Outside Dallas' American Airlines Center, potential host site of the 2016 Republican National Convention
Texas Democrats wrapped their political convention in Dallas on Saturday, but in two years “The Big D” may be seeing another political convention taking over the city. Last week, the National Republican Party narrowed their list of host sites for the 2016 Republican National Convention to two cities: Dallas and Cleveland. Eliminated were Kansas City and Denver.
If Dallas is selected, Republicans from across the country would head to the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, for a full week in either late July or early August of 2016.
But why would national Republicans want to host their convention in a solidly Democratic city and county such as Dallas which is within a solidly red state such as Texas?
Read the analysis below the fold.The last time the voters of Dallas County elected a Republican in a contested, countywide race was 2004. Since then, if a Democrat has appeared on the ballot countywide in Dallas county, the Democrat has won. While the city of Dallas had that unfortunate incident electing Tom Leppert as Mayor in 2007, who went on to run and lose as a Republican for US Senate in 2012, the municipality has largely supported Democrats for citywide offices over the last decade. For the state of Texas, Democrats last won a statewide race in 1994, but efforts have been made in the last two years to create the political infrastructure necessary to change the losing streak.
In short, today, Texas and Dallas are not viewed by the national political operatives as competitive areas of the country.
Hosting a political convention in a competitive state is only a recent trend in American politics. Last cycle, Democrats were in Charlotte, North Carolina and in 2008 they were in Denver, Colorado. But many observers forget the 2004 Democratic Convention was in Boston, Massachusetts and in 2000, Al Gore accepted the party's nomination in Los Angeles, California. Republicans hosted their recent conventions in St. Paul, Minnesota and Tampa, Florida. George W. Bush, however, accepted his renomination in the very uncompetitive New York City; but that was for a very particular “other” reason. Cleveland of course sits in the swing state of Ohio, but the city of Cleveland is the seat of Democratic power in the state.
In terms of finances and culture, Dallas holds significant advantages over Cleveland. One of Dallas' key reasons for making it this far is the city has been able to prove they can provide the necessary finances, and then some, to host a large convention. Dallas is also the home of strong sports teams such as the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers, and The Dallas Cowboys, who have all won championships or played in their respective finals within the last twenty years. Cleveland meanwhile is home to the underwhelming Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Brown, and Cleveland Indians; Only the Browns have won a championship in the past, and that was in 1964. The Cavaliers have been a giant disappointment since LeBron James abandoned his home state in 2010.
Dallas hosts a colorful culture with a vibrant film, art, and food scene as well as a first class zoo and aquarium. Cleveland can only point to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.?
Unless Ohio's swing state status over rides all other considerations, Dallas is likely the front runner to host the Republican Party in 2016.
And let them come.
Let national Republicans see the county the Democrats stole away from them ten years ago. Let them see a place under solidly Democratic control and the benefits it brings. Let them see a city that lights up with Pride every year. Let them see a local governance that respects and welcomes people of all creeds, colors, genders, and sexualities. Let them see a local governance that cares about those who have the least and has advocated for expanding Medicaid.
And, most importantly, let them come and see the powerful infrastructure we have been building throughout Texas since 2013 which will turn Texas into a battleground before it becomes a Democratic state.
Republicans deserve a chance to say goodbye to the Texas they knew. And they should spend lots of money fueling the Dallas' economy which will help fund and expand the liberal social and economic programs they oppose while they're at it.
Let them come.
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