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Trump Stakes Rise

Donald Trump has a lot riding on his performance in Cleveland. His presumed acceptance speech before a national TV audience—he is the presumptive nominee until the ballots are cast—could determine how many of his own party will stump for Trump.

Usually by this time in the nominating process, the party regulars are lining up to wave signs and cheer their presumptive nominee. But there has been nothing usual about this campaign on the GOP side.

What endorsements Trump has received—and they have been few and far between—have been less than ringing, many simply pledges to support, somewhat grudgingly, the party’s nominee. Those daring to vouch have, in Voldemort-Harry Potter fashion, practically avoided using the candidate’s name.

Even House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who did say he would support Trump, has not been speaking out for him, usually adding the things he doesn’t like about the candidate. Top Republicans continue to say that they are looking for Trump to say the right things before they can start waving those signs.

For example, in a recent interview with conservative outlet Newsmax, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Antitrust Committee, pointed out that Trump had accused the father of Lee’s friend Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) of conspiring to kill JFK. He also said Trump’s “religiously intolerant” stand on Muslim immigration troubled the Mormons, a religious minority, in his state who have a history of religious persecution.

But despite that litany about Trump (and Lee said the list was not exhaustive), he added even those were things he could get over “if I heard the right things out of him.”

Less party intrigue is expected at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia—particularly now that the FBI email investigation of Hillary Clinton has been concluded with no recommendation of an indictment—though Sanders will likely stir up the crowd.

The Democratic convention will also get some logistical support from one of the highest-profile cable execs in Washington—David Cohen, senior executive VP of Philly-based Comcast. He will be a special advisor to the convention (specifically, he is an advisor to the Philadelphia city host committee, which raises money for the logistics of hosting the convention). Cohen is a former top aide to Philadelphia Democratic mayor and governor Ed Rendell, who is chairing the convention.