A bungled and possibly contested convention could have lasting repercussions not only for the eventual nominee but also for the Republican brand. Party leaders fear that a week of contentious floor fights, inflammatory rhetoric and potentially violent protests could project a negative image to voters nationwide.
Compounding the challenges facing organizers are the expectations of Donald Trump, who asserted in an interview that he should have at least partial control over programming, stagecraft and other issues by virtue of his front-runner status — even if he does not have the delegates to secure the nomination beforehand.
Trump blasted the GOP’s last convention, in Tampa four years ago, as “the single most boring convention I’ve ever seen.” The billionaire real estate mogul and reality-television star said it was imperative that this year’s gathering have a “showbiz” quality — and he cast doubt on the ability of the Republican National Committee, which oversees the convention, to deliver.
“It’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep,” Trump said in a 45-minute interview here last week in his Trump Tower office. “We don’t have the people who know how to put showbiz into a convention.”