How Parties Choose Their Nominating Convention City

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This past weekend, I noticed an article that listed the top 3 cities the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was considering for the 2020 Presidential Nominating Convention. Curious, I did a quick poll on Twitter to see what people thought.

This was my poll:

The Democrats are looking at 3 cities for the 2020 Convention. Which one do you think is best? (Reply with why.)
[  ] Milwaukee, WI
[  ] Houston, TX
[  ] Miami, FL
[  ] Cool with all 3

Well, the poll generated a TON of interest and a lot of replies. Some folks told me they picked cities based what was closest to them, many noted how hot and/or muggy Houston and Miami would be in the summer, and I got a lot of questions and comments about why these cities were the top 3 choices. A common theme was why the Democrats were considering cities in states that had voted for Trump instead of blue states.

I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but wanted to make sure, so I looked into the reasons why a city gets chosen over others. First and foremost, the city has to have an adequate space to hold the convention (usually a sports arena), and good travel and accommodation options for attendees. But the key reason is the city’s ability to change the electoral math for the upcoming presidential election.

The convention is essentially a four-day infomercial where one candidate and their party’s platform get in-depth coverage which has such an incredible reach, it even gets to low-information voters. But in the city where it takes place, it has an oversized effect. Counties that border the city see a bounce effect following a convention (although backlash can happen, too.) Which is why you often see conventions in swing states.

So, why those 3 cities? Wisconsin (10 electoral votes) is turning more blue by the day, Florida (29 votes) is the perennial heartbreaker considering how close the Democrats get, and Texas (38 votes) just saw the biggest swing towards the Democrats in ages. Just so you know, the prognosticators are placing their bets on Milwaukee being the final choice.

For a great deep dive into the electoral effects of a convention, check out this article, based on research conducted at the London School of Economics: Why holding a presidential nominating convention in a swing state matters

Oh, and if you’re interested, here are the final results of the poll I ran:

Today is the last day to give me your feedback on my blog. It will take less than 3 minutes to take my short survey and I really am appreciating the great feedback I’ve been getting. Help me make the blog even more useful! Thank you!!

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2 replies

  1. I can’t see the results of the poll….

  2. After receiving over 10,000 votes the results were:
    35% Milwaukee
    24% Houston
    15% Miami
    26% Cool with all 3

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