#VoiceYourVote: Inside the smoke-filled rooms of the GOP convention

The RNC promises to be one hell of a show this year. © Rick Wilking
This week 50,000 people, including 2,472 delegates, 15,000 journalists, thousands of protesters, and one billionaire candidate, will descend on the birthplace of rock and roll, Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

These lavish gatherings have been little more than lackluster PR events in recent decades, but this year promises to be one of the liveliest, contentious, and possibly dangerous political showcases.

Check out our handy guide that will get you up to speed for those water cooler conversations - as part of RT’s unconventional coverage of #VoiceYourVote.

The Grand Old Party’s quadrennial convention has three main goals: nominate candidates for president and vice president, vote on rules pertaining to party governance, and determine the official platform of the Republican Party.

Step one has been months in the making after thousands of free and paid advertising hours, dozens of debates, and several candidates.

Billionaire Donald Trump became the ‘presumptive nominee’ when he secured 1,542 delegates, well above the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination. It all becomes official this week when those delegates cast their votes from the convention floor.  

The Tuesday roll call will end the 'presumption' of a Trump nomination, but the world will have to wait until Thursday night for his big speech.

The vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, will speak Wednesday night, while big names like entrepreneur Peter Thiel, quarterback Tim Tebow and Newt Gingrich are also scheduled to speak this week.

The allocation of key speaking slots at the convention is often a good indicator of who’s got the most juice in the party, particularly those who are up and coming.

While Republican insiders have (mostly) resolved their issues such as the former Democrat from New York as their nominee, technically Trump could be blocked as the candidate if the Rules committee decides to take drastic action and permit delegates to vote freely.

That committee consists of two delegates from each state, one man and one woman, and is chaired by Enid Mickelsen from Utah, a state where Trump came in third behind Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

If Trump’s rivals can influence the committee, they could amend the rules to ‘emancipate’ its delegates.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso heads the platform committee for this year’s RNC. They will work with the presidential nominee to create a unified agenda.

Despite some differences between 'The Donald' and traditional Republicans, the platform is expected to maintain core GOP values including conservative stances on social issues such as abortion and marriage equality.

The platform sought to protect “traditional marriages” in 2012 when Mitt Romney was the nominee. In the intervening four years, the US legalized gay marriage.

At a debate on Monday Republicans rejected efforts to add language to the platform which condemn anti-gay discrimination, according to the NY Times.

The traditional view of family and child rearing is expected to be in the platform along with a declaration that pornography is a “public health crisis” and women should be barred from combat.

The platform will be voted on by the committee before being formally approved at the convention on Monday.