As the Republican National Convention nears, many of those who eagerly flock to the event every four years are reluctantly planning to head to Cleveland this month, reports Politico.
"This is the first year in the past two decades that Republicans aren't excited about attending the convention. Normally, we're all jazzed up about getting together and celebrating our nominee," Chris Perkins, a Republican pollster who's been to every Republican convention since 1996, told Politico. "There's nothing to celebrate this cycle. I'm going because I have to, not because I want to."
Professional responsibility motivates more attendees than usual this year. Many feel the party is moving in the wrong direction, and are extremely dissatisfied with the presumptive nominee Donald Trump, who publicly belittled, blew-off and insulted establishment republicans throughout his campaign. Trump's unfavorable ratings among voters have set a new low for a modern presidential candidate.
"I am there for one day on business," said Danny Diaz, a former Jeb Bush campaign manager and an adviser to many of the GOP's most prominent figures. "It is business and nothing more."
The Center for Public Integrity
reports that important donors are avoiding the spotlight at both the Republican and Democratic conclaves.
"They want to show up, they want to rub elbows with everyone at the conventions, they just don't want the corporate name out there," said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the advocacy group Public Citizen, which tracks efforts to influence party leaders at the conventions. "They'll be looking for lower-key ways of doing the same thing they've always done."
Not only are Republicans worried that Trump will lose their party's chance at winning the White House, they also think he'll hurt down-ticket candidates via association.
Despite convention speeches from luminaries who include House Speaker Paul Ryan and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, many big name republicans are skipping the event. Former presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush won't be going, nor will former GOP nominees Mitt Romney or Arizona Sen. John McCain. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, locked in a swing-state re-election battle, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse will also shun the affair, according to CNN
Security concerns have been raised over the event, to which convention spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said: "We're confident Cleveland will be secure and convention-goers will be able to do their business and experience Cleveland."
Some have a more positive outlook, hoping to see a more exciting convention than usual.
"This campaign has been unlike any other in American history," said Alex Conant, a former aide to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and one GOP operative who plans to go. "Why wouldn't the convention also be unlike anything we've ever seen?"
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