In the generation since 1976, there hasn't been a contested convention. There also hasn't been a party outsider like Donald Trump, Stebben said. "The Republicans have historically been more organized and were a more TV- and radio-savvy party. Most are more scripted. This one is unusual."
Recent violence by and against police, and anti-immigrant comments by Trump have raised fears of potential violence in Cleveland this week.
"There may be problems outside the convention hall," said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, a political website. "But it seems that the resistance to trump has crumbled. Maybe there will be a symbolic walk out. To me it will not be like recent divisive conventions."
Stebben says that Trump's acceptance speech on Thursday, and the police response to protests will determine how Cleveland's convention is remembered.
WATCH: History of Protests at National Conventions