It’s official: the Democratic Party has a host city for its next quadrennial meeting. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, will serve as the gathering place for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which will be held the week of July 25th, 2016, following the Republican National Convention Cleveland. (Typically, the party that holds the White House schedules its convention to follow that of the party that is contending for the presidency.)
“We’re going to have a great time together come July 2016 in Philadelphia — and many more details are coming soon,” Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in an email to the Democratic Party’s mailing list. “But there’s plenty of work for us to do before we reach Philadelphia, and Democrats will need your help to keep the White House blue.”
Separately, in a news release distributed to the national press, she said: “In addition to their commitment to a seamless and safe convention, Philadelphia’s deep rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering. I cannot wait to join Democrats across the country to celebrate our shared values, lay out a Democratic vision for the future, and support our nominee.”
“The City of Philadelphia is excited and honored to be selected as the host city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said. “We believe that it was our proven track record of hosting big events safely and efficiently with a dynamic team of top-tier professionals to organize and manage a conference of this magnitude, paired with our City’s tremendous amenities, its accessible location and historical significance, which made Philadelphia the ideal choice for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.”
Philadelphia is already set to welcome Pope Francis this September for the World Meeting of Families. It has previously hosted six Republican National Conventions (the most recent in 2000) and two Democratic National Conventions (in 1936 and 1948; the party won the White House in both of those years.)
The other finalists were Columbus, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York. Columbus had been lobbying hard for the convention and was really hoping to land it, so the disappointment is being felt more acutely there. (The Columbus Dispatch already has a story up lamenting the city’s highly touted yet ultimately unsuccessful bid.)
Logistically, Philadelphia may well have been the safest choice. As mentioned, it has hosted national party conventions before, and it definitely has the infrastructure to house and move all the delegates and media (there is a subway system and plenty of hotel rooms). Columbus lacks rail transit, though its organizers did a good job playing up the city’s strengths in their marketing and lobbying.
The Ohio Republican Party immediately attempted to make fun of the Ohio Democratic Party following the announcement, sneering, “Ohio voters take note: the GOP wants your vote. The Democrats … not so much.”
That’s ludicrous, of course: Democrats will spend a massive amount of time, talent, and treasure attempting to win Ohio next year, just as they did in every single one of the last few cycles. We pointed out to the Ohio Republican Party on Twitter that they have lost the last five states they held conventions in (Tampa in 2012, St. Paul in 2008, New York in 2004, Philadelphia in 2000, and San Diego in 1996).
Moreover, in 2012, the Democrats lost North Carolina, the state they chose for the 2012 DNC. The data simply does not support the assertion that a party is better positioned to win a state by holding its national convention there.
Philadelphia is a city steeped in history, and it ought to make a nice gathering place for the Democratic Party as it meets to nominate a successor to President Obama. People there certainly seem excited about hosting the Democrats. Congratulations to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection on its selection!