July 18, 2016. Many Republicans and conservatives are looking ahead to that Monday with a sense of foreboding. The party faithful, along with party apostates, will convene in Cleveland to select their presidential nominee.
Some fear a contentious battle between Trump delegates and the 'anybody but Trump' folks, including that nefarious but ill-defined 'Republican establishment.' This week the front-runner himself warned, 'I think you'd have riots' if the nomination is snatched away in what his supporters deem an unfair way. So you can understand why the Grand Old Party fears a not-so-grand scene that would embarrass them all and lead to defeat in November.
Then there are the malcontents who look ahead to the Republican convention with glee, rubbing their hands together at the thought of creating mayhem. Black Lives Matter, MoveOn, and other far-left outfits may have provided a preview of coming attractions last Friday when they shut down a Trump rally in Chicago. The mainstream media, neither for the first time nor the last, did not tell you the entire story behind the chaos.
Days before Trump was scheduled to speak at the University of Illinois at Chicago, MoveOn circulated an online petition protesting the rally. Tens of thousands of fellow travelers enlisted in the fight to deny a presidential candidate his First Amendment right to speak. Trump, citing safety concerns, heeded the advice of George and Ira Gershwin and called the whole thing off. The protesters were positively gleeful, boasting, 'We stopped Trump!' Yeah, great.
Which brings us to Cleveland, July, and the possibility of a long, hot convention. Cleveland is where Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy, was shot and killed by two police officers who thought he was brandishing a gun. The officers were not indicted and Tamir Rice joined Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown as a symbol of the 'war on young black men.'
Soon after the case against the officers was dismissed, a Black Lives Matter activist issued this warning on MSNBC: 'Any opportunity we have to shut down a Republican convention, we will.' That threat was issued last year, well before the rise of Donald Trump and his alleged racist rhetoric.
More recently, some esteemed professors have weighed in. Cleveland will be the site of 'very major protests,' warns Susan MacManus, formerly of Cleveland State. Not to be outdone, current Cleveland State prof Ronnie Dunn warns that 'tens of thousands of people' will swarm Cleveland in July. And local 'activist' Basheer Jones promises 'civil disobedience,' which of course has a way of becoming anything but civil.
Some politicians have joined in. Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, the LeBron of bomb-throwers, went on MSNBC (where else?) to remind the disaffected that 'this country was founded on racism and sexism.' And what would a threatened protest be without that distinguished NBC host Al Sharpton, who vowed, 'We are going to have another convention outside.' NBC and Comcast must be very, very proud.
Preparing for the worst, Cleveland authorities have ordered thousands of riot suits and 26" batons. The city is also renting miles of steel barriers known as 'Blockaders.' Ironically, that sounds kind of like a Trumpian wall to keep intruders in their place, does it not?
Now, it is worth remembering that predictions of doom often fall flat. It could be that Bernie Sanders' political demise will deflate the pro-Sanders MoveOn folks, and Donald Trump is likely to tone down his over-the-top remarks. He implied as much on The Factor this week, but says he first wants to close the deal.
It could also turn out that Republicans, even the most virulent anti-Trump types, realize that he could be the only thing standing between them and a Hillary Clinton presidency. So, sure, the GOP could come together prior to those four days in Ohio.
And as for the rabble-rousing rabble? Well, they should study history and 1968, the summer of Mayor Daley, Yippies, Tom Hayden, helmet-clad cops, Black Panthers, and the Chicago Eight. Americans watched that spectacle in horror and gave 'law and order' candidate Richard Nixon the keys to the White House. Similarly, last week's Chicago mayhem may have given a boost to Donald Trump, who romped to easy victories four days after he was left speechless in Chicago.
Black Lives Matter, MoveOn, and other radicals, if they actually go through with the threatened Cleveland disruptions, could wind up helping the Republican nominee, whether it's Donald Trump or someone else. Those groups aren't known for obeying the law, but they should remember one law that has stood the test of time. You know, the one about unintended consequences.