Fun:2016 Republican National Convention
The 2016 Republican National Convention in which delegates of the United States Republican Party attempted to choose the party's nominees for President and Vice President of the United States was held on July 18, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The convention was cancelled after one day due to widespread chaos.
Hoping to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing spectacle that was Clint Eastwood's "comedy" skit at the 2012 Republican Convention, Vice Presidential hopeful Ben Carson was chosen to perform his stirring rap song featuring lyrics consisting of his own edgy sayings (“I’m very hopeful that I’m not the only one willing to pick up the baton of freedom”) and various dog whistles about “personal responsibility” and “hard work.”
Donald Trump was nominated on the first ballot with 692 votes to 3 votes for Ted Cruz, 10 votes for Ronald Reagan, and the rest scattered. Later, a number of ballots were discovered stuffed inside Chris Christie's pants, leading to a protest by the Cruz campaign which was quickly stifled when the ballots were found to be unreadable due to smearing caused by unidentified bodily fluids. In his acceptance speech, Trump promised a dynamic presidency: "It's all about winning, folks, and, I promise you, you're gonna be so sick of winning, you're gonna puke".
After RNC chairman Reince Priebus announced an emergency rule change defining the winner as the nominee with the least number of votes, Paul Ryan was nominated on the second ballot with -50 votes to -12 votes for John Kasich to 3 votes for Ted Cruz, with the rest scattered between Ayn Rand, Alex Jones and Nancy Reagan. Trump received 0 votes, enraging the populist billionaire, who immediately filed a "gazillion dollar" protest lawsuit against the Republican Party, claiming unfair treatment.
Seventy sixth vote
74 more votes ensued, with no uncontested agreement on a nominee. On the final vote, the exasperated GOP formally split into three distinct parties, each with their own ticket and platform:
- The Trumpublican Party nominated Donald Trump (P) and Chris Christie (VP) advocating for an autocracy with an agenda of "kick ass, be #1, and keep the riff raff in line".
- The Citizens For Jesus Party nominated Ben Carson (P) and Mike Huckabee (VP) advocating for a theocracy with an agenda of religious fundamentalism, school-mandated prayer and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
- The Hands Off Our Capital Gains Party nominated Mitt Romney (P) and the Koch brothers (VP) advocating for a plutocracy with an agenda of abolishing taxation, regulation, and entitlements.
This dramatic three-way splintering signaled the end of "the party of Lincoln", but it also had the salutary effect of providing everyone with a party that more accurately reflected their views. Country Club Republicans flocked to the HOOCGP. Religious conservatives and abortion clinic bombers gravitated to the CFJP. Racists, hawks and the batshit insane found a home with the Trumpublicans (who naturally felt they had the coolest name).
The Redshirts, so named because of their uniform of red "Make America Great Again" t-shirts and baseball caps, were formed after a not-so-casual remark made by Trump during a rally in early June 2016:
“”"You know in the good old days thugs and troublemakers would be dealt with by organized squads of tough guys loyal to their party leader, which if you ask anyone, is ME, right? But we're so politically correct, no one wants to hurt people anymore, which is a bad thing."
Their primary purpose was providing protection for Trump rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing Presidential candidates (especially Ted Cruz and later Paul Ryan), and intimidating Mexican immigrants and Muslims – for instance, during the Trump boycott of immigrant businesses in May 2016.
Redshirt gangs were responsible for numerous confrontations and large numbers of injuries to protesters in Cleveland due to their practice of using hardcover editions of The Art Of The Deal as improvised bludgeons.
More than 1,000,000 protesters, demonstrators and supporters plus assorted hippies, goths, urban gangs, mall ninjas, thrill-seekers and media descended on Cleveland for the convention, creating an atmosphere that was something like a mix of Occupy Wall Street, Mad Max Thunderdome and the Burning Man festival. Trump's Redshirts formed a protective "ring of steel" around the Convention Center, interpreting his comment that he could "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose voters" as a suggestion to arm themselves with a variety of pistols and assault weapons.
Large scale clashes between protesters and police were so numerous that nearby Progressive Field baseball park was pressed into service as makeshift detention center, while dozens of smaller battles between supporters and demonstrators raged unchecked, some of them quite colorful. On one block, a misplaced Star Wars convention resulted in the spectacle of light saber wielding Jedi fighting confused Ku Klux Klan members.
Despite thousands of severe injuries in the streets outside the arena, the only death occurred on the convention floor when journalist Dan Rather attempted to re-enact his famous "jostling incident" at the 1968 Democratic convention. Rather, wearing an antenna-festooned headset and Eugene McCarthy button, was crushed while caught between waves of violently surging delegates.
- Unfortunately, none of them calculated the effect that three spoiler candidates would have on vote-splitting the general election to enable Democrats an easy win.
- There were reports of a burning man display in Cleveland's Rockefeller Park, but it turned out to be a flaming effigy of Ted Cruz