Commentary: DNC should pick MKE

Milwaukee makes sense for political reasons

DNC 2020 will be held at Fiserv Forum.

Politics aside, it would be absolutely huge if Milwaukee was picked as the host city for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Local officials working to land the event say it would attract 50,000 visitors that would fill hotel rooms and spend money here, generating an estimated local economic impact of $200 million. It would be one of the biggest events Milwaukee has ever hosted.

The Fiserv Forum scoreboard lit up for the DNC 2020 selection committee.

The national and international media coverage of the DNC would help elevate Milwaukee’s status as a major league city.

Milwaukee has shown it can host large events. Harley-Davidson Inc.’s 115th anniversary attracted about 150,000 riders to the region.

The city’s biggest selling point is Fiserv Forum. The new downtown arena is state-of-the-art and includes a massive Wi-Fi infrastructure, which is vital for a political party that wants delegates at its convention to send out as many messages as possible to spread the word.

What are the chances that the DNC picks Milwaukee for the convention? Two other cities are being considered: Houston and Miami.

If the Democratic National Committee favors the largest city, then its choice is going to be Houston. If the most glamorous and exciting city is preferred, then the choice will be Miami.

But this is a political event. And for political reasons, Milwaukee makes the most sense.

Just look at the map from the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump won big in the Rust Belt and that led to his Electoral College victory. Trump won in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 2012, all of those states, except for Indiana, went for Barack Obama. In 2008, they all went for Obama. Trump’s victory in Wisconsin was the first for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Texas is a deep red state. Why would the Democrats want to hold their convention there? Florida, on the other hand, is an important swing state. But Florida is surrounded by red states. Milwaukee is within driving distance of numerous blue and swing states.

Democrats desperately need to reconnect with the heartland of America and they need to show they are not the political party of the coastal elites. Holding their convention in Milwaukee doesn’t completely change that narrative, but it would help.

Milwaukee has never hosted a major political convention. Houston and Miami have. Milwaukee would be fresh. It would be different.

Milwaukee has another big advantage: the weather! Milwaukee’s average high temperature in mid-July, when the DNC will be held in 2020, is 79. In Houston, it’s 91 and in Miami, it’s 85. Hurricane season begins in June, by the way.

For all of these reasons, the DNC should pick MKE for its 2020 convention.

If not, Milwaukee should try for the 2024 Republican National Convention. The city’s selling points would be the same.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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