The DNC began its selection of a 2016 convention site in earnest, or at least mostly so. Fifteen cities got invited to bid for the late-summer event, including one of the RNC’s finalists, as well as one very curious choice:
The Democratic National Committee has asked 15 cities to present bids to host the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2016.
In a letter sent to the mayors of each city, the DNC put an emphasis on locations that share values on “equity, inclusion, diversity, respect and dignity.” The party also emphasized a location with a strong relationship to organized labor, due to security and construction issues. …
The cities chosen by the DNC for inclusion in the process were Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
Detroit? Isn’t this the same city that now struggles to find a way to hang onto its art collection after a fiscal collapse? The current bankruptcy of Detroit perfectly highlights what to expect after 50 years of Democratic governance, but is that the message that the DNC really wants to highlight in its quadrennial convention?
Perhaps. Geoffrey Norman calls this “the perfect venue” for Democrats:
What city could be more appropriate as a setting for the celebration? Detroit was ruled, for a half-century or so, by a corrupt, one-party (Democratic) political machine that drove the city into the greatest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history and sent many office-holders to jail. Formerly prosperous citizens (Detroit once had the highest per-capita income of any American city) left by the thousands leaving empty streets, abandoned buildings, and feral dogs behind.
Joe Biden likes to brag that the administration “saved” Detroit. It would be fitting then, for a Democratic party to convene itself in this ruined city and be addressed by a long-serving, water carrying, pitch man who can say that with a straight face. Then the delegates could leave the hall and step out into the night and reality.
Nor is that the only potentially “perfect” venue open to Democrats. One of these cities were invited even though their initial inquiry was less than enthusiastic. Oddly, that wasn’t Detroit, but Chicago:
The requests for proposals to host the late-summer convention, which were sent to cities that expressed some form of interest, are to be returned to the DNC on June 6.
One Democratic official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the process, said Chicago’s expression of interest was a “little more undecided” than other cities and was akin to having “left the door open to considering” playing host for the event. Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the administration “will evaluate the opportunity this could provide and proceed accordingly.” …
While the city is Obama’s hometown, the president’s lame-duck status makes a Chicago choice questionable as Democrats pick a nominee to succeed him. At the same time, political parties also factor in the political value of a potential host city — particularly when it might help to locate the event in a potential swing state such as Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida.
If Democrats need to woo Illinois with a convention, they may as well save their money in 2016, and the same is true for New York. At least Michigan has a shot at being competitive, especially after the collapse of Detroit. The inclusion of Salt Lake City, Nashville, and arguably Atlanta are odd in the other direction. Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are, on the other hand, must-hold states for Democrats, and Miami is particularly important for Democratic ambitions in the Sunshine State:
Still, the inclusion of Las Vegas is a bit curious, too:
It’s not terribly unusual for cities to bid on both conventions, but one has to wonder whether the DNC is just hoping to pre-empt the RNC here. If Las Vegas hosts the DNC later in the summer, it will negate whatever political benefit Republicans hope to gain in a state with few electoral votes at stake. They could choose Cincinnati or Cleveland and compete for Ohio, which is much more significant to Electoral College hopes, even if Democrats choose Cleveland or Columbus for themselves.
At this point, though, one has to imagine that the RNC is rooting for Detroit to land the DNC convention, but few gifts like that ever materialize in politics.