While the RNC is a place for high-level politics, doing official business and moving the Republican agenda forward, it’s also an arena where unprecedented things have happened. Here are a few tales of the strange and unusual from the RNC.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s Childhood Home - For the 2016 RNC, realtors are offering homes in the Cleveland, Ohio area for rent as an alternative to staying in a hotel during the convention. One such available rental is, yes, Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home. It’s also the location where Dahmer committed his first murder and dissipated his victim’s dismembered body. The current owner of the house has had it listed for over two years and can’t sell it; hmm, we wonder why. The creepy factor is incredibly high for this one!
Unusual Sounds – The 2004 RNC brought unusual forms of sound into play when they used Long Range Acoustical Devices to control protesting crowds (LRAD’s have been used as an effective non-lethal weapon by emitting enough sound force to cause those in the focused beam to become nauseous or even faint). They also utilized HyperSonic Sound, an incredibly focused audio beam that makes it feel as though the sounds are inside your head, for projecting speeches from past Presidents to listeners.
Puppets, Mass Arrests and The Rock - In 2000, the RNC was hosted in Philadelphia, a notoriously Democratic city. It’s no surprise, then, that there was a significant amount of protesting happening outside the Convention, leading to hundreds being arrested, and lawsuits following the arrests. The Rock showed up and gave a speech for some reason, and there was an incident that has come to be known as “The Great Philly Puppet Raid of 2000.” A master puppet-maker, in conjunction with almost 100 workers, planned to deploy a parade of over 130 10-foot-tall skeletons representing the criminals then-Texas Governor George Bush had had executed, along with massive cockroaches, and other disturbing large papier mache puppets. Police took note and raided the warehouse where the puppets were housed, and arrested many of the puppet-maker workers.
Co-Presidency?- Yes, at the 1980 RNC, Ronald Reagan was already the presumptive nominee for Republican President candidate. He needed a running mate, however, and although he beat out then-President Gerald Ford by a long shot, he considered writing Ford in on his ticket for Vice President. The only way Ford would agree to it though was if he could be Co-President with Reagan. It would have been an unprecedented and unusual event, but it never happened. By the time the idea went public, it was already dead. Reagan realized he didn’t want to give up that much autonomy if he became President, and Ford concluded the idea probably wouldn’t work anyway. Reagan ended up adding George H.W. Bush to the ticket – a wise choice.
Not In Attendance But Nominated for President – In 1936, the RNC was hosted in Cleveland at the Cleveland Public Auditorium. On the third day of this RNC, Alf Landon of Kansas, who wasn’t even in attendance at the Convention, was nominated for President. They didn’t event stand a chance though, losing in a landslide to FDR and John Nance Garner.
Republicans and Democrats…United? – The 1864 RNC was branded as the “National Union Convention,” as the Civil War was in full swing. It allowed a way to include Democrats who remained loyal to the Union. This was the only time that Republicans and Democrats met together for the Presidential Convention.
The First-Ever Convention Broadcast - The first-ever Convention for either political party to be broadcast was 1924 RNC, also in Cleveland, Ohio. Nine cities had access to the broadcast via a special link over long-distance telephone lines. It was also the first Convention where women were given equal representation.
(Information Sources: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=99472&page=1, http://www.wkyc.com/opinion/editorials/wendel-on-the-web/rnc-rental-available-jeffrey-dahmers-childhood-home-in-bath/112504313, http://mentalfloss.com/article/25085/reagan-and-ford-considered-co-presidency-1980, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_National_Convention#History)