In an election year, everything that happens is political. And so much is happening. It is the perverse nature of politics that a bad week for the world and for the country can be a good week for a political candidate. In that sad regard, Donald Trump has had a good week.
The week began with funerals in Dallas for the police officers who were gunned down in ambush the week before at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
The week continued with a terrorist attack in Nice, France in which more than 80 innocent civilians were mowed down and killed by a young Muslim man driving a white bobtail truck. An even greater number lie in Nice-area hospitals with critical injuries. The Islamic terror group ISIS takes credit for the attack.
As the weekend began, so did a military coup attempt in Turkey. At first blush, it appeared that the coup had succeeded. We would soon learn that the Erdogan government not only survived the coup, but perhaps actually staged it for its own propaganda and political purposes. Hundreds lie dead.
The week concluded with the shooting deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The suspect, who was killed by police, is Gavin Long. Long was African-American and was reportedly a member of the Nation of Islam.
The most immediately visible effect of these recent incidents – and the many that preceded them – is security on a scale here in Cleveland such as none of us in this business have ever seen. Entrance into the facility for me this morning took close to two hours. The area of Dowtown Cleveland anchored by the Quicken Loans Arena is literally a walled city.
So how does this help Trump?
The short answer is because it hurts the Democrats. Barack Obama has been president and commander-in-chief for seven and a half years. In that time, American victory in Iraq crumbled, the terrorist group ISIS gained a foothold, and terror attacks have been occuring around the world with increasing frequency.
When things go badly, the party in power generally gets stuck with the blame. Trump lost no time painting himself and running mate Mike Pence as the antidote to the chaos that seems to be gripping the country and the world.
In the one-inning game that is the political conventions, Trump and the GOP bat in the top of the inning and the Democrats bat last this time.
Watch for Donald Trump and the GOP to try to build a big top-of-the-inning lead by painting the Obama administration – and by extension its would-be successor Hillary Clinton – as the responsible party for that fear and chaos.
The economy is almost always the top issue in a presidential election. This season, with weekly events that kill, maim and frighten innocent citizens and threaten the very social order, the economy could come in second.