On tap tonight: Mitch McConnell, Ryan, Christie, Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Carson — in that order, with a few other speakers in between. We’ll have to see how it shakes out time-wise but there’s a fair chance given last night’s pacing that McConnell and Ryan will miss the heart of primetime in order to provide sweeter speaking slots for … the Trump children. In any other year the kids would be warm-up acts for the Senate majority leader and Speaker of the House; this year it’s the opposite. Either that’s a reflection of the anti-establishment message that Trump’s trying to cultivate or just simple recognition from the patriarch that the Trumps trump everyone, including the two most powerful legislators in the United States. If nothing else, you should want Ryan front and center tonight to make the hard sell to anti-Trump righties that unity is essential, no?
It may yet work out depending upon how long the early speakers run. It looks like Christie will have a good slot either way, which is key since he’ll undoubtedly make the most forceful Giuliani-esque case for Trump. I can already see the side-by-side comparisons tomorrow of his infamously tepid, self-absorbed Romney endorsement in 2012 and the stemwinder he’s set to deliver this evening. Poor Ben Carson, meanwhile, is the next to last speaker of the evening; Joni Ernst was third to last yesterday and ended up speaking after 11 p.m. to a half-empty arena. Why they decided not to slot him in earlier is baffling to me. He’s a famous doctor, widely liked, a Trump loyalist, and living proof that Team Trump isn’t whites-only. Instead he has to wait his turn behind Tiffany, Donald Jr, and, if you can believe it, the general manager of Eric Trump’s winery. I realize they’re pushing an economic message tonight about jobs and want to hear from business people but there are probably better messengers to blue-collar America than two Trump heirs and the family winery director. It’s almost Romney-ish.
Guestblogger extraordinaire Andrew Malcolm will be operating his own livethread about the speeches tonight elsewhere on the site. For rolling commentary from the HA/Townhall/Red State editors you’ve got the handy Twitter widget below. You should already know how it works from the primaries this spring. Just leave this post open in a tab and let the streaming magic happen.