The #Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland the week after next, and it’s fair to say that there are a whole lot of ways that it could go wrong. The Washington Post, in fact, has predicted the RNC as “ the most chaotic GOP gathering of the modern era.”
Could there be civil unrest?
#Donald Trump may give the nuttiest, most hostile convention address in American history, one that makes Pat Buchanan’s 1992 “culture war” speech look like nothing.
There could be a coup attempt, successful or unsuccessful, against Trump, by “Never Trump” forces seeking to install Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz or someone else as Republican nominee ahead of Trump. There could be massive civil unrest in the streets outside the convention center in Cleveland, consisting of either unjust mass arrests, violent clashes between police and protesters, protesters and counter-protesters, or some combination of all of the above.
Underwhelming roster of speakers.
We may see a truly underwhelming roster of speakers, with various Republican elected officials and prominent politicians in the party sitting this one out, especially both the majority of defeated primary candidates as well as the sort of rising stars that tend to populate the speaking rosters at party conventions.
So instead, expect a lineup heavy on the C-list celebrities, 1980s sports figures and members of Trump’s immediate family, along with the handful of Republican politicians who have actually backed Trump. And there’s also the possibility- better than 50/50, if you ask me- that at least one speaker will depart from his or her prepared text and rail against the presumptive Republican nominee.
Another potential disaster?
The sheer incompetence, shoestring habits and general amateur-hour vibe of the Trump campaign- as well as Trump’s long history of refusing to pay vendors when he objects to their work - force leads us to consider another possibility: What if the logistics of the campaign don’t come off the way they’re supposed to, and there are technical difficulties?
Can Trump handle the magnitude?
Every modern political convention, whether Democratic or Republican, peaceful or contested, has had one thing in common: Everything has worked properly. The lights have stayed on. The microphones have worked, and the video clips have played on time and at proper volume.
It’s just one of those norms that’s always held in American politics, until now. Do we have any confidence that, on top of anything else, the Trump operation has their act together enough to handle a production the magnitude of the four-day GOP convention? Corporate sponsors have already fled, and Trump is already engaged in love/hate relationships with both the Republican National Committee and Paul Ryan, the convention chairman.
And besides, for all of Trump’s reputation as a showman, most of Trump’s biggest campaign events tend to be held either at his own properties, or at airplane hangars. His operation has never pulled off anything resembling a four-day, nationally televised extravaganza.
The Day After
On the morning after the convention, we’ll probably be talking about the crazy thing Trump said, the ugly scene outside the convention hall, or that speaker who stood up to his party’s nominee. But I say it’s just as good a bet we’ll be talking about the sound going out, or the video that didn’t play. #Democrats vs Republicans