mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Nothing Is Off The Table”: 4 Scenarios That Could Cause Havoc At The Republican National Convention

Back when it looked like Republicans might well hold a “contested convention” in Cleveland on July 18 to 21, the excitement of journalists at the prospect of covering something other than the usual four-day infomercial knew no bounds. It’s entirely possible, in fact, that the very recent breathless coverage of dozens of delegates preparing to vote to unbind themselves from primary and caucus commitment in order to make it possible to dump Trump owes a lot to the power of the “contested convention” fantasy, and the need to justify lavish outlays for media outlets for Cleveland.

The odds of a coup are extremely low for reasons I explain here and here.

But even if a rules-based coup to get rid of Trump isn’t happening short of the committing of a major felony by the candidate in broad daylight, that doesn’t mean other wild things are off the table. Here are four scenarios that could throw the RNC into turmoil:

Violent protests and counterprotests.

While the original nightmare of angry Trump supporters rioting as the nomination is “stolen” has abated, protests against Trump are a certainty. And they could get out of hand.

Local police originally drew up a plan to keep protesters as far away from the convention site as possible. But a federal judge has intervened with an order killing the plan. No telling which restrictions might survive.

And yes, even without a coup, there are going to be pro-Trump demonstrators in the vicinity. A group called Citizens for Trump is expecting 5,000 people to show up under its banner. Worse yet, the Traditionalist Worker Party, a pro-Trump fringe group that recently became embroiled in violent clashes with leftists in Sacramento, is planning to travel to Cleveland to “protect Trump supporters.” The convention will be an all-purpose freak magnet. And if that’s not scary enough, it’s clear Ohio’s “open carry” law will be in force in whatever area is eventually made available to the various protesters (it might have been enforced even inside the convention site had the Secret Service not stomped on that possibility).

Are local police up to the challenge? Maybe. But at least one out-of-state police chief who had been asked to bring officers to help with convention security has already pulled out, citing “a lack of preparedness for the RNC.”

It’s true that Secret Service agents will be available to make sure any violent activity doesn’t penetrate the actual convention perimeter. But as we learned in Chicago in 1968, violence in the streets has a way of spreading beyond any security perimeter. If violence is extensive, it will co-star with Donald Trump on television screens around the world.

A veep challenge

The freedom of delegates to do anything they want so long as they respect their binding commitments to vote for a presidential candidate extends to the nomination of a running mate. If a majority of delegates don’t actually favor Trump, there’s no inherent reason they should defer to his wishes on this important matter. There could be a mini-conspiracy to impose a veep on Trump who would make his candidacy or election less scary, like someone with extensive governing experience or perhaps a Latino elected official. Or if Trump names someone deemed unacceptable to a broad swath of delegates, a revolt on the floor could develop spontaneously — especially if the mogul chooses to spring his choice on the convention with no advance notice, which some observers think he would prefer to do to elevate the drama of “his” convention.

There is precedent for a veep revolt. In 1920, the same cabal of party leaders who chose Warren Harding as the GOP presidential nominee in the famous Chicago “smoke-filled room” decided to offer the vice-presidential nomination to Senator Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin. But delegates stampeded to Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge, whose crushing of the Boston Police Strike of 1919 made him popular — sort of the Scott Walker of his time. Coolidge, of course, went on to become president upon Harding’s premature death.

A more subtle revolt occurred among Democrats in 1944. Shortly before the convention, party leaders convinced Franklin Roosevelt to dump Vice-President Henry Wallace owing to his strident liberalism and personal eccentricity. They then talked FDR into their consensus favorite, Harry Truman, who also became an accidental president.

All this talk of strange doings in Cleveland, of course, is pure speculation. Although it’s hard to imagine a convention that nominated Donald Trump for the presidency being “normal” in any real sense, it could lack unplanned drama. The only thing we know for sure is that any private meeting held to make key decisions out of the public eye will be smoke-free.

It’s even possible the convention could turn out to be boring. But the word that threatens to hang over the convention until the whole show is over is disorganized, which is first cousin to chaotic.

A vote on unbinding delegates

While delegates will not vote to unbind themselves from the primary and caucus results, they may have to vote against them. It only takes one-fourth of the Rules Committee to approve a minority report that will be entitled to a vote by all delegates when the convention’s rules are adopted. So a mere 28 delegates on that committee could get the convention off to a bad start by forcing a vote on, in effect, dumping Trump.

There’s no way it will pass, but there could be some anticipatory hype and of course some bad blood between Trump and anti-Trump factions.

A messy platform fight

Even if there is no serious challenge to the binding of delegates on the first ballot, the delegates are by no means forced to follow the direction of “their” presidential candidate on other matters. Platform fights are a time-honored way for party elites, interest groups, and defeated candidates to seek vindication even if they’ve lost the main battle. And in the case of a nominee like Trump, whose fidelity to conservative ideology is very much in question, there could well be efforts to rope him in with explicit platform planks, even on those issues where his positions are ostensibly kosher.  Depending on how Trump and the convention managers handle such efforts, you could wind up with big, noisy platform fights over items the GOP and Trump would just as soon not broadcast nationally during an event that is supposed to make the party look toothsome and non-controversial.

These could include the traditional GOP language opposing any rape-or-incest exceptions to a hypothetical abortion ban (Trump supports such exceptions); abrasive anti-LGBT planks styled as “religious liberty” guarantees; and challenges to Trump’s positions on banning Muslim immigration or deporting undocumented immigrants. Once the Pandora’s box of the platform is opened up, anything could happen.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, July 4, 2016

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Vice Presidential Nominee, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“It Won’t Be Enough To Win”: Trump Considers Another Old White Male Politician For Veep

Donald Trump’s shortlist for VP looks like just another communications and demographic nightmare for the GOP. The main candidates that we know of so far appear to be Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and now appears to include Indiana governor Mike Pence:

According to two Republicans familiar with the meeting, the conversation between Trump and Pence lasted for more than an hour, and the governor was joined by his wife, Karen, as he visited with the real-estate mogul.

One person described the session as “warm and friendly,” while the other called it a “getting to know you thing, a chance for both of them to connect.” They both noted that the presence of Karen Pence is probably a sign that the Pence family is comfortable with the prospect of the Republican governor joining the ticket, although they said they have not spoken with her.

Both people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their knowledge of the meeting, the location of which had been closely guarded for days.

Pence’s stock has been rising in Trump’s orbit, they said, describing him as respected by the candidate, despite Pence’s endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) in the Republican primary.

Trump’s camp says that he will pick a running mate before the convention. That would be common sense. Less commonsensical is Trump’s shortlist of older white male Republican government types as VP. Even Trump must realize at this point that political appeals to older white men won’t be enough to win him the election. He has to expand his base to have a prayer of winning that doesn’t depend on Hillary Clinton self-imploding.

Trump could try to win votes by expanding demographically by picking a woman or minority. The challenge for him there is that he has alienated most of the reasonably potential choices, from Nikki Haley to Meg Whitman. He could try to expand the map geographically by choosing someone from the midwestern states like Ohio and Wisconsin.

Or he could use the vice-president slot to communicate that he’s not your typical Republican politician by selecting someone from the business community, perhaps a tech entrepreneur.

But it’s not at all clear what Trump stands to gain from picking someone like Christie, Gingrich or Pence. The voters to whom those figures appeal, Trump already has. And that won’t be enough for him in November.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, July 1, 2016

July 3, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Vice Presidential Nominee, White Men | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump’s Not Running For Vice President”: Trump’s New Line; Tax Returns From Thee, Not From Me

About four years ago at this time, Mitt Romney ran into a bit of trouble. He insisted on keeping his tax returns hidden, which was a problem made more acute when the Republican asked potential running mates to turn over their returns from the previous 10 years.

Apparently, Team Romney believed a thorough examination of a national candidate’s record meant a close review of tax materials – even while Romney said American voters couldn’t make a comparable examination of his own record.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Candidates hoping to earn a spot as Donald Trump’s running mate are reportedly expected to submit their tax returns to the campaign, even though the presumptive GOP nominee has said he has no immediate plans to make his own taxes public.

NBC’s Katy Tur reported Wednesday that all vice presidential hopefuls would be required to submit their returns as a standard part of the vetting process.

When NBC’s Katy Tur asked a Trump campaign source about the apparent hypocrisy, the source responded, “Trump’s not running for vice president.”

That’s cute, I suppose, but it only reinforces the absurdity of the candidate’s posture. The idea that disclosure and transparency requirements should be tougher for a vice presidential candidate than a presidential candidate is tough to defend.

Making matters worse, with each passing day, new questions arise about Trump’s finances. USA Today reported this morning that a fresh analysis found Trump’s businesses “have been involved in at least 100 lawsuits and other disputes related to unpaid taxes or how much tax his businesses owe.”

Trump’s companies have been engaged in battles over taxes almost every year from the late 1980s until as recently as March, the analysis of court cases, property records, and other documents across the country shows. At least five Trump companies were issued warrants totaling more than $13,000 for late or unpaid taxes in New York state just since Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015, according to state records.

This spring, as Trump flew to campaign rallies around the country aboard his trademark private jet, the state of New York filed a tax warrant to try to collect $8,578 in unpaid taxes from the Trump-owned company that owns the Boeing 757. The company has since paid that tax bill.

It makes it that much more difficult for the candidate and his team to suggest his tax documents are a meaningless distraction.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, released a new video yesterday, hoping to maintain interest in the story, and speculating about the kinds of things Trump may be hiding while keeping his tax returns under wraps.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Vice Presidential Nominee, Tax Returns | , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Tantalizing Option”: The Vice-Presidential Nomination Could Be A Key Bargaining Chip At A Contested Convention

In examining the many possibilities of a “contested” or “open” Republican convention without a locked-down nominee, it makes sense to look at the last time this happened: the 1976 Republican convention, where President Gerald Ford had a plurality but not a firm majority of delegates in his camp when the festivities began, in Kansas City. Today’s Reagan-worshiping Republicans should take particular note of how Ronnie (or, more specifically, his Svengali, the veteran political consultant John Sears) decided to deal with the situation: using the vice-presidential nomination to attract uncommitted delegates and force a rules showdown.

Keep in mind that prior to 1976 the ancient tradition in major-party politics was that vice-presidential choices were made at the convention itself, usually after the presidential balloting. But Reagan announced about three weeks before the confab that if he were nominated his running mate would be Pennsylvania senator Richard Schweiker. This shocked the political world, since Schweiker was, on most issues, one of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate (with a then-recent 100 percent rating from the AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education, among other indicators toxic to conservatives). But more to the point, there was a bloc of uncommitted delegates in the Keystone State that Sears thought the maneuver might pull across the line, perhaps even bringing with them some delegates previously committed to Ford.

In the end, most of the Pennsylvania delegation was unmoved, and the ploy probably cost Reagan a shot at winning over a closely divided Mississippi delegation that was voting as a bloc via a unit rule (it annoyed Reagan partisan Jesse Helms so grievously he briefly toyed with an effort to draft New York senator James Buckley as a dark-horse alternative to both Reagan and Ford). But Team Reagan also used the vice-presidency as the basis for a rules challenge that tested Ford’s grip on the convention: a motion to require all candidates to disclose their preferred running mates prior to the presidential balloting. The idea here was that any name he came up with might alienate some Ford delegates (his earlier choice of Nelson Rockefeller as the actual vice-president offended conservatives greatly; Rocky had to disclaim interest in renomination in 1976 to avoid becoming a huge handicap in the primaries). That, too, failed, and demonstrated that Ford had the nomination in hand once and for all.

But the precedent of using a preemptive vice-presidential choice to help win a presidential nomination has lingered in the air as a tantalizing option ever since. And if it were ever going to happen again, this could be the year.

Let’s say Donald Trump is in Ford’s position of leading with a plurality but not quite a majority of delegates, and Cruz is in Reagan’s position of playing catch-up, going into Cleveland — not at all a remote possibility. There would be a pool of “unbound” delegates from an assortment of states, mostly in the West, where state parties have deliberately chosen to keep their options open. If either candidate thought a particular ticket would attract a critical mass of such delegates, would he hesitate to make it? Probably not. More generally, at a time when nervous Republicans will be extremely worried about party unity, purported “unity tickets” will be all the rage. Promising one could be the way Trump nails down the last few delegates he needs for the nomination, or, alternatively, could be the path to a Cruz nomination on a second ballot when most of the delegates become unbound. For those who believe party elites can get away with nominating someone other than Trump or Cruz in Cleveland, a proposed “unity ticket” that would poll well among both Republicans and general-election voters is an absolute must. Moreover, something exactly like the Reagan-Schweiker rules challenge in 1976 to force disclosure of running-mate preferences could happen again in Cleveland, since the presidential candidates will not control all of “their” delegates on procedural matters like convention rules.

Even if Donald Trump nails down a majority of delegates on June 7 with a solid showing in California and New Jersey, naming a running mate whose characteristics show a conciliatory attitude toward the rest of the GOP could be just what the doctor ordered to head off some party coup to deny him the nomination, via a rules change or some other devilish device. Being able to cite chapter and verse from the Gospel of Ronald Reagan as precedent would make a preemptive choice that much more likely. And there will always be some opportunist like Schweiker willing to be used as a key to pick the nomination lock. You can count on it.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, March 24, 2016

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Convention, GOP Vice Presidential Nominee | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: