The Republican convention is typically a time for party members to celebrate, but with Trump leading the show, many GOP operatives are bailing on the four-day event, which normally draws in GOP donors, lobbyists and leaders.
Many convention regulars are skipping Cleveland altogether. Will Ritter, a Republican digital strategist who worked the last three conventions, said he’d rather “attend the public hanging of a good friend” than attend the convention.
Those that are planning to attend, aren’t exactly looking forward to it.
This year’s GOP convention comes at a time when the party is deeply divided and dissatisfied with their nominee. Republicans are largely unhappy with the direction their party is moving, and many fear their party’s chances of winning in the fall are bleak.
“There’s nothing to celebrate this cycle,” says Chris Perkins, a Republican pollster who has attended every convention for the last 20 years. “I’m going because I have to, not because I want to.”
Many who are attending are doing so out of obligation. But other party members are vocal about their dissatisfaction with their party and their refusal to attend.
“This ship can sink without me as a passenger,” said party strategist Jason Roe.
Aside from party members being unenthusiastic about their nominee, many members of the GOP are skipping the convention due to security concerns. With lack of information on security details and the recent mass shootings, many party members are fearful that the very nature of Trump’s campaign will incite violence between his critics and supporters.