Despite GOP’s hard-right agenda, KC should fight to win 2016 convention

12/30/1840 6:00 PM

06/04/2014 3:24 PM

Kansas City is a great place to hold a convention, as Mayor Sly James and others repeatedly will emphasize when a group of Republicans comes to town starting Wednesday.

These important officials will help decide where the GOP’s 2016 national convention will be held. Kansas City is battling Dallas, Denver and Cleveland for that right.

However, not everyone is holding out welcoming arms for the Republicans. The concerns are understandable.

Generally, GOP lawmakers at the federal and state levels have spent years waging war on sensible gun regulations, legal abortions, reasonable air pollution rules, decent living wages and a host of other issues that many Americans care deeply about.

Republicans too often are defenders of the wealthy and not often enough promoters of helping people who truly deserve it.

Republican members of Congress have greatly contributed to gridlock in Washington, causing all kinds of fiscal problems, while not working in bipartisan efforts to improve this nation. To be clear, President Barack Obama and the Democrats certainly share some blame in that huge problem for this country.

Back to the 2016 convention: If Kansas City “wins” the right to host it, what might actually happen in that year?

The convention could wind up highlighting the party’s sharp swing to the hard right — if the ultraconservative movement in the GOP is as strong in two years as it seems right now.

If that happens, Kansas Citians could be witnessing a convention where Republicans are debating a wholly repressive agenda.

It could include even more absurd gun laws that would allow people to tote their weapons more places than they do now.

It could include plenty of ugly social positions, such as trying to outlaw abortion all together.

And it could include more rants about trying to keep the nation tied to dirty coal, rather than moving along the path toward more renewable energy.

Of course, times could change, too.

By 2016, Republicans might be on the verge of nominating someone more progressive, more eager to work for the betterment of the nation and not special interest groups controlled by wealthy Americans.

Mayor James and other boosters of getting the 2016 convention to Kansas City point out — correctly — that the city has hosted and will continue to host conventions put on by people with views that not everyone agrees with.

Plus, the GOP conventioneers will drop millions of dollars around town as they stay in hotels, visit local attractions and eat a little barbecue. That’s a good reason to try to win the convention.

One more point: The convention could give people who oppose the GOP’s repulsive views plenty of chances to get their messages out to the national media that will be in Kansas City.

Opponents can only seize that opportunity if the convention actually comes to town. It’s a dilemma, right?

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.


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