POLITICS

Trump Supporters Anticipate A Convention Fight, Literally

"They’re gonna start some s**t."

MIAMI -- It was a slow night Tuesday at the Trump National golf club in Doral, Florida, 30 minutes west of downtown Miami. Even as the world eagerly awaited Donald Trump's election night address in his nearby Mar-a-Lago resort, things were whisper-quiet in the real estate magnate's eponymous property. The club's bar was entirely empty, save for a woman wearing a white "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" hat ordering celebratory Champagne. The TV was tuned to a college basketball game, even as Fox News was calling the Sunshine State for the former "Apprentice" host. 

It might have been the only bit of peace and civility to prevail in Trumpland this week. With the GOP primary possibly ending in a contested convention, the likelihood of Trump's already disgruntled and sometimes violent constituency growing more volatile will grow ever more likely.

If the mood at Trump's events are any indication, his supporters might be spoiling for a literal fight. During Trump's rally in Boca Raton on Sunday, his supporters were already anticipating the unrest that could result from an attempt to hand the party's nomination to someone with less success in the primaries.

Ron Royce, a DJ who was sporting a leather jacket with the words "OBAMA SUCKS" scrawled on the back in white paint, foresees a level of discord not witnessed since the 1968 Democratic National Convention erupted in violence over Vice President Hubert Humphrey's nomination.

"That was the Democratic Party. Democrats are the only ones that riot. Republicans don’t riot. This time they might," he mused. “There’s gonna be pandemonium on the floor between all those delegates. They’re gonna start some shit.”

That sentiment was echoed by John Germita, a New York City transplant who had affixed a Trump bumper to his shirt and was carrying a Trump yard sign.

"I don’t know if there would be violence, but it would be a big problem,” he speculated. “People are gonna go crazy. I will, anyway.”

Some of Trump's recent rallies have been marked by violence between supporters and protesters. Here, Chicago police clea
Some of Trump's recent rallies have been marked by violence between supporters and protesters. Here, Chicago police clear the crowd after a Trump event was canceled on Friday. 

Trump himself seemed to parrot Royce's and Germita's statements on Wednesday, speculating during a CNN interview that a contested convention would give rise to "riots."

"I think you would have riots," he said. "If you disenfranchise those people, and you say, 'Well, I’m sorry, but you’re 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short,' I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen."

"I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen," he continued.

Trump's comments mirror his previous reactions to unruly behavior. A number of protesters and reporters have been physically mistreated by Trump supporters and staff, prompting sometimes blithe, and other times downright supportive, responses from the candidate, who promised to pay for any legal fees incurred by indicted supporters.

Indeed, in a strong rebuke to the media, Trump not only appeared onstage Tuesday night with his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski -- who has been charged with assault for violently grabbing a Breitbart reporter -- but thanked him for a job well done, prompting pointed reactions in the press.

The issue of violence will likely stay front and center as Trump attempts to solidify his hold on the GOP nomination. His two remaining challengers, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have both made issues of Trump's control of his supporters, or lack thereof, a central point of their attempts to deny him the nomination, either through primaries or in Cleveland this July.

“I will be … forced going forward to talk about some of the deep concerns I have about the way this campaign has been run by some others -- by one other, in particular,” Kasich told reporters on Tuesday.

Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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