There’s a strong possibility that Milwaukee’s shiny new Fiserv Forum will be announced this week as the site of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
That’s a partisan political event, obviously. But it has nonpartisan appeal for all of Wisconsin.
Landing the Democratic convention would be a huge boost, politically and economically, for the Milwaukee metropolitan area (which includes Racine) and Wisconsin. The same would be true for the Republican convention, but Milwaukee isn’t a finalist for that one.
“I think any time you have presidential politics focusing on our state, that is a good thing regardless of party,” Republican strategist Mark Graul said to WTMJ-TV.
“I think it would send a very clear message that Wisconsin matters and may in fact be the tipping-point state for the 2020 presidential election,” Democratic strategist Joe Zepecki told WTMJ.
The 2016 presidential election certainly offers evidence to support Zepecki’s position. Donald Trump, a Republican, became president in large part by winning three states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – won by President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in 2012. Trump won Wisconsin by 22,748 votes, a margin of less than 1 percentage point.
Trump made five campaign stops in Wisconsin between June 10, 2016, and election day. Democratic front-runner, and then nominee, Hillary Clinton made none during that same period.
Did Clinton lose Wisconsin because she didn’t campaign here personally? That’s not a question with an objective answer. But the perception that the Democrats took Wisconsin in particular, and the Midwest in general, for granted is out there — “If we want to really pay attention to the Midwest, we should be in the Midwest,” Marge Hoffa, a DNC member from Minnesota, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in support of placing the convention in Milwaukee — and it appears to be a factor in Milwaukee having made it this far.
Whatever the motivations, we’re happy one of the two big political parties might be bringing its next national convention to Wisconsin.
As has been pointed out, our annual weather from July 13-16 – the dates for the convention have already been chosen – is considerably more pleasant than that in Houston or Miami, the other two finalist cities.
One of the issues said to be working against Milwaukee is the perception that it’s not a big enough city to accommodate the thousands of attendees to a national convention, that the Brew City doesn’t have enough hotel rooms.
We’re hoping the Milwaukee bid committee has countered that argument by pointing out the thousands of hotel rooms available in the county next door, the one a short trip south on Interstate 94 from the Fiserv Forum.