Ultimately this was nothing more than a troll convention. And being a troll in real life is very different than online.
CLEVELAND, OH – Before the Republican National Convention drew to a close Republicans were expressing dread not just for the prospects of their nominee Donald Trump, but for how ugly and cartoonish their Convention had become. Whether one was talking about Trump’s wife Melania’s speech which seemed to be lifted from First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech in support of her husband Barack Obama, commentator Laura Ingraham’s wave at the end of her speech that recalled a Nazi salute, the mini-revolt by anti-Trump Republicans on Monday Or Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz being booed because he did not endorse Trump in his convention speech, it was enough for Fox News personality Greg Gutfield to tweet “I predict the bounce from this convention to rival a sack of cement shaped like a dead kangaroo.”
I predict the bounce from this convention to rival a sack of cement shaped like a dead kangaroo @DanaPerino
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) July 22, 2016
But as damning as the climate inside Quicken Loans Arena where the Convention was being held, outside it was probably worse, as the White Supremacists and so-called “Men’s Rights Activists” (MRAs) were using this convention and the Trump campaign to advance their agendas. One, Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, held a “Gays for Trump” party at Cleveland State University that featured Pam Geller in the first public speaking engagement she had been invited to in over a year according to her, and was attended by National Policy Institute’s Richard Spencer, “Men’s Rights Activist” Daryush “Roosh V” Valizadeh, Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders and blogger Matt Forney. One writer wrote of the party as “an evil place, airless and soulless as the inside of Pamela Geller’s head.” Meanwhile Public Square had some heightened the last two days of the convention, but this time, it included some right wing activists that engaged in some verbal sparring with anti-Trump protesters. Nothing turned as raucous as the day before when Alex Jones visited the Square only to be literally chased out.
Members of a conservative activist organization Turning Point USA, as well as Christopher Cox and his “Bikers for Trump” (not to be confused with Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association), and a number of Christian activists that have been on the Square for much of the Convention taunting LGBT individuals went back and forth with anti-Trump supporters, many of whom stood outside the Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday wearing large sheets illustrated to symbolize a wall with the words “Wall Off Trump written on them.
Although they announced weeks ago they would be patrolling the Convention to protect Trump supporters from protesters, ultimately they will be seen on the Square just mulling around going back and forth with protesters in arguments. Indeed the fear of violence subsided early in the convention with a low turnout of protesters, and in the end less than 30 persons were arrested, and that might have contributed to the minimal activity of all protest groups on the Square. This was fine for the White Supremacists and their supporters, who also mulled around the Square unnoticed or unabated. Some were reporting for the White Supremacist podcast Red Ice, such as a man who said his name was Herr Larsson and that he was Swedish, and one woman named Rebecca, a supporter of “Men’s Rights Activists” who owns the “Blonde in the Belly of the Beast” YouTube Channel, and has appeared on Red Ice programs in the past. She was joined by her friend Matt Christiansen, a gamer from Montana who regularly posts anti-Muslim and sexist rants under the guise of defending free speech on his own YouTube channel “Skagg 3”.
Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination for President has been called “dark”, “polarizing” and “hateful”, but that’s not just coming from liberal detractors. Conservatives, many of whom have been long silent on the racism and bigotry coming from elements of the Republican Party began to free their tongues during the convention, even tweeting out their outrage over tweets from the White Supremacist website VDARE being displayed on a ticker in the Arena. After the speech, The View co-host and former Communications Director for George W. Bush Nicole Wallace told that his speech did not bode well for the GOP. “You know, listening to this, I was struck by two things that I always believed during my two decades in the Republican politics,” she explained on NBC. “One, the voters always get it right. And two, the Republican Party that I worked for two decades died in this room tonight.”
But at least one former Republican state legislator was inspired by Trump, as he embarks on a run for the senate in Louisiana: “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!” David Duke tweeted.
Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) July 22, 2016