The Spec­ta­tor’s view:

The Trump Show comes to Cleve­land

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - Howard El­liott

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.

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