The 2016 Republican Convention will certainly provide me with more material than I can possibly cover. This article is being written early Tuesday morning and only covers the events up to Monday’s dinner break.
The convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio. John Kasich is the very popular Republican Governor of Ohio. The first Republican to win the Presidency was Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Since then the GOP has changed to the point that if Lincoln were to come back to life he would not recognize his old Party. However one common denominator among Lincoln and all other Republicans who won the Presidency is that they carried Ohio. That makes Ohio a crucial swing state for the Trump campaign.
On the morning of the opening day of the convention Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager Paul Manafort insulted Ohio Governor Kasich. Starting a war with the popular Governor of your party in a swing state your campaign badly needs isn’t a brilliant political move; especially when that was a battle that could have easily been avoided.
The opening session dealt with much of the normally routine, mundane business of a convention; including confirming the rules of the convention and adopting the Party’s platform. (The platform was the subject of yesterday’s posting.) There is a large anti-Trump contingent among the delegates. They were joined by some forces who, while not necessarily anti-Trump, wanted to take a look at the rules and not just rubber stamp the Rules Committee. They wanted a roll call vote on the matter.
By the temporary rules of the convention, in order to force a roll call vote the majority of delegates in at least seven states had to sign petitions calling for it. Initially either nine or ten states (depending on who you believe) met that threshold. They included the swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. An initial voice vote was held. With Arkansas Representative Steve Womack presiding, the predictable result was, “In the opinion of the Chair they ayes have it.” Pandemonium erupted on the floor with various delegations calling a point of order and asking to be recognized.
After a sizable delay Womack recognized the Utah delegation who asked for the roll call vote. He ruled that although nine states initially presented sufficient signatures that enough signers from three states had rescinded their original signatures for the number of states to fall to six and was therefore insufficient. Exactly who is telling the complete truth is something we may not find out for some time, if ever. The political bottom line is that Party activists from at least three swing states were less than happy. In fact the Colorado delegation walked out.
Former Republican New Hampshire Senator Gordon Humphrey referred to the Trump forces as, “Brownshirts” and said they, “Acted like fascists”. This is a former United States Senator talking about his Party. He was not the only high profile Republican to publically criticize the events.
People who are delegates to national conventions are generally influential local Party peer group leaders who are responsible for a lot of donation dollars and/or volunteer hours. The Trump campaign managed to anger people in four key swing states that they will need to win in November. The Trump forces may have won the battle of Monday afternoon but those memories will linger with delegates who felt disrespected and bullied. They are much less likely to open their checkbooks, make a phone call, write a letter or knock on a door.
Stay tuned; I am confident there will be more before the circus exits Cleveland!
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