Look out, Cleveland


“Look out, Cleveland, the storm is comin’ through/And it’s runnin’ right up on you.” -Robbie Robertson, The Band

You have to feel bad for Cleveland. The city’s image was once so bad, it made Detroit look like that shining city on the hill. LeBron James finally rescued Cleveland from ignominy. Along comes Donald Trump and the Republican Convention next week to dump on the town all over again. The elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. This convention couldn’t be more of a mess if a herd of actual elephants were going to be in attendance.

There are not enough golf courses in Cleveland to distract Republican delegates from their task at hand — nominating Trump and destroying the Republican Party. Next week, the Grand Old Party becomes the Grim Old Party. So many Republican leaders are staying away from their own convention that one would think the town fathers had banned cigars, scotch, and promiscuity next week. Rumor has it that 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney would rather tie himself instead of the family dog to the roof of his station wagon than attend. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will attend under an assumed name.

On occasion, Cleveland has been referred to as “The Mistake on the Lake.” There are some, mainly your columnist, who believe the nickname remarkably foretold the nomination of Donald J. Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016.

I was able to get my hands on the program for the Republican Convention that begins on July 18 (I had to bribe one of the Trump folks with my rare copy of the 1966 song “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Sergeant Barry Sadler). You, dear reader, are most fortunate in that I am able to share the highlights of next week’s GOP Convention with you.

Day 1 (July 18)

Voting on the party’s platform will commence. Because Trump constantly changes his mind, the platform will be written with a medium Ticonderoga pencil that can easily be erased without smearing. Smearing is reserved for comments from the podium concerning Mr. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The platform will include the following:

A ban on Muslims coming into the USA from countries where there has been terrorist activity (Regrettably, this definition includes not only the Middle East, but most of the western world, including the United States. Mr. Trump has indicated that he is willing to rethink this position, but emphasizes the ban is only “temporary” until he figures out why everyone hates us.)

A wall shall be built as high as the third deck at Yankee Stadium, with Trump’s name emblazoned on the edifice. The American side of the wall shall double as a casino with luxury rooms, a Bobby Flay restaurant, and a $50 fee for parking. Mr. Trump sincerely hopes this casino will succeed where the Trump Taj Mahal has failed. He hastens to add he can always declare bankruptcy and promptly sue in court for the Trump name to be removed in the unlikely event this enterprise fails. Mexico will pay for the wall. If it fails to do so, he will remind them to “Remember the Alamo” (Mr. Trump withdrew this statement from Twitter when he was informed that we LOST at the Alamo).

The evening will include a keynote speech by former Indiana University men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight, now a TV hoops analyst. Coach Knight is known for his intensity, but it is not expected that he will throw a chair during his presentation. Mr. Trump sincerely hopes any mention of the word “chair” does not remind the audience of the last Republican Convention when Clint Eastwood addressed an empty one.

The former coach of the Chicago Bears and TV analyst, Mike Ditka, is also expected to address the convention. Coach Ditka and Coach Knight have been reminded that no profanity is permitted during their speeches, but the usual seven-second delay has been expanded to seven minutes, just in case.

Day 2 (July 19)

Various members of the Trump family will speak, extolling the virtues of Mr. Trump as a father, husband, and “all-around good guy” (Mr. Trump’s phrase). Also included will be a video tour of the new Trump Golf course in Turnberry, including an area newly named Brexit in honor of the recent vote in the United Kingdom. Guests mentioning the word Brexit when registering get one free night’s stay.

Day 3 (July 20)

The Vice-Presidential nominee will speak. The identity of the nominee is unknown at the time I write this column. However, no matter who gets the nomination to be second on his ticket, Mr. Trump would like it known that he is irreplaceable.

Day 4 (July 21)

The much anticipated highlight of the convention will be Mr. Trump’s accepting his Party’s nomination for president. He will use a teleprompter for that part of his speech, which will include a reading from “Trump: The Art of the Deal” and the Holy Bible (There will be no mention of the Corinthians for obvious reasons.) The second half of his speech will be entirely extemporaneous. Mr. Trump will directly address his recent controversial Clinton attack ad that used the Star of David. He will vehemently reject the notion that he is anti-Semitic. When Adolf Hitler forced Jews to wear the Star of David, Mr. Trump thought it was a sheriff’s badge and that Hitler was deputizing them. ■

Editor’s Note: In next week’s space, Tom Cardella will take a look at the Democratic National Convention.