Report From The Floor: Final Day Of GOP Convention One Of Crescendos

Levine at convention

Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine at the GOP National Convention.

By Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine.


Each day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland builds in a type of crescendo as the speakers take the podium to address the delegates during the evening. In turn, each of the four days builds in a crescendo as the days progress. The finale of any national party convention culminates the crescendo with the speech of the newly selected presidential candidate.

The magnificence of the handling of the convention by the City of Cleveland, especially its police force, was its lack of crescendo, which was manifested by consistent and steady presence and action. The police were certainly in force and noticeable during all times of the convention. All delegates always felt safe and danger was never a consideration. I was told that the Cleveland Chief of Police personally walked the convention grounds to see how his officers were performing – this reminds me of the leadership philosophy of Abraham Lincoln, which was “Management by Walking Around,” whereupon one gets to see and experience the progression and fulfillment of one’s mission.

On our last day of the Convention, we had our usual breakfast for the New Jersey GOP; Gov. Chris Christie addressed the delegates and guests.

We were free to do as we pleased during the day, as the convention did not start until 7:30 PM. Unlike the “olden days,” the Democratic and Republican conventions are much more choreographed and play in prime time; this choreography, however, does not diminish the excitement of the participants. I was determined to catch up on my work during that last, fourth day, as I was away from my office during that entire week being an alternate delegate to the convention. I had set up my computer and was commencing my work that day in the early afternoon, but I succumbed to the lure of the hot dogs and hamburgers at the lunch barbecue that was sponsored by the NJ GOP. Oh well, so much for catching up.

After I satisfied my gluttony at the barbeque, I did get some work done. I left for downtown Cleveland early, as I was invited to attend a 4:00 PM gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition, known as the RJC (no, I am not the only Jewish Republican around), where I had (basically) a second lunch and a drink (club soda only). They secured many prominent speakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Utah Senator Orin Hatch, among others.

Afterwards, I went to a get-together from Politico. I circled the room, ate some of their food (third lunch – but crescendos of lunch are not necessarily a good thing), had a drink (still only club soda), then made my way to the convention, which is situated at the Quicken Loans Arena, known as “The Q.”

Some of the chants while speakers were delivering their talks started in a small area of the arena, and then quickly built into a crescendo of the delegates. Common chants at the convention were: “U-S-A,” “Lock her up,” and one that I only heard during the talk of Ted Cruz, which was “Say it,” referring to their urging him to actually say that he endorsed Donald Trump – he did not, of course.

The arena was certainly electrified as the convention crescendo peaked in the speech by Donald Trump, whether the attendees agreed with his points and platform or not. The ending cascade of obligatory balloons and confetti augmented the exuberant atmosphere.

Attending this convention produced my own personal crescendo. My individual crescendo consisted of amplifying my education and understanding. I tried to speak with colleagues from around the country. On this last day, after the conclusion of the convention, I spoke extensively with a woman named Kim, who was a Ted Cruz delegate from Iowa – by the way, she explained to me how the caucus system works for primaries, so I finally understand the structure. I got the feeling that many Ted Cruz voters were disappointed that their candidate did not prevail as the nominee, but many seemed to have come around to the ultimate nominee, Donald Trump.

By conversing with delegates who were residents of other states and who maintain different philosophies at times, I came to comprehend some of their frustrations, some of their desires, some of their fears, some of their hopes, and some of their understandings and misunderstandings. I felt the crescendo of excitement of an arena full of cheering people as the week wore on, but, more importantly, I felt the crescendo of the much more subtle – and ultimately more fulfilling – insight into our fellow American citizens, and what makes them tick.

Editor’s Note: Freeholder Levine was an alternate delegate for New Jersey. He supplied us with his observations of the Republican National Convention.

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