July 17, 2016 11:51 am
World Diary: Trump rattles Republicans
Republicans will convene in Cleveland for the coronation of Donald Trump, who this time last year seemed little more than a political sideshow to the establishment players jockeying for the chance to take on Hillary Clinton.
Instead, he’ll be the main event in Ohio. But his presence at the top of the ticket, racially incendiary rhetoric and rejection of GOP orthodoxy on myriad issues has led many prominent Republicans to either refuse to speak at the convention or to cite convenient scheduling conflicts to explain their absence from an event that usually draws the whole party.
The list of absences includes a number of his former rivals for the nomination — including John Kasich, the popular governor of Ohio — both living Republican presidents and the past two Republican nominees. That may be one reason the campaign has yet to release the list of speakers, which it has teased for weeks.
One person who will definitely be speaking at the event will be Mr Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, according to US media.
In the end, an event that is usually highly anticipated by lawmakers, operatives, lobbyists and the party faithful is being approached with a great degree of uncertainty.
Still, there are signs that Mr Trump may have some momentum heading into the convention after a string of polls last week showed him narrowing rival Mrs Clinton’s lead in the polls nationally and beating her in battleground states that will be key to victory in November.
He is tied with the presumptive Democratic nominee in Ohio and she will seek to regain the momentum with her own vice-presidential pick heading into the Democratic convention in Philadelphia the following week.