Is this a preview of the GOP national convention?

The Virgin Islands Republican Party Territorial Committee meeting devolved into chaos on Saturday as the delegate selection process resulted in pushing, shoving, and punches being thrown by committee members.

Politico is reporting that there are wildly differing accounts of what happened.  Indeed, there appear to be at least two assault victims.

The confused, contradictory accounts show a fractured party on the verge of a total meltdown.

Schoenbohm, who posted audio Monday of the chaotic meeting, accused Canegata of not adhering to proper procedures. A man can be heard around the 4:30-minute mark of one recording saying the entire meeting is out of order after what sounds like the chairman banging a gavel and saying “out of order.”

“[A]nd when the member objected and a Cruz volunteer that was at the meeting at the behest of the chairman put a cell phone camera in her face and then the … delegate who objected was subsequently thrown to the ground by an ardent supporter of the chairman,” Schoenbohm wrote.

The Ted Cruz staffer was allegedly Dennis Lennox, a Michigan-based Republican operative who spent weeks organizing the U.S. territories for Cruz’s campaign but said he would support Trump.

Schoenbohm added that Canegata was armed with a semiautomatic weapon at the meeting and “ordered everyone out of the meeting room and threatened all that opposed him with trespass if they didn't live [sic] his private property.”

Brady “emerged from the meeting room visibly shaken and crying,” he continued. “Someone called the police and demand that she be arrested even though she was the obvious victim of an assault and battery.”

Near the six-minute mark of the recording, a voice can be heard saying the group can reconvene in one’s office. In response to the impromptu conference, the committee sent a release accusing seven members of violating party rules.

“By convening and participating in this illegal meeting, the rump maliciously used the name and legal identity of both the Republican Party of the Virgin Islands and the Territorial Committee to perpetrate a gross fraud,” the committee said in a statement.

The fact sheet doubles down on the notion that the second meeting was unlawful, as it lacked the requisite number of representatives.

“During this illegal meeting, the rump, at the behest of Mr. [Warren Bruce] Cole, unanimously passed a motion defaming Territorial Committee member Frederick Espinosa based on demonstrably falsehoods of a defamatory nature,” the statement said. “The ‘final edit’ of an audio recording of the rump’s illegal meeting was posted by Herb Schoenbohm, a felon convicted of fraud.”

I recall the 1968 Democratic convention, where Mayor Daley's bully boys were shoving reporters and delegates alike.  Senator Abraham Ribicoff famously accused Daley of using "Gestapo tactics" both in the hall and in the streets to ram through a pro-war platform for Hubert Humphrey.  The floor seethed with physical confrontations between Daley supporters and McCarthy backers.

I don't see how confrontations can be avoided in a contested convention.  The toxic rhetoric of both Trump and Cruz has raised the temperature of the race, and putting their supporters in such close proximity on the convention floor invites violence.

"The whole world" will be watching and judging the Republican Party.  Can delegates keep their cool if Donald Trump continues to insist that the nomination is being stolen?  In a word, doubtful.

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