York City. The exact location hasn’t been announced yet. NPR reports: Trump Wraps Up Vice President Auditions, Sets Friday Announcement.

The deadline for a decision comes after the presumptive GOP presidential nominee wrapped up both public tryouts and private meetings with the three men believed to be among the finalists — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

After he campaigned with Pence in Indiana Tuesday evening, Trump his family met with Pence at his Indiana home on Wednesday morning, according toNBC News, while Gingrich and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions also flew to Indianapolis to meet with Trump. Christie met with Trump and his family on Tuesday.

Pence, who gave a tepid endorsement to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz before his state’s primary, was more gleefully on board with Trump’s campaign on Tuesday night as he introduced him at a rally in Westfield.

“Donald Trump gets it,” Pence told the crowd. “Donald Trump hears the voice of the American people.” ….

Of the three presumed vice presidential finalists, Pence was the only one who gave a direct introduction for Trump before he came to the stage. Trump also campaigned with Christie on Monday in Virginia and with Gingrich last week in Ohio.

Trump praised Pence at the end of what was a meandering speech — attacking rival Hillary Clinton often but also wandering off into other topics such as immigration and trade and back again.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be your governor or your vice president, who the hell knows!” Trump told the crowd, referring to Pence.

Richard Nixon at the 1968 Republican Convention

Richard Nixon at the 1968 Republican Convention

Yeah, who the hell knows? This horrifying man is actually running for president. The other top VP candidates are supposedly Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, and Newt Gingrich. TA Frank weighed in on each of these choices at The Atlantic: It’s down to four, but does any candidate offer even a smidgen of hope?

At this point, Trump needs a running mate who amplifies his strengths and, possibly, goes some way toward remedying some of the candidate’s most serious weaknesses: erratic behavior, lack of experience, inadequate grasp of history, and almost zero policy chops. He or she needs to believe what Trump believes—but in a way that suggests there will be an adult in the room. Trump’s vice president is likely to be powerful in the White House, so the pick is about a lot more than campaigning. The question remains, however, whether any of the final four offer a glimmer of hope.

Some excerpts from Frank’s assessments of the top four candidates.

Newt Gingrich

Even in the wake of reports that Fox News and Gingrich have parted ways, perhaps to allow him to be vetted for the post, I still do not think this V.P. possibility is for real. Even Trump has said about Gingrich that “Newt is Newt.” That’s what you say about someone whom you accept despite major flaws. As in: Kanye is Kanye. That sort of stuff. And remember that “erratic” thing that we were trying to remedy? Gingrich is not your man for that.

John Kennedy at the 1960 Democratic Convention

John Kennedy at the 1960 Democratic Convention

Mike Pence

Yes, Pence campaigned with Trump this week in Indianapolis and sang his praises. But he seemed about as believable in his Trump-love as Paul Ryan. O.K., he did a little better than that. At least he wants Trump to win, maybe.

But Mike Pence has a fan club of roughly four, and all four have the last name Pence. This is someone who has the capability to be bungling and divisive on dumb social issues—by all accounts pleasing no one in his management of a religious-liberty law in Indiana, which means he angers social liberals, social moderates, and social conservatives. To be fair, that does leave the apathetic or uninformed.

Chris Christie

We’ve been through this. Christie is, I will admit, an excellent retail politician. He’s a superb attack dog. He’s a social moderate. You like him, and he likes you, or thinks he does. But he’s got that bridge scandal to deal with and no one respects him after he turned into a courtier. Trump’s ticket would become the stuff of comedy. Picture it. Now picture it as a silhouette.

Protesters forming a human pyramid in Chicago's Grant Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention

Protesters forming a human pyramid in Chicago’s Grant Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention

Jeff Sessions

Here, I must bring up one more crucial vulnerability of Trump: the suspicion that he doesn’t really mean a lot of the things that he says. It’s all pandering: on immigration, on trade, on budgets, on health care, etc. That’s one more reason why Jeff Sessions would pack a punch: Sessions represents Trumpism without Trump. Selecting him as a running mate would signal that Trump actually means what he’s saying.

Read more from TA Frank at the link.

I can’t resist including this assessment of Trump’s VP choices from Gawker: Which of His Potential Vice Presidential Candidates Is Donald Trump Just Fucking With? Check it out at that link.

So . . . what do you think? Will you be watching next week’s GOP clusterf#ck? What other stories are you following today?

92 Comments on “Thursday Reads: The Trump Convention Approaches”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Enjoy your Thursday, Sky Dancers!

  2. bostonboomer says:


    • bostonboomer says:

      huuuuuge mistake.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Indy Star has just confirmed it.

        Gov. Mike Pence is Donald Trump’s VP pick

        • Beata says:

          Pence’s official schedule as governor shows he has nothing happening tomorrow in Indiana.

          First he takes Manhattan.

          • Beata says:

            I thought it would be Christie. Good thing I’m not a betting man.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            He almost got Indiana boycotted right out of the United States of America. Now N.C. is working on it.

      • Beata says:

        I love this quote from The Atlantic in BB’s post:

        “But Mike Pence has a fan club of roughly four, and all four have the last name Pence.”

        LOL. So true.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Feed the birds, trumppence a bag,
        Trumppence, trumppence, trumppence a bag

      • janicen says:

        Honestly, I think it’s a smart move for Trump. Pence is a crazed Christian and that will appeal to the fanatics who didn’t feel they could vote for Trump. They’ll hold their noses and vote for Pence and that will be good enough for them.

        • Beata says:

          Maybe. I don’t know how appealing Pence will be even with Evangelicals. Pence’s approval numbers in Indiana are bad. The Indiana GOP establishment is glad to see him out of the governor’s race since there was a good chance Pence would lose his seat to a Democrat, John Gregg, who is a ringer for Wilford Brimley but without the charisma. Now the state GOP hopes Mitch Daniels will run for governor again.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I don’t think so, Janice. Pence isn’t very smart and he tends to be a bungler. He was desperate for the VP, because he likely couldn’t win reelection after the shit he has pulled.

          • janicen says:

            Thanks to both you and Beata. It’s essential to get the local perspective. From where I’m sitting, I thought it would win over evangelicals but apparently not. That’s good to hear. I’m now wondering if he didn’t just throw that out as a feeler to see which way the wind was blowing with this choice. It’s not beneath Trump to float the story to social media hoping he’d get some free campaign consultant advice. He may just pick someone else if it turns out Pence is as unpopular as you say. Frankly, I’d support getting Mike Pence away from governing Indiana any way at all.

      • Fannie says:

        Looks like Trump is competing with French Terrorist, and put his VP on hold. John Kerry on the other hand was the first to speak out.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Carla Hayden Confirmed To Head Library Of Congress

    She’s the first woman and the first African American to hold the position.

    • Fannie says:

      TY sharing.

    • Beata says:

      She’s also a professional librarian! That is rare indeed for the Librarian of Congress. They are usually historians with no degree in library science ( and always male in a profession that is still largely female ). The American Library Association ( the oldest and largest library association in the world ) has been calling for the Library of Congress to be run by an actual librarian for decades now. I remember it being discussed at ALA conferences when I was a student. I’m glad it has finally happened. About time.

      • NW Luna says:

        Well deserved choice! Librarians are really important.

        • Beata says:

          The ALA lobbied hard for the selection of Carla Hayden. It has been 60 years since a professional librarian has been Librarian of Congress!

  4. ANonOMouse says:

  5. Beata says:

    In the last thread I predicted Hillary will choose Tom Vilsack as her VP. Don’t put money on that. I always pick losers.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I think she will pick Tim Kaine.

      • Beata says:

        Aren’t they the same guy? I don’t believe I have ever seen them together. Proof.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        My personal choices would be, Corey Booker or Elizabeth Warren. I love Xavier Becerra because he’s a wonderful blend of brains,beauty and Latino, but his name recognition is zero.

        • Beata says:

          Mouse, all of those choices are great ones. My personal choice would be Sherrod Brown but that would mean the loss of a Democratic seat in the Senate. We need control of the Senate so Hillary can get her Supreme Court nominees confirmed.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            I love Sherrod too, but OHIO!!! We can’t lose that seat. And I understand the reluctance over Warren and Booker with Republican Governors. Vilsack, is safe and Kaine is safe. So it will probably be one or the other.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I would love to see Mike Pence debate Al Franken.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Xavier Becerra, Congressman California, 58 years old, Latino, Smart, He hits all of the right notes, but I think he’s only been in the Congress for 3 years. Before that he was in the California State Legislature for 20 years. They threw him into the fire on Fox News Sunday two weeks ago and he was excellent.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Al Franken is brilliant he’d rip Pence to shreds.

          • Beata says:

            I think overall Vilsack helps the ticket more than Kaine does. He’s still popular in Iowa ( a key state ). He will appeal to Midwestern voters in general, especially those in small towns and rural areas. He’s a native of Pittsburgh so he could do well in Pennsylvania ( another key state ). Another plus is his “common touch”. He’s not an Ivy League guy.

        • Beata says:

          Oh, my yes! Becerra is quite the looker! And very smart.

          Both Becerra and Franken should be key surrogates for Hillary ( Ed Rendell is a little past his expiration date, IMO ) but I don’t see either of them as VP.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Yep……When an old Lesbian looks at a man and goes Yowza, he’s pretty. 🙂

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I hope she picks Sherrod Brown, he would help a lot in the Midwest and PA.

        • Beata says:

          Sherrod Brown is definitely my first choice for VP but I think Hillary wants him in the Senate.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    Pence’s Qualifications

    1. He has real hair
    2. He pales beside Donald, literally
    3. He is white
    4. He is a man
    5. His birth certificate says he’s a man
    6. He speaks English almost fluently
    7. He isn’t Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie
    8. He is an American
    9. He isn’t a Muslim
    10. He isn’t LGBT

  7. bostonboomer says:


    • pdgrey says:

      That was incredible.

      • Fannie says:

        This should be shared everyday, all over this country! I had one friend who watched it and said REALLY………I deleted her.

    • Enheduanna says:

      WOW! Thank you for showing this! I don’t watch commercial teevee much so I miss some of these ads.

      This is why I had hoped Trump would quit sooner than later. The longer he’s in this the more exposure he gets and the more harm he does. Oh well I can dream can’t I. GD media has him convinced he has a chance.

      This ad should be played in every market and multiple times every day until November.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I see them on Twitter. I don’t know if this one has been on TV or not. I don’t watch much either.

    • NW Luna says:

      My heart warms whenever I see Hillary in these ads. There is a real sense of knowing she will look out for us. And such a dramatic difference to the nightmarish Trump.

  8. palhart says:

    Sorry, but let’s get real. (I’m a Hiilary voter.) I don’t know what will knock people in the head and make them shun Trump. He is tied with her after her bad week. But the Republicans will hit her harder than ever before with lies, distortions, and god-awful ads that will be the worst yet. They hate her, and are set to try anything and everything. At the end, there will be few tragedies or deaths that she didn’t cause, possibly even Lincoln’s. It will be reverting and chilling to watch the race over the next 4 months. A Trump presidency will be the end of America as we know it, and not in a good way. I’m not hopeful that next week anyone but Trump will emerge as the Republican candidate. I blame the Republicans, over the past 50 years for this opening for Trump. How long before the barbarians break through the gate?

    • bostonboomer says:

      They aren’t tied. The Quinipac poll is ridiculous. They have become a joke because they get the demographics all wrong. Hillary is ahead when you aggregate all the recent polls. She is actually further ahead of Trump than Obama was over Romney in 2012. Trump is actually polling 0 percent with black people in a couple of states.

      • Fannie says:

        Tell it like it is sister BB.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I think there’s been a little tightening, but I wasn’t surprised after Comey threw that stink bomb of a press conference just to say that he wasn’t recommending charges. That was a total gimme to the GOP.

        A couple of more polls from Today

        General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Economist/YouGov Clinton 45, Trump 43 Clinton +2

        General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Associated Press-GfK Clinton 40, Trump 36, Johnson 6, Stein 2 Clinton +4

        The GOP has convention segments dedicated to Bill Clinton’s trysts. To Benhazi and the Email bullshit, so it might get a bit tighter before Hillary begins to pull away again. But as long as the campaign keeps the heat on Trump, Hillary will begin to pull away after the DNC convention.

    • palhart says:

      I count any polls of 3 points or less as “tied.” Hillary’s numbers in the battleground states, CO, PA, VA, and even WI, are good to excellent. What I’m hearing from his supporters is he is a businessman who knows how to make trade deals beneficial to the US and he will keep them safe. I’ll take my present despair that his unbelievable nonsense could win a majority off the blog.

  9. pdgrey says:

    Thank you Charles Pierce.
    By the way have you guy’s seen the tweets the women in Indiana wrote to Pence about their periods? I loved it.
    One asked “because she was 54 yrs. old if he would still care about her vagina”?
    I’ll see if I can find the tweets.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    This comment about Christie:

    “Trump’s ticket would become the stuff of comedy. Picture it. Now picture it as a silhouette.”

    I immediately thought of Hitchcock.

  11. pdgrey says:

    Blast for the past

  12. pdgrey says:

    Phonetically speaking Trump Pence is a disaster. But said like this, a “trumppence,” such as “tiny meaningless coin given by billionaire to charity.” Sounds about right.

  13. Fannie says:

    Lot of things on my mind. First is my 14 years granddaughter who is traveling Europe with US Honor Students……….she is okay, but lordy the next 12 days will make me antsy.

  14. bostonboomer says:


    • Beata says:

      Good news!

    • ANonOMouse says:

      That is excellent news and demonstrates how that the State Polling is much more important than the National Polls.

      • bostonboomer says:

        FiveThirtyEight has Hillary with 64.5% chance of winning, Trump 35.5%

        • vger says:

          The odds have been coming down for Hillary. Before the email announcement, she had an 80% or more chance of winning. I am getting concerned. I really don’t understand what is going on and what anyone sees in Trump.

          • janicen says:

            Variations in polls are inevitable. A thirty point lead is not something to be concerned about.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Trump consistently polls in the 30% range. If you’re really worried this early, maybe you should think about donating or canvassing or something. Personally, I’m not going to get caught up in needless anxiety.

            Everyone needs to remember that the media loves to tear Hillary down. Anytime a poll comes out they try to find something negative in it for her. If they can’t, they just don’t report the polls widely. That one I posted came out after midnight last night and it’s only getting around because of Twitter.

          • Fannie says:

            Trump never once during the primary hit the 50% mark. The only time was when he was the only republican standing.

            I seriously doubt he’ll do it in the general election. But in about three/four weeks those polls will make a difference.

            I am wondering how in the hell is Pence going to explain what Trump is thinking and doing on a daily basis. I heard he wanted to back out with Pence, but couldn’t he was too far out on the limb, and he didn’t even call Christie or Gingrich to notify them of his decision. Good grief.

          • Fannie says:

            Right now Trump is going for the Christian voters, they want this war against women and planned parenthood, and court appointments more than anything in the world, and will sell their souls to grab the power. They want Moslems deported, and war in the middle east for another 100 years.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    While Trump is still dithering on the VP choice, Pence has to say whether he is running for governor by noon today.

  16. bostonboomer says:


  17. NW Luna says:

    Trump/Pence: a terrifying duo who sound like a lost Victorian currency

    Donald Trump has picked Mike Pence because … Because he’s a colourless nothing in a suit who ostensibly lends stability to Trump’s endless parade of berserk neon theatrics.

    Is that it? Well, that and he’s been specifically chosen to shore up Trump’s popularity with rightwing Republican voters.

    Oh, God. Does that mean? That he’s a lunatic? Yes. He has signed overtly villainous abortion bills into law. He signed a segregation-style bill that allowed businesses in Indiana to refuse to serve gay customers. He’s so anti-refugees that he blocked the resettlement of Syrian war refugees in Indiana, before attempting to halt federal aid to any refugees who were already in Indiana.

    He sounds fun. Oh, and in a closed-door meeting four years ago, he reportedly compared the supreme court’s decision to uphold the Democratic healthcare law to 9/11.

    • quixote says:

      Well, that sounds like he’ll add some much-needed political skill and experience to the Dumpsterfire.

      /*every time I think the circus can’t get worse…*/