And lucky me, the Twin Cities is one of the places that the DNC has chosen for its Final Four. This isn’t new; the Minnesota metro area had been on the short list for the 2008 convention as well, which may mean an edge for the state that gave Barack Obama a 10-point victory in that election:
Recognizing that President Barack Obama faces serious challenges in the Midwest he carried not two years ago, theDemocratic National Committee on Wednesday picked three heartland cities and just one in the Republican-friendly South to consider for its 2012 nominating convention.
The cities are Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C.
A presidential nominating convention brings millions of dollars and intense attention to its host city as well as political good will for the party itself. Obama won Ohio, Minnesota and North Carolina in his 2008 race against Republican John McCain, who won Missouri.
With Democrats competing for Senate seats in Ohio and Missouri, the announcement was likely to energize the Democratic base in those states ahead of the crucial midterm elections this year. Even so, putting states in play for possibly holding the convention was not a guarantee for wins there in 2012; McCain held his nominating convention in Minnesota, yet lost the state.
That would allow me to do some extensive coverage of a Democratic convention without the hassle of traveling to a remote location, and I’d certainly be happy to see the local area get an economic boost. I’m just not sure where the Democrats could go to recreate Mount Olympus a second time. Minneapolis and St. Paul demonstrated that they could host a grand partisan event in the last election, and the DNC would certainly see a friendlier environment here than the RNC did. I somehow doubt that the anarchists would crawl out of the woodwork as they did in 2008 to throw bleach on conventiongoers and to smash windows and plot worse acts that the police stopped before they could get started.
However, I doubt that Minneapolis will get it, even having been on the list two straight times. Obama may have issues with the Midwest in 2012, but probably not with Minnesota. I’d like to think that my state would come to its senses after four years of incompetence in the Obama White House, but this is the same state that elected Jesse Ventura, Al Franken, and sent Amy Klobuchar to the Senate to ask Elena Kagan about her Twilight preferences. If Obama loses Minnesota, the only state never to vote for Ronald Reagan, he’s got much bigger problems elsewhere.
So where will they go? Let’s take a look at the other choices:
- Charlotte, NC – Obama carried North Carolina in 2008 by only 14,000 votes, but will almost certainly have trouble keeping it next time. Democrats aren’t going to get the turnout they did in 2008. A national convention here might help keep North Carolina in the blue column.
- St. Louis, MO – If Obama wants to make a difference in the Midwest, this would be a better choice. Missouri is a key state in presidential elections, one Obama just missed carrying in 2008. He’s not likely to do much better in 2012, though, even with a national convention.
- Cleveland, OH – This is in the heart of the Rust Belt, and a region where economic downturns hit hard. Obama won Ohio by over 360,000 votes, even more than the margin in Minnesota, but this traditionally Republican state may flip in 2012. Ohio has the largest number of electoral votes of any of the four states mentioned, and a win in Ohio puts the GOP nominee in a difficult position to win the presidency.
I’d say Democrats will choose Cleveland in the end. It’s still a “heartland” state, but it matters more than the two Midwestern states mentioned, and probably better positioned than North Carolina.
Update: It was a 10-point victory in Minnesota for Obama, not 16 points. Thanks to Jeff D for the reminder.