A dispatch from Cleveland

    Over the next four days, we’ll all see history of some sort being made. There’s never been a presidential nominee quite like Donald Trump, and predictions of strife in Cleveland are unsettling.

    Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News noted that the Daily Beast reported hearing a Marine commander say to a reporter headed to Cleveland , “Stay safe. Never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather be going to Fallujah than the RNC.

    Things seemed calm and under control Sunday, when a thousand delegates and journalists arrived to get the batches of credentials that hang around everyone’s neck.

    I went to an opening reception for delegates in the evening, mostly because it was the most reliable way to get to the hotel where I’m staying along with the Pennsylvania delegation, 15 miles from Cleveland.

    The security line for the reception was more than 100 yards long. Cops and emergency personnel seemed calm and friendly, but nobody knows quite what to expect when demonstrations planned and unplanned unfold over the week.

    Where’s the leadership?

    It’s striking that so many leaders of the Pennsylvania Republican Party aren’t here, along with the Bush family and Mitt Romney.

    Senator Pat Toomey has found other things to do, along with all the Congressional representatives from the Delaware Valley.

    One, U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, ran and won an election in April to become a delegate, but has since backed out.

    It’s clear there’s some ambivalence about Trump among some Pennsylvania delegates. One whom I know is troubled by the party’s nominee was telling reporters last week, “Don’t ask me about Trump.”

    But they all see defeating Hillary Clinton as a mission of practically religious significance.

    I’m here with Dick Polman, who’s National Interest blog brings his years of insight as a political reporter to NewsWorks readers every day. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss his post on Mike Pence.

    Coming up

    I won’t necessarily be writing about the speeches from the podium at the convention, because that will be heavily covered elsewhere.

    I’ll try to convey the feel and texture of the events and how they’re perceived and processed by people on the ground and in the convention hall, especially those from our region.

    The Pennsylvania delegation is hearing from House Speaker Paul Ryan at their breakfast caucus this morning. The party wants to get its troops fired up in this swing state, and Ryan is somebody who should appeal to everybody.

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