Editor’s Note: Cleveland is strangely calm

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

I came to Cleveland this week not knowing exactly what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect quiet.

Predictions that the city would be rocked by violent protests and the Republican National Convention would be under siege have not played out so far. Cleveland is calm. The streets are navigable.

Other than a protest Wednesday that was quickly contained outside the Quicken Loans Arena, demonstrators are usually well outnumbered by reporters and cameramen.

The police presence is overwhelming, and officers often seem bored as they stand at their posts. Traffic is moving well.

Calm is also the way I’d describe the mood inside the convention. Strangely so.

This is my ninth national political convention. I don’t remember one this dull. Maybe it has to do with the downscale speaker list, given the number of big name Republicans who passed on a chance at the podium. Or maybe it reflects the divisions that still very much linger within the GOP.

But aside from the boisterous protest over adoption of the rules Monday, there’s been little noise in the arena.

At most conventions, delegates and alternates battle for floor seats. The first two nights, there were unfilled seats in nearly every delegation. And the stands were sparsely filled as well.

Same goes for the social events surrounding the convention. Parties I expected to have to elbow my way into are all but empty.

It’s an odd political year, and that certainly is reflected by this convention.