Empire State of Mind

Add me to the list of those who want to see the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn. Granted, I would have really preferred to see the convention in Boston again, notwithstanding some of the logistical headaches that accompanied the 2004 convention. That convention, of course, is best known for Barack Obama’s keynote address, and it would have been nice to see Obama bring things full circle with another memorable speech in the same location (despite my issues with that ’04 speech).

I want to see the 2016 convention in Brooklyn because it would symbolize the Democratic Party’s embrace of its only logical future from a demographic standpoint. Let’s be honest: if the convention is held in Columbus or Philadelphia, would that not symbolize, on some level, yet another desperate attempt to get the “Reagan Democrats” back?

The “Reagan Democrats” aren’t coming back. Ever. They watch Fox every night and fully embrace Uncle Rupert’s argument that the Democratic Party solely exists to hand free money to people on welfare. That vote is inaccessible to Democrats, now and in the foreseeable future.

The Democratic Party’s only path to victory is by fully embracing and mobilizing the same coalition of voters Obama put together to win in 2008 and 2012. Holding the convention in Brooklyn would symbolize the Democratic Party’s commitment to that coalition. Karen Brooks Hopkins of the Brooklyn Academy of Music nailed it last year:

Brooklyn is the most diverse community in the U.S…This image of America’s urban future, this is the right image for Democrats to project.

Symbols matter. Holding the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn would send a message that the Democratic Party is preparing for America’s future, while the Republican Party reminds mired in 1950s-era nostalgia. It would send a message that the Democratic Party will continue to draw strength from diversity, while the Republican Party continues to see diversity as dysfunctional. It would send a message that the Democratic Party gives a damn…and that’s a damn good message.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.