I Predict a Riot!

By | 3/17/2016 Leave a Comment


So suggested Donald Trump on Wednesday when asked about the prospect of the nomination being wrested from him at the party’s convention in July, provoking an almost unanimous storm of outrage and consternation among politicians and media commentators alike. Some even attempted to twist the narrative, suggesting that it was unconscionable for Trump to “promote” or “instigate” violence in Cleveland, such as former (failed) Tea Party Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who said today “He's not actually doing anything except inciting riots.” And again today, House Speaker Paul Ryan joined the chorus of disapproval, stating that “Nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”

The problem is many pundits and campaign spokespeople have been saying the very same thing as Trump for a quite while now. In fact, Ted Cruz himself told reporters in Maine almost two weeks ago “If the Washington deal-makers try to steal the nomination from the people, I think it would be a disaster. It would cause a revolt.”

So why the sudden gasp of astonishment at such a prediction from Trump himself? Because it came from Trump himself. Any statement, proclamation, prediction, put-down – pretty much anything that comes out of the guy’s mouth (or Twitter account) – has the ability to drive ratings and provide valuable clickbait for the media at large.

Unfortunately, however, what all of this sturm und drang over his comment hasn’t yet done is to create any real debate on what might actually happen if there were to be a contested convention in Cleveland. Instead of the feigned indignation at Trump’s prediction, the conversation should be about the process itself and the will of the people versus the will of the party insiders.

If the delegates who are currently bound by their state’s primary election results were to be “unbound” at the convention, thus enabling them to switch their state’s allegiance to a different candidate than the one their constituents voted for (at least, in majority), they would essentially be given official sanction to steal the election. They would in effect be saying to the voters, “Yes, a majority of you chose Trump [for instance], but I have decided your votes should go to Cruz [for instance], as I consider him the better choice, and what I say goes.”

And so goes democracy.

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