The Republican National Convention is set to begin in Cleveland, Ohio, next Monday. In expectation of massive protests, police have already begun ramping up their presence. This has included a campaign of knocking on the doors of known activists in the area and subjecting them to questioning. Ahead of the convention, we have conducted a series of interviews with Cleveland residents about their thoughts and expectations for the coming RNC. 

 

Connor Musarra
23 Years Old
Producer/Artist Educator

How do you feel about the Republican National Convention coming to Cleveland?

I feel a great deal of ambivalence. While it is a positive thing to draw attention to the city in the interest of driving tourism and money, I would prefer that attention to come from just about anything other than the RNC.

How has this year’s political climate and the presidential campaign made you feel towards the Republican Party?

In some ways it has been amusing to watch them spiral out of control as a result of their own recklessness, however the amusement immediately subsided when their frankenstein candidate emerged as the actual nominee. I have never been a supporter of the Republican Party but I can say that in this particular election cycle I have been genuinely surprised at how deep they are willing to dive into hate-speech and xenophobia when given the opportunity. Trump opened up the floodgates to what was already stitched into the party; the only reason any Republican politicians appear to be upset is that their Southern Strategy just bit the hand that feeds.

As a Clevelander, how has the city changed in preparation for the RNC?

As downtown Cleveland frantically rearranges itself with cringeworthy RNC “Freedom” banners on every possible surface, there is no escape. We as a city are desperately trying to be accommodating to this group of people that do not and will never care about our city or its residents. I think the people of Cleveland, especially people of color, see that and probably don’t feel a great deal of comfort. It’s hard to feel accepted by a city that goes out of its way to support those that actively disregard you and your community.

In a city where 70% of the population consists of minorities, do you think Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the GOP’s platform belong in Cleveland?

Of course not. I don’t think it belongs anywhere, but especially not in a city like Cleveland, which has already taken the brunt of the disastrous policies Republicans have put forward regarding trade, education, infrastructure, among others. Donald Trump is a Southern Strategy candidate gone off the rails. He takes the anger of the misinformed white American and redirects it towards minorities. He doesn’t even have policies, all he knows is hatred. Cleveland is no place for this.

Do you intend on protesting during the RNC?

Probably not given the inevitable chaos and trigger-happy cops in riot gear.

Are you doing anything to prepare for possible turmoil or unrest during the convention?

I am preparing to be as far away from downtown as possible.

Who will you be voting for in November? How do you feel about that choice?

I am actually registered as a Massachusetts voter because I went to college there so if I am voting there, since it is such a deep Blue state almost guaranteeing a Hillary win, I will vote for the Green Party’s candidate Jill Stein. However, if I manage to switch back to Ohio, I will vote for Hillary because it is a crucial swing state. I absolutely hate the “lesser of two evils” mentality when it comes to voting but under no circumstance would I prefer Trump over Hillary.