The DNC in 2012

Minneapolis faces an uphill battle against other cities hoping for the gig.

by Julian Switala

There could be a lot of green in Minneapolis during the week of September 3, 2012.  And I am not just talking about marijuana. I am talking about Astroturf and money — and lots of it.
Only a few days ago, the Democratic National Committee named Minneapolis as one of four cities being considered to host the Democratic National Convention in 2012. The other cities that have been selected as finalists are Charlotte, N.C., Cleveland, Ohio and St. Louis, Mo. 
In all honesty, more people probably care about where LeBron James is going than where the DNC is going, but let me get at least one point across before you go back to watching SportsCenter: It would be great for Minneapolis to receive the bid.
As Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told Fox 9 News, “Hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention translates into $200 million in economic impact and thousands of good jobs for Minneapolis and the entire region.” Meet Minneapolis, the convention and visitors’ bureau making the DNC bid, estimates that the Twin Cities received 10 billion media impressions from the RNC in 2008, the equivalent of $400 million in advertising. Given that these numbers are much higher than James’ current net worth, I feel no shame in saying that if Minneapolis receives the bid, it would be a backboard-shattering slam dunk.
But what are the chances of this happening? Some are extremely optimistic. Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, told The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, “We have a very, very strong shot at it — primarily because of our experience,” citing the fact that the Twin Cities has hosted a major convention before, as well as a Super Bowl, a Final Four and the Alcoholics Anonymous convention in 2000. “We look at the four cities that we are aware of that are in the hunt, and we feel that we have advantages at every point.”
A team from the Democratic National Convention will visit each of the four cities this summer in order to make a well-informed decision, and there are a couple of factors that are beyond the city of Minneapolis’ control.
Political conventions are often hosted in states to attract votes for the party hosting the convention. Minnesota has only 10 electoral votes, which is fewer than all of the other states on the list, especially Ohio, which has 20 electoral votes.
Minnesota’s electoral votes are more or less guaranteed to be cast for the Democratic ticket when (if?) 2012 finally arrives. Indeed, in the past 10 presidential elections, Minnesota voted Democratic nine times. In that same period, Ohio voted for a Democratic president in only four elections. Meanwhile, Missouri has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate three times since the 1972 election, while North Carolina only went for a Democrat twice.
The final nail in the coffin is that the Metrodome is being pitched as the convention’s home base — sorry for mixing up sports. Nothing against the Metrodome, but the last time I checked, the Metrodome was still an architectural disaster that would be best suited for a Miracle-Gro convention. All of this leads me to believe that the Democratic National Committee just needed an excuse to visit this world-class city of ours.
With this in mind, it should be clear that, unfortunately, “DNC” is an acronym more accurately meaning “DefinitelyNot Coming” to Minneapolis.
Julian Switala welcomes comments at [email protected]