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April 22, 2014 1:16 PM You, Too, Can Host a National Political Convention!

By Ed Kilgore

Perhaps the declining importance of national political conventions is a factor, and it probably didn’t help when Congress banned use of taxpayer funds to support convention operations last month. But for whatever reason, the Democratic Party isn’t waiting around for cities to come a-courting to host their 2016 clambake, as CNN’s Mark Preston reports:

The Democratic Party has asked 15 mayors to submit formal bids to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, an event that could cost a city as much as $60 million but the payout could be triple the investment or more.
The Democratic National Committee’s official request for proposal or “RFP” was sent to cities late Monday and they are required to submit their bids to host the convention by June 6.
Cities that received the DNC’s “RFP” include: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (Ohio), Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
In a letter accompanying the RFP, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz noted that Democrats, in addition to logistical requirements, will consider a city’s relationship with a key political constituency, labor, as well as a city’s approach and handling of certain issues.
“While many of the requirements are specific to the various logistical and administrative goals of putting on the Democratic National Convention, we do seek a city that shares our values of equality, inclusion, diversity, respect and dignity,” said Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as a congresswoman from Florida. “And because of the significant security and construction related issues that we will face, we also look for a city with strong relationships with organized labor and those they represent. Our priority is to work with a community that will partner with us as we plan this historic event.”

Something tells me Salt Lake City will not be racing to send in an application.

Republicans are further along in their convention planning; they’re down to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas. This last city may have an advantage because of its nexus with a GOP “key political constituency” named Sheldon Adelson.

In any event, I’m personally predicting another step this cycle towards smaller and shorter conventions with even less left to chance than before. As usual, Republicans will struggle to display diversity, and Democrats will have to take extra steps to impose discipline. Both parties will work mightily to help media representatives justify their travel expenditures, and local volunteers will be ruthlessly exploited. Republicans will go early this time to give the Walker/Martinez ticket (just a guess, just a guess) time to gather its wits, so to speak, and narrow a polling gap against the Clinton/O’Malley juggernaut (another guess, at least in the second position). And at the end of the dual festivities, we’ll all wonder anew why the whole spectacle isn’t put on in an extra-large TV studio with holograms.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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