The Spectator’s view:
The Trump Show comes to Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the storied Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Home of baseball’s Indians. Home to the now world-champion Cleveland Cavaliers. And now home of the craziest and some would say scariest political event in recent United States history. The Republican National Convention, a.k.a. Donald Trump show.
How crazy? To begin with, Cleveland is an open-gun carry jurisdiction, so we’ve seen our share of sidearm and rifle toting convention delegates and followers. Try to imagine a mainstream political convention in Canada where it’s common to see someone sauntering down the street with an assault rifle. Cleveland’s police union has called for a suspension of open carry rules during the convention in light of recent gun violence, in particular directed at police.
How crazy? One delegate said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the U.S. Constitution … then hung on the Mall in Washington D.C.” This man will actually be voting in the convention.
How weird? The Republican governor of the state where the convention is being held will attend events outside, but John Kasich won’t venture inside the convention itself. He will be in good company as the last two Republican presidents and last two Republican nominees won’t be there either.
And then there’s the risk. The danger. There are daily protests from both Trump critics and supporters. Militant black rights protesters are in attendance, fresh after a rash of racial violence across the U.S. Protesters of all stripes will be greeted by a city fortified with steel fencing, concrete barriers and security at major intersections. Military and police helicopters will criss-cross the city for the duration.
Some law enforcement agencies have declined to send officers to Cleveland to help police because there are concerns they won’t be covered by workers’ compensation under the riskier than typical circumstances and conditions.
There is virtually no doubt that Trump will emerge from the convention no longer the presumptive nominee, but the real thing — a real life megalomaniacal caricature who could just end up becoming president. With his country on a razor’s edge of instability, he may well get his wish and see barriers appear at the Canadian border. But they will be more to keep Trump and his ilk out of this country than to stop Canadians from travelling in the other direction.
Typically, we argue there is more that binds Canadians and Americans than there is that separates us. This is one situation where that’s not the case. What is happening this week in Cleveland is all American, a perfect bonfire of circumstances, many of which have been manipulated by Trump and his supporters. Let’s hope Cleveland doesn’t become fuel for that fire.