SOUTH FLORIDA, March 18, 2014 — Election 2016 is still two years and eight months away, but the jockeying to host the 2016 conventions is well underway. Like everything else in politics, choosing a convention host city requires a ton of back room dealing with nothing left to chance. 1984 saw San Francisco Democrats hand Ronald Reagan one of the biggest landslides in American political history. Republicans returned the favor with a disastrous 1992 convention, although the city of Houston itself was not to blame.
City mayors often welcome opposing parties into their cities because partisanship takes a back seat to millions of dollars pouring into city coffers from free-spending delegates.
Heading into 2016, the Grand Old Party has narrowed its list down to eight potential cities. Ohio has three cities vying for the convention, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus. The remaining contestants are Phoenix, Arizona, Dallas, Texas, Las Vegas, Nevada, Denver, Colorado and Kansas City, Missouri.
What the GOP will do is a mystery, but what they should and should not do eliminates several cities easily.
Denver — Absolutely not. This once red state has gone blue. Even worse, it has gone insane. This is where stoners go to get free marijuana, with Colorado one of only two states to have legalized the stuff. Liberals would launch the mother of all pot parties to attract protesters from all over the country if the GOP held their convention here. Also, despite the GOP successfully recalling two anti-gun Colorado legislators, any pro-Second Amendment rhetoric would be played by the media against the backdrop of the Aurora and Columbine shootings. Denver may be the worst city in America right now to have a GOP convention except for maybe San Francisco and Seattle.
Phoenix—Absolutely not. Conventions are supposed to be seamless, non-controversial affairs. No news is good news. Arizona is a hotbed of politically polarizing activity. The gun issue here also has the Gabby Giffords shooting as the backdrop. Illegal immigration battles have turned Arizona into a tinderbox. The goal is fewer protesters, not more of them. For a party wanting to be more inclusive, the potential gubernatorial run of Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes for, fairly or unfairly, terrible public relations.
Cleveland—Absolutely not. Cleveland is a city that is known only for losing. There is nothing to be gained by the Republican Party associating with the epitome of failure. Perhaps if this were the 1960s and Jim Brown was running the Browns to victory, Cleveland could be considered. LeBron left the Mistake by the Lake for sunny South Beach, Miami and never looked back. Anybody who thinks the mayor would keep the streets clean and the delegates safe from union protesters is either insane or a paid employee of the Democratic National Committee.
Dallas—No. Dallas is a great city in a fantastic state. The problem is that the Republican Party needs to expand beyond Texas. The Texas GOP state convention usually brings in upwards of 10,000 attendees. The national GOP would not want to look small by comparison. Texas in the Summer is not a fun place to be. Ask any delegates who attended the 2012 Tampa, Florida convention how pleasant it is to be drenched in sweat and having to change clothes multiple times per day due to the heat.
Las Vegas—No. Sin City is the greatest place in the world to hold any convention that is not political. The 1996 Democratic Convention was disrupted when Bill Clinton’s indispensable strategist Dick Morris was caught with a prostitute. The last thing the Republican Party needs is another sex scandal. While prostitution is technically illegal in Las Vegas, that prohibition is rarely enforced. All it takes is one slip-up for MSNBC and the New York Times to attack the entire GOP. Preaching family values is not feasible with strip clubs on every corner.
Columbus—Possibly. Ohio is a key swing state. Most of the crazy Ohio union and Occupy protesters live in Cleveland, and a bus trip to Columbus is not that difficult. However, Columbus is the heartland, and Republicans cannot go wrong in Middle America.
Cincinnati—Yes. Of all the Ohio locations, Cincinnati is the best. It is a reliably Republican area, and far enough from Cleveland that protesters would have to spend more to disrupt the convention. Cincinnati borders Kentucky, making the heart of the industrial midwest a great location for a convention. This is a safe, non-controversial choice.
Kansas City—Absolutely Yes. Everything about this city makes for a perfect convention. While Kansas is reliably Republican, Missouri is the ultimate swing state that leans slightly Republican. Kansas City is as Middle America as it gets. This is the heartland through and through. They have great barbecue joints and friendly, welcoming, and most importantly, normal people. This is the anti-coastal answer to the disasters of San Francisco and Manhattan. After eight years of turmoil, this Kansas City is a peaceful oasis of calm. This city would be the most expensive for liberal protesters to travel to and disrupt. The liberal media turns it noses up at areas like this, making it a perfect place for a Grand Old Party looking to showcase real solutions for real America.