8 things to watch at the 2016 Republican Convention

50,000 people, 125,000 balloons ... highlights of the week ahead in Cleveland

People gather onstage as preparations take place inside Quicken Loans Arena for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday, July 16, 2016. A year ago, few imagined Donald Trump as a headliner at the Republican National Convention, let alone as its star. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Onstage preparations  inside Quicken Loans Arena for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. (Patrick Semansky, AP)

1. Make America __________ Again

The RNC program is here.
Need more before you commit? Here is a breakdown of the week’s themes:
Monday: Make American Safe Again
Tuesday: Make America Work Again
Wednesday: Make America First Again
Thursday: Make America One Again

2. Trumps on the stump

You can expect to hear from those closest to Donald Trump during the next few days. Melania Trump is scheduled to speak Monday evening. Other Trumps on the roster: daughters Tiffany and Ivanka, sons Donald and Eric.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner as he speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Donald Trump with wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. (Mary Altaffer, AP)

3. Scott Baio returns to prime time

Word is the invitation was extended when the Happy Days actor ran into the Real Donald at recent fundraiser. Baio told Variety he’s confident Trump’s detractors could be turned around if only they had a chance to meet the candidate. 

For a preview of what the actor might contribute, check out his Twitterfeed: @ScottBaio. And if that’s of interest, you may also like @MrsScottBaio

4. The body politic

One hundred naked women joined artist Spencer Tunick and his crew of 10 early Sunday morning to create Everything She Says Means Everything. The nude women—”art warriors”—hold up large mirrors in Tunick’s work. A statement on the artist’s website explains: “The philosophy of the artwork relates to the idea of the sacred feminine. By holding mirrors, we hope to suggest that women are a reflection and embodiment of nature, the sun, the sky and the land. We want to express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it. The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of, the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman.”

5. RNC headliners

In addition to Baio and assorted Trumps, watch for: Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, soap star Kimberlin Brown, Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, Newt Gingrich, Paypal founder Peter Thiel, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Rick Perry.

6. RNC no-shows

Among the who’s who not attending the convention? George H.W. Bush and his sons, George and Jeb, plus John McCain, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul. The Wall Street Journal notes that while it’s not unusual for politicians to be busy during an election year,  excuses are all over the place: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan plans to attend the J. Millard Tawes Crab Feast & Clam Bake. … Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran will be on his Kansas Listening Tour …  Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee in 2008, is paying a visit to the Grand Canyon.”

7. RNC party crashers

“Everyone is coming to Cleveland to protest or exercise their First Amendment rights,” Chief Calvin Williams said on the weekend during an interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation. More than 11,000 protesters have been registered by organizers. Fifty-eight groups received permits to parade, march and protest. Voice of America offered readers a preview of protesters, a list that included the following groups: Stand Together Against Trump, Code Pink, Nuns on the Bus, Black Lives Matter, the New Black Panther Party, and the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC (an alliance of 40 groups).

8. By the numbers

Some 50,000 people are currently converging on Cleveland. The ballpark breakdown includes 15,000 journalists, 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates.

One last number, for now: 125,000. That’s about how many balloons will drop from the ceiling when Trump accepts the Republican nomination.