It is finally here. What should be known as the Republican National Convention, but is currently known as Trump’s Circus, begins today in Cleveland, Ohio. The last time I witnessed a convention opening under such nervous conditions was back in 1968 when the Democrats held their convention in Chicago. There were lots of problems both on the floor and off the floor with demonstrations outside.
This year has even more intrigue than that one did. First, delegates are not all that happy with their nominee. There is still a “dump Trump” movement going on even though the Republican Party seems to have slammed the door on their options. Second, many, and I mean many, party officials are simply not attending. Some are going fly-fishing or getting a much-needed haircut instead of attending the coronation of Trump in Cleveland. Third, the protests are going to be numerous. And, don’t think that all are going to be from minorities or from the hated “left”. It is rumored that the infamous Westboro Baptist Church has requested a permit to march and protest at the convention.
Trump announced his pick for Vice President over the weekend, and he immediately put him in the back of the bus. The “introduction” speech by Trump was all about Trump, not Mike Pence. Additionally, the two don’t agree on everything. Well, that is a bit of a stretch, they don’t agree on much at all.
Then to top things off, they did an interview with “60 Minutes” last night and disagreed on a bunch of things. Except one item that is. Trump was asked how he could pick Pence when it was Pence who co-sponsored and voted for the Iraq War Authorization bill, especially when that is his biggest “difference” between him and Hillary Clinton. He said “everyone is entitled to make a mistake.” When he was asked does that include Clinton, he flatly said “no, she is not”.
I am not sure how raucous the convention is going to be. There are not many “headline speakers” who are going to be talking. Too many top Republicans refused to accept a speaking slot. That is very odd, because that usually a prime speaking position that politicians would normally die for. But, not this year. The one real notable exception is Ted Cruz. Cruz, still stinging from his loss to Trump has yet to “endorse” the Republican Candidate. Yet he agreed to speak at the convention.
Problem is that Cruz is planning on giving a speech on “his vision” of what the party should look like moving forward. Which means that the conservatives will have their glorious moment in the sun, even if it contradicts what Trump has said. That is even more telling when you look at the platform that conservatives pushed through. There are more contradictions between the party and Trump than you can shake a stick at. But, I think that was the whole purpose, to distance themselves from their own nominee.
However, I am pretty sure that the Republican Party, which does not want any turmoil at their convention, will use an “iron fist” to keep the “dump Trump” people at bay. But, you never know just how deeply these anti-Trump people hold their “values”. But don’t think for a moment that they want to “dump Trump” because they don’t like him. They don’t think he goes far enough in mandating “religious beliefs” as the law of the land. Christian theocracy is the only thing these people want, and they will fight until they get it.
To fill the void, you will get plenty of Benghazi. You will get plenty of Bill Clinton and his “many alleged affairs” in his past. What that has to do with Hillary running for President is not very clear. But, they are things Republicans love to harp on and they will bring out the full orchestra this week to “remind” everyone about them. When you cannot offer policies, you got to do something to distract the voters.
Then, there is the protests outside the convention. There is a real danger in what will take place there. We will see protesters from both sides of the spectrum. We will see ultra-conservatives protesting against Trump. We will see Black Lives Matter people protesting. We will see White Supremacists protesting. One group said they were going to “protect Trump supporters”.
The New Black Panther Party will be there. As I said earlier, the Westboro Baptist Church wackos will be there. It will be a mixture of high voltage and gallons of water. Then you have to consider the two shooting deaths of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the cop shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and you have a very volatile mixture for sure. Plus, you have to consider that Ohio is an “open carry” state.
The irony is that in the “protest zone” you are not allowed to carry aerosol cans or tennis balls, but you will be allowed to openly carry a gun. After the Baton Rouge shooting yesterday, the Police Union President asked the Governor, John Kasich, to “suspend the open carry law during the convention”. He refused. Well, what he said was “I cannot suspend the law.”
That means you will surely see people from both sides of the political scale walking around openly carrying guns in a “protest” zone. That makes real sense doesn’t it? I cannot imagine just how much worse the riots in Chicago would have been in 1968 if Illinois had an open carry law back then. There probably would have been open warfare on the streets with hundreds being killed.
I hope that doesn’t happen in Cleveland. But, I know that when you put passionate people from two sides together, and allow them to carry guns, anything can happen and it usually does. I guess all we can do is hold our breath and hope for the best.
I am certain that when Cleveland lobbied to host the Republican National Convention they did not expect this three-ring circus coming to town. If they did, they probably wouldn’t touch it. But, that is the problem with politics. Things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes someone throws a monkey wrench into the works. Trump is that monkey wrench this year.
I am sure we will see many of his family giving moving speeches about how wonderful The Donald is. I am sure we will see many political light-weights giving mediocre speeches about the wonderfulness of the conservative theocracy drive. I am sure we will see many cringes on the faces of the “establishment” of the Republican Party.
We will not hear anything about climate change except that they consider it a hoax. We will hot hear anything about how to make public education better, except to privatize it. We won’t hear anything about income inequality except that the rich pay too much in taxes. We will not hear anything about civil rights except how the LGBT community is evil and should be banned. We won’t hear anything about immigration reform except to build a wall with Mexico.
We will hear a lot about “law and order” without any real plans to enforce it. We will hear a lot about those nasty Muslims who should be “tested and deported” as Newt Gingrich proposes. We will hear all about how our economy is the worst on record, despite the fact that we have had 75 months of job growth since the economic collapse their party caused in 2008. We will hear about how our President is really a “secret Muslim” out to destroy our nation, even though more “terrorists” have been killed by him than all of his predecessors.
But, just like everything else in this current Republican Nomination process, we will see no substance. We will see no definitions of any policies planned. We will see the usual finger-pointing, fear-mongering and hate-mongering we have seen for the past year.
I really don’t know if I will be able to stomach watching very much of this circus. When I was a kid my parents took us to the circus that came to Chicago every year. It was fun. It was entertaining. We were thrilled watching the high-wire act and the trapeze acts. We were awed by the lion taming act. This circus will have plenty of clowns, but I am not so sure it will have anything else worth watching.
It is going to be a very long week!