Hurray! Republicans pick Cleveland for 2016 national convention

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Michael Barone,Republican Party,2016 Elections,Cleveland,Weather,RNC

Hurray for Cleveland! The Republican National Committee has announced that the party's 2016 convention will be held in Cleveland. It will be the 41st Republican National Convention, in an unbroken quadrennial change that goes back to the 1856 National Convention of the newly formed party in Philadelphia.

I’ve attended, in one way, shape or form, 10 of those conventions and look forward to the 11th—especially because the weather is likely to be very good in Cleveland. Much better, almost assuredly, than in the runner-up city, Dallas. When Republicans held their 1984 convention there, the high temperature each day, was as I remember, 106 degrees Fahrenheit; at night it cooled down to 99 F.

The two parties' most recent choices, Tampa for the Republicans and Charlotte for the Democrats, were problematic meteorologically. Tampa is on the Gulf Coast and the convention was scheduled for hurricane season; sure enough the first night had to be called off because of a hurricane threat.

As for Charlotte, it was predictably hot and muggy, but the major problem is that Barack Obama scheduled his acceptance speech for an outdoor stadium on a night when, given Charlotte's weather history, it was as likely as not to rain. Sure enough, the speech was moved indoors as showers fell intermittently during the day.

You have much better chances for good summertime weather in the Great Lakes. I attended the 1968 and 1996 Democratic National Conventions in Chicago (two of the 12 Democratic national conventions I've attended in one way, shape or form), and the weather was glorious both times. Warm but not hot, sunny but not scorching, with breezes wafting in from the glorious expanse of Lake Michigan. (Unfortunately for the Democrats, the good weather facilitated outdoor demonstrations in 1968.)

Downtown Cleveland faces north to Lake Erie, and the city is justifiably proud of its downtown, with massive Beaux-Arts buildings built about 100 years ago (Cleveland was the nation’s fourth largest city in the 1910 Census) and new stadiums and buildings going up alongside and, as in Chicago, parkland facing the lake. There are no guarantees of good weather here—it could rain every day—but the odds are good.

Aficionados of national convention history might want to check out my 2012 Wall Street Journal article, which appeared on the Saturday before the parties' national conventions (Nancy Pelosi, encountered in a passageway between media hits, told me she liked it). And here is a Washington Examiner blogpost I wrote after surveying the floor of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

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