In less than three weeks, Republicans will gather for their national convention to make two critically important decisions; i.e. (a) what shall constitute the party’s platform; and (b) who shall be its standard bearer. For the very same two reasons, Democrats will assemble about a month later. What follows is a preview, based on available evidence, of what may take place around the pair of aforementioned decisions.
The Republican Convention
Heading into the meeting, there is no question that Primadonald has amassed beyond the requisite number of delegates to be referred to as the “presumptive nominee”. In spite of that reality, there are groups among conservatives who are convinced that the likely nominee will not only lose in the general election, but will take down-ticket candidates into the tank with him. So minded, they have organized the “Never#Trump” and “DumpTrump” movements.
Both of these groups have in place, a plan to change the convention rules that are meant to control delegates’ votes for the person they want as the party’s standard-bearer. Said plan would allow delegates to “vote their conscience” rather than be bound by the results of the primary voting constituents they represent. This decidedly undemocratic gambit must make it through the convention’s Rules Committee.If that were to happen, then delegates would indeed be at liberty to support the person of their choice even if that selection flew in the face of what primary voters wanted.
As of this writing, it seems that the two anti-Primadonald groups will not be able to get their plan approved in the Rules Committee. If that does prove to be the case, then they expect to mount a “floor fight” to still make it happen. If it comes to that, you can expect a very messy, chaotic GOP convention, full of acrimony and possibly even violence (1).
The foregoing will only complicate the forming of the party’s platform: Assume that Primadonald survives all the tumult and gains the nomination. How does the Platform Committee then shape an electoral agenda that is consistent with their new leader’s messaging that has included, for example, nativism, xenophobia, the mocking of the disabled, and the initiation of trade wars. These have all been themes in the candidate’s stump speeches. Yet, if they were to be openly repeated in the party’s platform that would go far beyond courting electoral disaster; it would involve getting in bed with it.
In sum, watch for a very nasty GOP convention and the eventual framing of a party platform that will be long on obfuscation to paper over the nominee’s outlandish positions on a number of important topics.
The Democrats’ Convention
In the last few days, the Democratic National Committee has published a draft of the party’s platform (2). Without going into its many details, it is sufficient to note here, that it includes some important concessions that had been sought by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Will he ask for more, and with what success? The speculative view held here is that the present draft will be fine-tuned, but will come out of the convention as substantially the same document as it was going in which is to say that it will look good, at least to moderate Democrats. With Progressives in the Sanders mold? Not so much !
If there is any fighting that does go on, it will be over the wisdom of greatly expanding the platform so that it is more “Sanders-friendly”. Any such maneuvering is likely to be met with strenuous opposition because of the belief that moving the party too far left is a recipe for losing the coming general election. Practical considerations like that seem to be lost on many Sanders’ supporters.
As for nominating the party’s standard-bearer, that is a done deal; it will be Hillary Rodham Clinton unless the investigation into her use of a private server results in an indictment (3). If that were to happen, there would be a rush among delegates to Sanders. If not, then Hillary will get the nod, although there will be some short-term, spirited opposition from Sanders’ supporters.
En toto, the Democrats’ convention will be far more decorous as compared to the Republicans. There will be “moments” of disenchantment and some vocal opposition. But, there is no reason to expect anything like what is likely to happen at the GOP’s conclave in Cleveland.
- To give you an idea just how confrontational the GOP Convention could be, many of the delegates are now publicly saying that they plan to appear, armed. Additionally, some “skinhead” and White Supremacy groups have openly pledged to suppress any anti-Primadonald movement that crops up at the gathering.
- If you are interested in reading the draft, simply Google “Democratic Party platform”.
- As of the date of this blog, HRC voluntarily presented herself to the FBI for interrogation on that topic. The session was reported to have lasted 3.5 hours, with no details as to content emerging from it. Thus, the possibility of an indictment remains up in the air.