With 2016 bearing down upon the nation (it is only a year away), one of the big questions is where the Democratic National Convention will be held in two years. MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki called the race to host the convention the first campaign for 2016, including a debate on his show and negative advertising. Earlier last week it was announced that the choice of cities to host the all-important Democratic National Convention had been narrowed down to three possibilities: Columbus, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Each city has its supporters and detractors, but what are the important parts of all these arguments? Why does the choice of city matter?
The short answer is that it really does not matter. Washington Post writer Phillip Bump wrote an op-ed about which city he thought should get the nod, but he also offered some data about the effects of hosting the convention on the chosen state. He noted that Democrats get a very slight bump in the polls while Republicans see a small dip. As he summed up, it would not matter to the polls if the convention was held in Crimea that is how slight an effect this choice has. If that is true, then all the brouhaha and “Pick me! Pick me!” shouting going on is meaningless.
So what does matter? In many ways, the choice of city holds a symbolic importance. It can affect how the rest of the country sees the party and, therefore, the party’s nominee. One donor to Philadelphia’s cause said that his city sent the right message to the country. “We need to remember our Founding Fathers,” he said, “and our nation’s founding principles.” That is the kind of argument that resonates with people, though not necessarily with the people vying for the pick.
Columbus, Ohio, may have a different message to send those avid observers of the Democratic National Convention. Not far away in Cleveland, the Republican National Convention will be announcing who the GOP candidate will be. Should the Democrats choose Columbus, it will be the first time since 1972 that a single state hosted both conventions. This choice might signal a certain amount of concern or undue awareness of the Republicans and might seem as though the Democrats are worried. This is not the kind of message a party crowning its king (or queen) would want to send.
On the other hand there is Brooklyn, New York. Some have noted that there is a risk of bed bugs in the city, which is not an attractive quality. But that risk aside, there are other considerations. Hillary Clinton is a well-known politician from New York. It may look like just more inevitability from her campaign should New York be chosen. That is not a good look for any candidate, but there are larger concerns for the Democrats as a whole.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been an avid campaigner for his area and has put together a 101-member committee to help bring the Democratic National Convention to town. The list reads like a who’s who of money and privilege and includes the names a millionaires and famous figures, including the actress Cynthia Nixon. The Democrats may be worried about being too closely associated with the wealthy, especially after they successfully campaigned against Mitt Romney’s out of touch one percent status in 2012.
The news that the choice of host for the 2016 Democratic National Convention had been narrowed down to three possibilities brought with it renewed efforts and speculation. The choice of city may not matter that much, as Phillip Bump pointed out. But as some have pointed out, there is symbolic meaning to the choice and no doubt the decision makers for the Democrats will consider that carefully. For the rest, this is just more evidence that the campaigning for 2016 has begun and the excitement can start increasing from here on out.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury