Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

The message from Cleveland: Fear and loathing (of John Kasich), and maybe lots of Donald Trump

Donald Trump's campaign chairman says Ohio Gov. John Kasich is making a "big mistake" by skipping the Republican National Convention that kicks off in Cleveland on Monday. From the Associated Press:

Paul Manafort said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Kasich is "hurting his state, he's embarrassing his state, frankly" by skipping the four-day event convened to nominate Trump for president.


Trump’s top aide also said that the Republican presumptive, who is to accept the nomination on Thursday, may not be able to resist an early appearance. From the Washington Post:

And there's a good chance that Donald Trump will appear more than once.

"Donald Trump will be Donald Trump. Scripted is the wrong word," his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, told reporters on Sunday. "He will probably be making a couple of appearances."

"It's going to be a different kind of convention. We're not going to have the traditional wall-to-wall speakers from Washington," he added.


One of the major highlights of convention business today will be the release of the proposed Republican platform, which is to be voted on Tuesday. Look for a heavy emphasis on social conservative issues.


Guns and police are a main focus, inside and outside the arena that will host the Republican National Convention, which begins about noon today. From the Washington Post:

Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told CNN that he planned to send a letter to Kasich requesting immediate executive action. The demand arrives on the heels of two shootings that left five law enforcement officers dead in Dallas and three officers dead in Baton Rouge on Sunday.

After the July 7 attack in Dallas, officials admitted that they struggled to distinguish between people lawfully carrying long guns in the open and a gunman who was targeting police — spawning confusion and leading authorities to misidentify at least one armed protester as a suspect in the deadly shooting rampage.

But the same union head also heaps much of the blame for the police shootings on the man in the White House. From the Hill:

"It's absolutely insane that we have a president of the United States and a governor of Minnesota making the statements they made less than one day after the police-involved shootings," said an emotional Loomis.

"And those police-involved shootings, make no mistake, are what absolutely have triggered this rash of senseless murders of law enforcement officers across this country. It's reprehensible. And the president of the United States has blood on his hands that will not be able to come washed off."

Loomis was referring to statements made by President Obama and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) one day after the shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., by a police officer during a traffic stop.

Here's a thought of how disparate incidents can affect one another. In Dallas, as stated above, police trying to locate a sniper who was gunning them down at the same time were troubled by the presence of long guns in the crowd of protestors.

Look for that example to present itself in the state Capitol next year, when gun enthusiasts make another run at a bill to permit the carrying of concealed weaponry on public university campuses.


If you want to know what the theme of the first night of the RNC in Cleveland, don’t pay attention to the names. Look at the biographies. Here are the first few speakers:

-- A Marine who was at Benghazi (Mark Geist);

-- Another Marine who was at Benghazi (John Tiegen);

-- Siblings of a border patrol agent who was killed on the Mexican border (Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis)

-- A soap opera star (Antonio Sabato, Jr.);

-- The mother of a police officer killed by a drunk driver who was an illegal immigrant (Sabine Durden);

-- A Texas congressman who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee (U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul);

-- The sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisc., where a police officer was shot last night. (David Clarke)

-- An author who began her career on a reality TV show (Rachel Campos Duffy);


Georgia uber-operative Billy Linville has had a run-in or two with the new Republican vice presidential candidate.

Linville was the campaign manager for Rep. Philip Sharp in 1990 when his opponent, Mike Pence, was caught using political donations to pay his mortgage and other personal experience. Though the spending wasn't illegal at the time, it was a turning point in the career of the then-31-year-old Republican. From The Washington Post:

“It was a brazen act of hypocrisy,” said Billy Linville, who was Sharp’s campaign manager. “It was a bombshell, for sure. . . . Without question, he may well have won the election if it had not been for that.”

Pence’s early stumble proved to be a defining moment, prompting a period of public remorse that helped create the wholesome image many Republicans now say makes him an ideal running mate to counterbalance the bombastic Donald Trump.

In the months after that 1990 defeat, Pence waged a statewide apology tour and disavowed negative campaigning. He told a local reporter that using campaign funds for personal expenses had been “an exercise in naivete.”


You could say it's a rare three-fer. Georgia delegate Ashley Bell has served as a Democratic delegate and a Democratic superdelegate. Now, after switching to the GOP in 2010, the former Hall County commissioner is serving as a Republican delegate this week in Cleveland.


President Barack Obama may be fundraising for Hillary Clinton in Atlanta next month, but the presumptive Democratic nominee will also be getting a little help in Georgia today from another former colleague with deep ties to the LGBT community.

Former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank has two Atlanta events on the calendar today. He'll be meeting with local LGBT leaders and young people at Ponce City Market in the afternoon and will then co-host a volunteer phone bank with U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, at the Georgia Democratic Party's headquarters.

Frank retired in 2012 after more than three decades on Capitol Hill. He was not only a senior Democrat who co-authored a massive Wall Street overhaul effort that bears his name, but he was also the most prominent gay member of Congress.


If you haven't already, check us out on Snapchat. The politics team will be filing mini-dispatches from Cleveland on the app all week. Just add AJCnews.


And if you're looking for some lighter news surrounding the convention, check out our news team's features on convention headwear and one Georgia GOP delegate's Donald Trump doll.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.