RNC picks Cleveland for 2016 Republican convention

Earlier today I predicted that the RNC would choose Cleveland as its 2016 convention site, mainly for reasons of electoral politics. Republicans have to carry Ohio to have any real chance of winning the presidency next time around, and the flood of delegates — and cash — would at least theoretically boost their chances of swinging the state back into the red column. Others on Twitter thought that Jerry Jones would carry the day for Dallas, but it’s Big D who got left out in the cold:

The Republican National Committee announced Tuesday that Cleveland will host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The decision was made by the RNC’s Site Selection Committee. The full membership of the RNC is expected to ratify the Site Selection Committee’s recommendation at its August meeting. …

Cleveland gives the Republicans a chance to hold their nominating convention in Ohio, a crucial battleground state. No Republican in modern times has won the White House without carrying the Buckeye State.

The RNC issued a statement on the award:

Site Selection Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen:

“It’s my honor to announce Cleveland as the Site Selection Committee’s recommendation to host the 2016 Republican National Convention,” said Mickelsen.  “Cleveland is a phenomenal city, and I can’t think of a better place to showcase our party and our nominee in 2016. This committee was tasked with difficult decisions and was presented with several strong options to host our convention. I’m confident Cleveland is the right pick for our next national convention. Cleveland has demonstrated they have the commitment, energy, and terrific facilities to help us deliver a history-making Republican convention.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to Dallas.  Dallas is a world class city with wonderful venues and fantastic people and I’m certain they’ll make a great host for our party in the future.  The Dallas team were excellent ambassadors for their city and showed both the committee and the RNC all the wonderful things the city has to offer.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:
“A Cleveland convention offers our party a great steppingstone to the White House in 2016, and I’m encouraged by the committee’s recommendation.  The team from Cleveland has gone above and beyond the call of duty and I think they’re representative of a city eager to show the country all the fantastic things they have to offer. 
“The RNC set a new standard for conventions during this process. Not only will the convention be held earlier in 2016, but there are also substantial guarantees in place for funding that put us well ahead of previous conventions and will give our nominee the best opportunity to succeed.”
“I also want to thank Dallas. The hospitality shown by their city, their team and the Republican community in Dallas has been tremendous.” 

The last time Cleveland hosted an RNC convention was 1936, which wasn’t exactly a banner year for Republicans — but that wasn’t the fault of Cleveland, either. Whether or not this choice makes it easier for Republicans to win a purple state will be debated endlessly between now and the convention, or even to the election itself. The GOP held their 2008 convention in the Twin Cities but still got blown out two months later in the election. The 2012 convention was held in Tampa, but Barack Obama still won Florida, albeit in a very close call.

The candidates make more of a difference than the venue, and ground organization in the election more than in the convention. Still, this looks like a better choice in terms of what it says about assertiveness. Dallas would have been an easy choice, in deep-red Texas, perhaps giving an impression of either insularity or complacency. Choosing Cleveland shows that Republicans are serious about the Rust Belt and want to highlight that effort.