Dems To Go to Philly in 2016

In what may be perceived as a mild upset, the Democratic National Committee has chosen Philadelphia over Columbus, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York, as the site of its 2016 National Convention. Apparently security and hotel considerations were the tie-breaker.

Given Philadelphia’s long history, and its status as the country’s third-largest city for a century up until the 1950s and the country’s second largest city for long before that, I’m a bit surprised this will be only the third time Democrats have convened there. If you are superstitious, you should be aware the two previous events, in 1936 and 1948, were held before Democratic general election victories. Republicans have met in Philly six times, including their first convention in 1856 (in that same year the American Party–better known as the “Know-Nothings,” also met in Philadelphia to nominate former president Millard Fillmore).

There will be much idle speculation going into convention season that the two host cities were chosen to influence the voters of the “swing states” of OH and PA. I dunno. Republicans haven’t carried their “convention state” since 1992, when it was Texas. Democrats did carry five straight “convention states” until 2012, when North Carolina returned to its scarlet ways. Pennsylvania hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, though it seems every four years Republicans imagine they’ll break the streak (you may recall Romney going there the Sunday before Election Day in 2012 campaign, briefly inspiring Peggy Noonan to predict a GOP win).

All in all, the significance of the convention site is regularly overrated; it’s basically a venue for partying and fundraising and a vast TV set, and what the locals will mostly get out of it is terrible traffic problems. But in the flow of the selection, here’s to you, Philadelphia!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.