Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee announced the selection of Cleveland to host the 2016 Republican National Committee.
Hosting the GOP national convention and officially nominating the presidential candidate in a given state does not help that presidential candidate win the state. Republicans did not win Florida in 2012 (Tampa). They did not win Minnesota in 2008 (St. Paul). They did not win New York in 2004 (New York City). They did not win Pennsylvania in 2000 (Philadelphia). They did not win California in 1996 (San Diego). The last time Republicans won the state that hosted the GOP convention was 1992, when Houston hosted them.
If a convention host city doesn’t help a party win a state, what does it do? On the margins, it offers a bit of a narrative. Had Republicans picked the other finalist, Dallas, lazy, liberal-leaning reporters would have reiterated all the usual sneers: Republicans are the party of the South, the party of rural America, the party of rednecks, gun-owners, country music, J. R. Ewing and big oil companies, cowboy boots, and so on. Of course, Dallas also symbolizes the Texas jobs boom, the energy boom, and the fact that so many Americans are flocking to the state to live their American dream.
But Priebus said logistics were the preeminent factor in the decision. The 2012 GOP convention hosted 2,286 delegates, 2,125 alternates, and 15,000 credentialed members of the media, and tens of thousands of other uncredentialed media, gawkers, politics junkies, and protesters. The security issues for any host city are huge, both for protesters and as a potential terrorist target.
Another benefit for those who remember the mess in Tampa in 2012 . . . Cleveland doesn’t often encounter hurricanes.
Cleveland’s biggest cheerleader, Hugh Hewitt, is expected to reenact the opening credits to The Drew Carey Show in the near future: