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Here Comes Trump

Campaign 2016 Elections Featured Post Memo Pad National News Politics

Here Comes Trump

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For weeks now, many of us who live in Cleveland have been fielding questions about how safe we feel about the Republican National Convention’s coming to our city next week.

What most of them are really asking is whether we’re worried about Donald Trump and the trouble his brand of campaigning may bring with him.

A reasonable question — and one that I’ve been answering with an increasingly measured tone. Trump won his party’s primary by preaching racism, xenophobia and misogyny. Only a fool believes that it begins and ends with his rhetoric. I don’t think all of Trump’s supporters are awful people, but as The New York Times‘ Nick Confessore reported just this week, the worst among them now feel they’ve got permission to hate out loud whomever they want.

This was the news alert for Confessore’s story that popped up in my email feed Wednesday, five days before the convening of the Republican National Convention: “Donald Trump is shattering taboos around race, causing alarm among those who track racial tension and galvanizing white supremacists.”

The spine-chilling introduction to that story:

“The chant erupts in a college auditorium in Washington, as admirers of a conservative internet personality shout down a black protester. It echoes around the gym of a central Iowa high school, as white students taunt the Hispanic fans and players of a rival team. It is hollered by a lone motorcyclist, as he tears out of a Kansas gas station after an argument with a Hispanic man and his Muslim friend.

Trump

Trump

Trump

“In countless collisions of color and creed, Donald J. Trump’s name evokes an easily understood message of racial hostility. Defying modern conventions of political civility and language, Mr. Trump has breached the boundaries that have long constrained Americans’ public discussion of race.”

And he’s on his way here.

So, yeah, I’m worried about my city.

Not because we don’t know how to behave or how to host a party. Just last month, we proved we’re really good at both, after an estimated 1.3 million people jammed just about every inch of downtown Cleveland to celebrate the homecoming of our NBA champions, the Cavaliers.

It was sunny and increasingly hot as most of us stood shoulder to shoulder with sweaty strangers for hours that day. We had our moments.

I was standing with my friends Sue and Bill, when a group of men in their late 20s and early 30s began taunting a couple of mothers who stood with young children on a public bench around the staging area, blocking our view. At first, the men just yelled for them to step down, but when the women refused, the attacks grew more personal.

“You’re unfit mothers!” they yelled — but not for long. When one of the men hurled the B-word, several of us asked all of them to dial it back. The men bristled at the reprimand, but they soon left, and everyone else managed to keep things light, even as our feet ached and our faces burned.

I’ve thought of that moment a lot in the days since. We were mostly sports fans, I understand, but we were a lot more than that, too. We were a cityful of people who knew the country’s eyes were on us, and we knew how to behave. The headlines told the story of an entire city of people happy to spend countless hours crammed together in the heat.

That’s who we were because that is who we are.

About three months ago, Ohio Republican Chairman Matt Borges, a close confidant to Gov. John Kasich, shared his misgivings about Trump. This was right before Ohio’s primary, and I was interviewing him for a story that ended up not running.

“We’ve been dying on the Republican side for this transformational figure like Obama at the 2004 convention,” he said. “In some ways, Trump is that transformational character. If he had just used his powers for good, he’d be unstoppable. Instead, he uses his power for these divisive messages.

“He’s smart. He knows who he’s appealing to. People are invested in Trump, and they don’t care anymore what he says or does.”

Borges likened Trump’s followers to a sports team’s avid fans. They develop “an emotional connection” and are unwilling to give it up, no matter how badly he behaves. At the time, I found his sports analogy helpful in understanding Trump supporters. Now it feels eerily foreboding.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in our city when Trump gets here for the Republican convention. What I do know is the collective heart of the people who are welcoming more than 50,000 visitors to our city.

Our goal is always the same: You arrive as strangers, but you leave as friends. That’s who we are, and there’s nothing about Donald Trump that could ever change us.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her email is con.schultz@yahoo.com.

 

Photo: Supporters attend a rally with Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in San Diego, California, U.S. May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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9 Comments

  1. I of John July 15, 2016

    I’m having a bad preminition about what is ahead here. Good luck Cleveland.

    Reply
  2. ivory69690@yahoo.com July 15, 2016

    here the clown DONNY DUMP go’s with another act to his clown show with his VP dragging his B/S OUT

    Reply
  3. ivory69690@yahoo.com July 15, 2016

    as for what happens in Cleveland with this convention is anyone’s guess . but for some reason I feel if lives are lost with the protesters and the brain dead followers of the DUMPSTER DONNY DUMP will welcome the deaths . if there was a line on people being killed DONNY DUMP WOULD BE BETTING ON IT the POS he is .

    Reply
  4. “I have a very bad feeling about this.”
    ―Luke Skywalker, when the Millennium Falcon approaches the Death Star

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75fc54b17606039409f7a0237e400d1b30d625a020a2333c1acd0467691b2a4d.jpg

    Reply
  5. FireBaron July 15, 2016

    I have a bit of shadenfreude regarding some of Trump’s delegates. In many cases, his state coordinators reached out to people who have never been associated with the political system to agree to serve as Trump Delegates to the conventions. Nobody told them that neither their state Republican Parties, nor the National Republican Party would pay for their transportation and expenses for the convention. Travel, $300-$400/night hotel accommodations, food, etc. is actually pricing some of his delegates out of the system. Maybe Donnie should pay their way if he expects to receive their support!

    Reply
  6. Siegfried Heydrich July 15, 2016

    I think what we’re going to see in Cleveland is what boils down to a political version of soccer hooliganism. You have a not-insignificant number of people who are showing up specifically to rumble with SOMEBODY. And with Ohio being an open carry state, it ought to be interesting . . . in the Chinese sense of the word.

    Reply
  7. CrankyToo July 15, 2016

    That’s right… Here comes Trump.

    And he wants to pump your rump.

    Reply
  8. cpbis July 15, 2016

    Best of luck Cleveland. I worry also about ISIS who are seemingly attempting to recruit US citizens to join them by going to the conventions and causing problems. Also, you have the white supremacists the KKK and the white nationalists planning on being there. What a mess. Thanks to the “Donald” who incites trouble.

    Reply

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