Pigasus the pig, the Yippies' presidential candidate in 1968
Steak magnate Donald Trump emerged from the Republican primary with just enough delegates to stave off a potential floor fight in Cleveland this week. While that's bad news for what's left of the GOP's #NeverTrump contingent, the real loser may be political junkies, who thought they'd finally see the ivory-billed woodpecker of American politics—the brokered convention. Instead, they'll have to settle for reliving the chaos of years past.
1836: The Anti-Masonic Party may have invented the political nominating convention, but it certainly didn't perfect it; the party's second effort ends without a presidential nominee amid fears that front-runner William Henry Harrison does not actually oppose Freemasonry in all cases.
1839: The first contested convention ends with the first instance of candidate-on-candidate violence. Henry Clay assaults war hero Winfield Scott—who was deep in a game of whist—after hearing that his rival cut a deal to hand the Whig nomination to Harrison. Clay is dragged from the room. Scott challenges him to a duel.
1860: The gold standard of dysfunction. Southern delegates walk out of the Democratic convention in Charleston, South Carolina, over slavery. They bolt again when the party holds a do-over in Baltimore two months later. Mirroring the schism nationwide, the party goes into November with two nominees.
1912: Undeterred by a violent primary campaign (delegates in Missouri were chosen by voters swinging baseball bats), ex-President Theodore Roosevelt promises to use "roughhouse tactics" to seize the Republican nomination from "fathead" President William Howard Taft. Roosevelt breaks with tradition by showing up in Chicago, but after losing a key procedural vote—and amid allegations of bribery on both sides—he abandons his plan to "terrorize" the convention there. Instead, he and delegates walk out and form their own party.
Theodore Roosevelt at what appears to be the first Progressive Party Convention Library of Congress
1920: Ohio Gov. Warren G. Harding enters the phrase "smoke-filled room" into the political lexicon when Republican power brokers huddle in Room 404 of Chicago's Blackstone Hotel to pick a compromise candidate. Harding wins on the 10th ballot.
The opening of the 1920 Republican National Convention in Chicago AP Photo
1924: Known as "the Klanbake," the longest convention in history (16 days) pits the Ku Klux Klan-backed William Gibbs McAdoo against New York's Catholic governor, Al Smith, in Manhattan. After a plank condemning the Klan is nixed from the platform, 20,000 Klansmen—including some delegates—celebrate in New Jersey by burning a cross and throwing baseballs at an effigy of Smith.
Gov. Alfred E. Smith received a 90-minute ovation at the 1924 Democratic Convention AP Photo
1964: New York's Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller, is booed unmercifully at San Francisco's Cow Palace when he proposes an amendment condemning the "extremism" of the KKK and the John Birch Society. Meanwhile, supporters of the eventual nominee, Barry Goldwater, harass reporters, hurling trash (and racial slurs) at two African American journalists. The "Woodstock of the Right" ushers in a conservative revolution and an electoral disaster. Sound familiar?
Susan Goldwater promoting the candidacy of her husband, Barry Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos
1968: Some 10,000 anti-war protesters clash with more than 20,000 police officers and National Guardsmen outside the Democratic convention in Chicago. The violence spills into the convention hall, where CBS News' Dan Rather is assaulted by the police on air. Protesters from the Youth International Party—the Yippies—hold a shadow convention to nominate their own presidential candidate, a 145-pound pig named Pigasus.
1976: With President Gerald Ford 24 delegates shy of victory in Kansas City, Ronald Reagan bets the house on a risky move—he picks a running mate. Reagan's choice of moderate Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Schweiker blows up in his face when the party's right wing threatens a revolt. Although Ford wins (by a hair) on the first ballot, Reagan has the last laugh: His concession speech overshadows the nominee and sets the stage for his conservative revival four years later.
Ronald Reagan and his running mate, Sen. Richard Schweiker, at the 1976 GOP convention AP Photo
He argued it would confuse fans of his own cycling event.
Tim MurphyJul. 6, 2016 6:00 AM
Until the election, we're bringing you "The Trump Files," a daily dose of telling episodes, strange-but-true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
In 1989, Donald Trump teamed up with college basketball analyst Billy Packer to host a bicycle race called the Tour de Trump. It ran from Albany, New York, to the Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, passing through Newark, and it was designed to serve as the American version of the famous Tour de France. It was a very Trump affair—one of the teams was sponsored by a Dutch brothel.
But there was another bicycle race that had just made its debut. Organizers in Aspen, Colorado, called their event the Tour de Rump, and its logo was a bicyclist with an oversized posterior.
Trump decided that the rights to the name "Trump" also extended to the word "rump," and he quickly moved to have the competition squashed. As the Aspen Times reported:
Trump's attorneys sent a letter to Tour de Rump organizer Ron Krajian. The lawyers contended that Tour de Rump violated the trademark for Tour de Trump, a road cycle race sponsored by Trump decades ago.
"You are using the name and mark Tour de Rump in connection with an 'inaugural' cycling event," Trump's counsel wrote. "Your use of that name and mark is likely to cause confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin, all in violation of applicable federal and state laws.
"Unless you give us your written assurance within 24 hours after receipt of this letter that you will forthwith cease and desist using the name and mark Tour de Rump, or any name or mark confusingly similar to Tour de Trump, we will institute legal action against you seeking injunctive relief, legal fees and actual and punitive damages."
The Tour de Rump folks were not intimidated. They did not change the name, contending Trump had no case.
It didn't take long for market forces to settle the matter. The Tour de Trump lasted two years—until Trump's plunging finances forced him to turn over his sponsorship to the DuPont corporation. The Tour de Rump is still going strong.
Mitt Romney won here by 10 points. Suddenly Arizona's a swing state.
Tim MurphyJun. 18, 2016 10:32 PM
On Saturday afternoon in Phoenix, Donald Trump did something no Republican nominee has had to do in two decades: He promised to win Arizona.
He also promised to win Connecticut, said he would do "unbelievably well with the Mexicans," and promised to solve "all of our problems" if elected president. But less than one month after he secured enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination, Trump's usual bombast was surrounded by signs of his campaign's own mortality.
For one thing, there was the fact that he was even appearing in Phoenix at all. Arizona was a strong state for Trump in the presidential primary, but it is an unusual place for a candidate to spend much time after winning the nomination. The state hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential year since 1996. No Democrats hold statewide office here, and Mitt Romney won the state by more than 10 points in 2012. If Arizona were to become a battleground state, it would most likely signify a landslide. But Clinton leads Trump in Real Clear Politics' polling average of the state, and Trump's rally on Saturday, at the Phoenix Memorial Coliseum—known locally as the "Madhouse on McDowell"—seemed to belie the state's deep-red reputation. Trump told the crowd he was "up big in the state," but then said it was "a very important state" and he would win it in the fall. Speaking a short while earlier, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who was joined at the event by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, drew a cheer from the crowd when she promised to "keep Arizona red." They just might; but the biggest story was that it even needed to be said.
Throughout the event, Trump projected an air of confidence—"I feel like a supermodel except times 10," he said of his media saturation—but there were signs that all was not going so swell with his campaign. He mocked a Politicostory that quoted a Trump adviser suggesting Trump would consider giving up his presidential bid for the right amount of money. According to the story, Trump might accept a $150 million buyout. To hoots from the crowd, Trump boasted that he wouldn't accept five times that much—but, he conceded, if they offered him $5 billion, he'd be foolish not to consider it. In the build-up to his grand entrance, one surrogate after another had engaged the audience in a call and response. The question was "Who's the nominee?" After the week he'd had, it was starting to feel a little less than rhetorical.
In his most audacious promise, Trump recalled how he had won victory after victory in northeastern blue states during the Republican primary. His strong showings were a sign, he suggested, that he could compete and win in places like Connecticut in the general election. (A cynical person might note that Republican primaries are usually won by Republicans.) But Hartford will have to wait for another time; for now, he's just trying to win Arizona.
A gunman opened fire at an Orlando gay nightclub around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and then took hostages, killing 50 people and hospitalizing 53 others, according to local law enforcement, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.
The count is based on pledged delegates and the wire service's superdelegate survey.
Tim MurphyJun. 6, 2016 8:56 PM
The Associated Press reported Monday evening that Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to reach the nomination, based on pledged delegates from caucuses and primaries, and an analysis of the campaign's superdelegates (mostly party insiders who receive additional slots). If the count holds—superdelegates can switch their allegiances at any point before the convention—Clinton will become the first female major-party presidential nominee in American history.
Update, 6:43 p.m. PT: In a series of tweets, Clinton downplayed the Associated Press' report.
Update, 7:41 p.m. PT: Bernie Sanders' campaign also responded to the report.
"Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination," the statement says. "She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race."