At the counter-conventions, wrestling the political narrative
Call them the counter-conventions. When Republicans arrive at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Monday to nominate a presidential candidate, Democratic National Committee staffers will be setting up a temporary office less than a mile away.
Call them the counter-conventions.
When Republicans arrive at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Monday to nominate a presidential candidate, Democratic National Committee staffers will be setting up a temporary office less than a mile away.
And when the Democrats arrive at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia next Monday to select their nominee, Republican National Committee staffers will be doing the same thing about a mile and a half away.
Behind enemy lines, the parties will push forth for media interviews their members of Congress and other elected officials to rebut and attack whatever is being said at the opposition's convention.
When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, speaks next week, the GOP will have plenty to say and plenty of people to say it.
This is the 24-hour news cycle in the flesh, the parties looking for attention as fast as 140 characters can be typed on Twitter.
In Philadelphia, the RNC's life is imitating a certain type of art when it comes to the venue.
The RNC has rented 2300 Arena, a 15,000-square-foot former warehouse in South Philadelphia known for hosting professional wrestling matches.
The venue served as the backdrop for the most brutal scenes from the 2008 movie The Wrestler.
The lead character, played by Mickey Rourke, survives an onslaught in the ring from a foe wielding a staple gun, barbed wire, and panes of glass.
It was the bloodiest thing I'd ever seen - until this presidential election.
This is a good time to mention that Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2013.
Trump accepted this honor with his typical approach to modesty, discussing the time in 2007 he climbed into the ring.
"To this day, it has the highest ratings, the highest pay-per-view, in the history of wrestling of any kind," Trump says in a video still on WWE's website.
Lindsay Walters, an RNC spokeswoman, said her party expects to have its officeholders and other luminaries available for interviews at the venue for five nights next week - in effect offering counter-arguments to those being made each night by the Democrats nearby.
In Cleveland, meanwhile, Democratic operatives are likewise hunkering down for the opposition offensive. A DNC source said "celebrities and influencers" will be tweeting from there this week, using the hashtag #BetterThanThis.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, is expected to gather elected officials from Ohio to emphasize how some of Trump's fellow Republicans are staying away.
Case in point: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who dropped out of the Republican primaries in May, will be speaking to some delegations but seems unlikely to appear in any capacity inside the official convention venue.
Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, said parties set up counter-conventions to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle.
"You have to respond quickly and thoroughly," he said. "If you don't, it will get away from you. The press will move on to a dozen other things."
Having an RNC outpost in Philadelphia and a DNC outpost in Cleveland also ensures that partisan audiences can see things the way they like on cable television networks such as MSNBC and Fox News, he said.
"Let's remember, we live in a very polarized era," Sabato said. "Most Democrats are not going to watch the Republican convention at all. If they do, they'll watch a Democratic take on it. And vice versa for the Republicans."