Share

POLITICS: Campaigns

As DNC decides on 2016 convention site, experts say sites don't help parties win states

By |

View DNC 2016 site candidates in a larger map Politics,Steve Doty,Democratic Party,2016 Elections,Campaigns,Video,Pennsylvania,DNC,Philadelphia

Democratic National Committee members are wrapping up their two-day swing through Philadelphia Thursday as the DNC tries to decide on the best possible location to host the party's convention in 2016.

Tours of Independence Hall, National Constitution Center and greetings by top Pennsylvania politicians like former Gov. Ed Rendell, himself a Democrat, are all a part of the city's pitch to the committee.

Hosting a party's convention is an economic shot in the arm for any city, but what does it mean for the political party's chances in that state?

"It really does not matter at all," said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "Political-operative types will argue that it helps as a magnet for volunteers and that sort of thing, but any electoral effect is minimal if it exists at all."

A study the center completed during the last presidential election that found that, for Democrats, "since 1948 the party performed better in their convention state in seven of 16 elections, but in half the cases, Democrats actually had comparably worse showing in their convention state than at the national level."

As for the GOP, UVA's study argues that there is little evidence the location helps the party in November and may not be a factor at all in picking a location.

For the last eight presidential elections dating back to 1984, Republicans have won the state where their party's convention was held only three times. Democrats have fared slightly better, winning five times. Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama won Florida or North Carolina, respectively, in 2012.

"Pennsylvania is a perennial swing state with significant electoral votes. The state is trending more blue due in part to Philadelphia and its suburbs delivering ever-increasing vote totals for Democrats," said Matthew Weaver, a Democratic political strategist based in Philadelphia.

Democrats and Republicans have viewed swing states' value heavily when picking convention sites recently. Both Florida and North Carolina were seen as crucial to both parties in 2012, and Republicans have selected Cleveland, Ohio, as their location for 2016.

A crucial factor for Democrats in selecting their 2016 convention site this time may be family ties. Both Vice President Joe Biden and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have ties to Pennsylvania. Biden grew up in Scranton, as did Clinton's father.

The DNC is expected to make its decision sometime between the end of the year and early 2015. Outside Philadelphia, final pitches are also being made by Birmingham, Ala.; Columbus, Ohio; New York's Brooklyn borough and Phoenix.

However, if recent history is any indication, the party should be choosing its site for more than the votes it'll pull from the host state.

"There is a full-court press for Philadelphia's bid for the convention because bringing the convention to this city would be a validation of our political clout in the Democratic Party nationally," Weaver said.

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Steve Doty

Senior Video Journalist/WEXTv Coordinator
The Washington Examiner

More from washingtonexaminer.com