2016 Republican National Convention – the mistake by the lake

ClevelandOh, there will be recriminations. Two years from now, pundits will be asking “what were they thinking?

The Republican National Committee has chosen the mistake by the lake as its 2016 convention site. No, really . . . Cleveland.

The modern-day science denying GOP that wants to block funding to the Environmental Protection Agency over enforcement of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act that your father’s GOP voted to enact back in the days of Richard Nixon, is going to the home of the infamous Cuyahoga River, “the river that caught fire,” that gave rise to the environmental movement in the late 1960s. Cuyahoga River Fire – Ohio History Central. There are people still living there who remember.

If you think the Washington Redskins NFL football team name and logo are racially insensitive and offensive, then GOP convention-goers who go catch a game at “the Jake” (now Progressive Field) to watch the Cleveland Indians MLB baseball team aka “the Tribe” may want to avoid having their photo taken with the Indians’ mascot, Chief Wahoo Tribe faces potential lawsuit over Chief Wahoo logo, Indians name.

Cleveland is located in Cuyahoga County, infamous for being slowest in the state with its election returns on election night. It is also infamous for GOP voter suppression of the large Democratic African-American voting population of the county. Ohio GOP Resurrects Voter Suppression Efforts | The Nation:

In 2004, Ohio had the longest lines in the country on Election Day, with some voters—particularly in large urban areas—waiting as long as seven hours to vote. A DNC survey estimated that 174,000 Ohioans—3 percent of the state’s electorate—left without voting. George W. Bush won the state by just 118,000 votes.

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Ohio Republicans drastically curtailed early voting in 2012 from thirty-five to eleven days, with no voting on the Sunday before the election, when African-American churches historically rally their congregants to go to the polls. Voting rights activists subsequently gathered enough signatures to block the new voting restrictions and force a referendum on Election Day. In reaction, Ohio Republicans repealed their own bill in the state legislature, but kept a ban on early voting three days before Election Day (when 98,000 Ohioans voted in 2008), adding an exception for active duty members of the military, who tend to lean Republican.

These cuts disproportionately impacted black voters, who made up a majority of early voters in large urban areas like Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Dayton’s Montgomery County in 2008. Ohio Republicans brazenly tried to cut early voting hours in Democratic counties while expanding them in Republican ones. GOP leaders admitted the cuts in Democratic counties were motivated by racial politics. “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, the GOP chair in Columbus’s Franklin County.

These voter suppression efforts backfired in 2012. The Obama campaign successfully sued to reinstate early voting on the three days before Election Day (although Secretary of State Jon Husted limited the hours) and the overall share of the black electorate increased from 11 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2012.

But now Ohio Republicans are once again resurrecting efforts to make it harder to vote. Last month, the GOP-controlled Ohio Senate, on a party-line vote, voted to cut early voting by a week, eliminating the “Golden Week” when Ohioans can register and vote on the same day during the early voting period (Senate Bill 238). The legislation was introduced and passed in one week, with almost no time for substantive debate. The Senate also passed a bill preventing the secretary of state or individual counties from mailing absentee ballots to all eligible voters unless the legislature provides the money, which they are unlikely to do (Senate Bill 205).

Democrats and voting rights activists will use your Cleveland convention to draw attention to GOP voter suppression efforts. Thank you for the gift, RNC.

Ohio is also a big union state, but former FAUX News host and congressman, Governor John Kasich, has been at war with the unions since taking over as governor. The voters of Ohio actually used a “citizens veto” to soundly defeat Kasich’s first attempt to crush the unions. Controversial Anti-Union Law Defeated By Voters. Remember GOP convention-goers, those hotels and restaurants you will frequent are likely staffed by union labor. Your anti-union rhetoric may have some unforeseen consequences. I’m just sayin’.

Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (although I have never understood why). But GOP convention-goers who seem to prefer Lawrence Welk and Pat Boone, or hillbilly Country music are likely to show little interest.

Finally, Ohio is home to the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner,  the “Worst. Speaker. Ever.” who has presided over the less-than-do-nothing Congress (112th) and the less-than-less-than-do-nothing Congress (113th). It is open to debate whether the TanMan will still be Speaker, let alone a member of Congress, two years from now. But if this loser is still around, it will be an opportunity to highlight his massive failure of leadership and the failures of the Tea-Publican controlled Congress.

The RNC will assert this was a “strategic” choice, trying to win back Ohio. But GOP Conventions have failed to produce any results for the GOP for years now. The Republicans are worse at getting a boost from states that host their conventions.

The only thing that could make this better for Democrats is if the GOP picks Willard “Mittens” Romney as its nominee again. See Politico Tiger Beat on the Potomac today. Jason Chaffetz: Mitt Romney will run — and win. Oh, please!

UPDATE: Think Progress has 5 Reasons Cleveland Is A Terrible Choice To Hold The GOP’s 2016 Convention:

Cleveland is benefiting from $1.4 billion in stimulus funding.

Cleveland is helping expand Obamacare coverage to thousands of lower-income residents.

Cleveland is embracing marriage equality protections for LGBT couples.

Cleveland is supporting sensible new gun laws.

Cleveland is recognizing climate change and lowering its carbon emissions.

One response to “2016 Republican National Convention – the mistake by the lake

  1. Don’t forget how polluted Lake Erie used to be, too. When I was a kid, it took me forever to get from the parking lot, across the beach, to the water without stepping on the dead Lake Erie Perch that littered the sand. You can actually swim in the lake again.

    Cleveland is an interesting choice for the RNC. They will be in Dennis Kucinich’s old district. You’ll remember that the Ohio Teapublicans redistricted his district and forced him to run against another somewhat liberal Dem– Marcy Kaptur.