I contemplated writing a column about an interesting conversation I had recently with likely Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper, governor of Colorado. But you are not reading that right now – and you have some geniuses in Charlotte GuvCo to thank.
How could I ignore a silly-season swirl like, “As more Democrats question RNC, chances rise for Charlotte City Council to reject event,” as the Observer headlined it this month?
Apparently, President Donald Trump is too divisive for Charlotte to be the site of the 2020 Republican National Convention. Activist and City Council member Braxton Winston set things off in a Facebook video.
“We would be asking the people of Charlotte to host a celebration for a brand of politics that has been highly divisive and some would say dangerous to our community,” Winston said.
Winston was savvy enough to not call outright for Charlotte to drop its convention bid. He deftly left that to council member LaWana Mayfield, who the past few months has also advanced 9-11 conspiracy theories and labeled police officers “homegrown terrorists.”
The former chair of the city’s Black Political Caucus has raised questions. The Young Democrats called on the city to reject the convention. Fur is flying over social media. Critics say Trump and his GOP are simply too vile for the city to embrace, despite the economic windfall.
My unenthusiastic views on Donald Trump as person, president, and party leader are well-documented. I also have a clear record of opposing government – Charlotte in particular – throwing taxpayer money at sports teams, businesses and political groups to get them to come here. The city has put millions in the pockets of the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, Dole Foods, the CIAA – even Barack Obama’s Democratic Party of 2012 – in its endless effort to be World Class.
As far as hosting Trump being too divisive, this is the same city that voted straight in the face of Raleigh to pass the “Pee Wherever you Want” ordinance. I support stronger anti-discrimination laws, and the Republican HB2 response was notoriously noxious, but it came in response to the finger flipped proudly by the city.
And is Charlotte really in a position to tell Trump and all who support him they’re just not welcome here? With outlying cities growing faster than Charlotte and businesses increasingly locating near the city but not within, is it smart to make decisions based purely on party politics? If Carl Icahn or Peter Thiel or other deep-pocketed Trump supporters wanted to locate here, would this City Council say no?
Winston and others opposed to the city hosting the Republican convention are missing the forest for the Trump-Trees.
As the site of his re-coronation, Charlotte will be the backdrop for the biggest Trump rally ever. And probably the biggest anti-Trump demonstration ever.
Remember what the last round of protests did for the city? They turned into riots and brought multiple nights of wall-to-wall national news coverage. For the convention there'll be international media here. Talk about a World Class opportunity!
Seriously, maybe Braxton Winston should take a tip from the Colorado governor who might just be the Democratic nominee in 2020.
He told me there’s too much time wasted talking about Donald Trump right now.