How toxic has the presidential race become? It appears that many GOP politicians are going to find things to do other than attend the convention July 18-21 in Cleveland.
Given the potential for utter chaos and even physical confrontations, even some top party figures have stated publicly that they will not be in attendance.
A number of high-profile Republicans, fearful of a potential melee in Cleveland this summer, are considering skipping the Republican National Convention and campaigning back home instead.
With the presidential campaign hitting a fever pitch and Donald Trump warning about riots if he’s denied the nomination, some House and Senate Republicans tell CNN that it makes more sense to spend time with voters back home rather than be associated with the drama engulfing their party.
But even some leading party stalwarts are planning to skip the convention.
Asked Tuesday if he’d attend the convention, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told CNN: “No.”
“Unlikely,” GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte said when asked if she’d be in Cleveland in the midst of her tough bid for a second term. “I’ve got a lot of work to do in New Hampshire, I have my own re-election and I’m going to be focusing on my voters in New Hampshire.”
The decision underscores the dilemma confronting Republicans in being tied too closely to the top of the ticket — particularly incumbents from swing states worried that Trump’s divisive candidacy and Ted Cruz’s rigid brand of conservatism will doom their chances at keeping power in both chambers of Congress.
I don’t get it. Who are they trying to fool? Do they think that suddenly, voters will forget they’re Republicans?
I understand the reasoning behind not attending the convention. But I’ve got news for these Republicans: the party brand already stinks to high heaven and trying to escape the stench by disclaiming affiliation with what will happen in Cleveland is futile.
What’s taken hold is a kind of Trump psychosis that colors every political decision Republican politicians are making:
Some Republicans plainly fear that a contested convention could lead to a bitter fight over who should lead their party heading into November. But others are just as worried that a Trump nomination could lead to furious protests, forcing vulnerable incumbents to defend their controversial standard bearer and his penchant for making off-color comments.
“I don’t see any reason for any candidate to go to any convention, unless it’s in their home state,” said the Senate GOP leadership aide, who asked not be named. “Their time is better spent at home talking to voters.”
Of course, not all Republicans are heeding that advice. Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who faces a tough battle for reelection, said he plans to go to Cleveland.
The left will seek to drown out not only Trump if he is the nominee, but every significant Republican running for office. Because, free speech.
How many of these Republicans who wish they weren’t Republicans are going to be re-elected? They will be the flotsam and jetsam left over after the tidal wave that will engulf the GOP in November recedes.