2,000 Sets Of State Of The Art Riot Gear Have Been Ordered By A Wary Cleveland As More Republicans Back Out
With crackpot Trumpsters Roger Stone and Alex Jones calling on 5 million Trump fans to show up in Cleveland in July to teach the establishment a lesson, I don't care how much money law enforcement is spending on riot gear, I'm staying away from Cleveland in July. Nor am I the only one who has come to that decision. Plenty of lobbyists will go, but Jeb Bush has already announced that he's staying away. There's a feeling of "anxiety, uncertainty and unease" among Republicans already, many cognizant that Stone has been threatening to report their hotel rooms to the Trump mob if anyone tries to steal the nomination from him.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been hinting he may be cruising somewhere else instead of Brookside Park, Big Creek Reserevation or the Great Northern Mall. And Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has told friends that there is no where on earth she wants to be less than her party's convention this year. Richard Burr (NC) has also been hinting he has a previous appointment that week and can't make it. Sen. Mark Kirk (IL) has just been confiding in friends he might not go, he's been telling the media back home, he's too busy to attend.
Kirk is considered tied with Ron Johnson (R-WI) as the #1 most likely Republican to lose in November. Both have stated that if Trump wins the nomination they intend to put party over country and vote for him in November. Kirk's opponent's campaign has pointed out that even if Kirk avoids the convention itself, "no amount of physical distance will separate Sen. Kirk from his Republican roots, nor from Donald Trump's circus."
There could be as many as two dozen Republican congressmen and senators who avoid that circus, especially if it starts to look more likely that there will be violence and bloodshed. Potentially, though, the biggest loser isn't the GOP but tragically, the city of Cleveland which has been wishing it had lost the bid for the convention. What was supposed to be an opportunity to show off to the country how far it had come since the bad old days of default and urban blight.
Thanks to Donald Trump, Cleveland’s first nominating convention since 1936 might not be the customary coronation and infomercial, despite a $64 million corporate fundraising pledge and $50 million in federal assistance to assure all goes smoothly.
“This has the potential to be very, very good for the city,” said Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association. “It also has the potential to be very, very bad for the city,”
The prospect of a fight for the Republican nomination, bolstered by Trump’s warning of riots if he doesn’t get the nod, has evoked memories of raucous conventions from long ago when backroom deals by kingmakers often determined the nominee. Those featured fistfights on arena floors and, in Chicago’s 1968 Democratic gathering, violent street disturbances that stained the city as images were broadcast worldwide.
The risk attached to the July 18-21 convention has revived the debate over the economic benefit derived from mega-events such as Super Bowls, NATO summits and the quadrennial gatherings to nominate Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.
“For Cleveland, the name recognition and having a chance to tell the turnaround story of downtown brings the potential reward of changing perceptions of the city,” said Ned Hill, an Ohio State University economist. “If it turns out there is blatant Trumpism in the streets, then the good news story will disappear.”
...The possibility of turmoil wasn’t imagined two years ago when the city of 390,000 people beat out Dallas for the right to host the event. Conventional wisdom then suggested former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would coast to the nomination, giving Cleveland the chance to bathe in the positive light of national television exposure.
Trump’s stunning rise, accompanied by violence at his rallies and his own bellicose remarks, has fueled an expectation of disorder. Roger Stone, a Republican operative and Trump ally, invoked the 1968 “days of rage” when he tweeted April 2 his plans to organize protests in Cleveland if Trump isn’t nominated.
...“What you hear from Trump increases the level of anxiety, but we’ll be prepared for whatever happens,” said City Councilman Matt Zone, who heads the safety committee.
About 600 officers from Cleveland’s 1,500 member police force will be on duty for the event, Loomis said, aided by as many as 2,500 security personnel from outside the city. Using $50 million in federal grants, Cleveland will purchase barricades, batons and 2,000 sets of riot gear.
Recent terrorist attacks in France, Brussels and San Bernardino, California, have added to the security concerns. The equipment hasn’t been delivered, Loomis said, and his officers haven’t been thoroughly trained.
“We were excited when we first heard about this,” Loomis said. “But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was very concerned.”
Trump's OpEd in yesterday's Wall Street Journal wasn't meant to smooth anything over with the party establishment. It was meant to rouse fear and loathing among an already paranoid and conspiracy-happy GOP Base raised on simplistic Hate Talk Radio. "A planned vote had been canceled," he wrote. "And one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined." Gone are the days when he used to brag onstage at the debates how he would buy the politicians with campaign contributions so he could have his special interests attended to. Now he's one of the aggrieved fighting "the system" instead of manipulating it. Or... well, he's just using a different tactic of manipulation, a more dangerous one.
In recent days, something all too predictable has happened: Politicians furiously defended the system. “These are the rules,” we were told over and over again. If the “rules” can be used to block Coloradans from voting on whether they want better trade deals, or stronger borders, or an end to special-interest vote-buying in Congress-- well, that’s just the system and we should embrace it.The state of Ohio doesn't allow candidates-- even self-funding ones-- to bribe delegates at conventions. Watch how Maddow explained it Thursday evening:
Let me ask America a question: How has the “system” been working out for you and your family?
I, for one, am not interested in defending a system that for decades has served the interest of political parties at the expense of the people. Members of the club-- the consultants, the pollsters, the politicians, the pundits and the special interests-- grow rich and powerful while the American people grow poorer and more isolated.
No one forced anyone to cancel the vote in Colorado. Political insiders made a choice to cancel it. And it was the wrong choice.
Responsible leaders should be shocked by the idea that party officials can simply cancel elections in America if they don’t like what the voters may decide.
The only antidote to decades of ruinous rule by a small handful of elites is a bold infusion of popular will. On every major issue affecting this country, the people are right and the governing elite are wrong. The elites are wrong on taxes, on the size of government, on trade, on immigration, on foreign policy.
Why should we trust the people who have made every wrong decision to substitute their will for America’s will in this presidential election?
...The great irony of this campaign is that the “Washington cartel” that Mr. Cruz rails against is the very group he is relying upon in his voter-nullification scheme.
My campaign strategy is to win with the voters. Ted Cruz’s campaign strategy is to win despite them.
What we are seeing now is not a proper use of the rules, but a flagrant abuse of the rules. Delegates are supposed to reflect the decisions of voters, but the system is being rigged by party operatives with “double-agent” delegates who reject the decision of voters.
The American people can have no faith in such a system. It must be reformed.
Just as I have said that I will reform our unfair trade, immigration and economic policies that have also been rigged against Americans, so too will I work closely with the chairman of the Republican National Committee and top GOP officials to reform our election policies. Together, we will restore the faith-- and the franchise-- of the American people.
We must leave no doubt that voters, not donors, choose the nominee.
How have we gotten to the point where politicians defend a rigged delegate-selection process with more passion than they have ever defended America’s borders?
Perhaps it is because politicians care more about securing their private club than about securing their country.