You may have heard New York City is one of six cities vying for the privilege of hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Or, more specifically, that Mayor Bill de Blasio submitted a bid to host the event on behalf of the borough of Brooklyn. Think of a Barclays Center-hosted DNC as a wonkier version of the VMAs; all the same traffic problems, but no Katy Perry.
On Tuesday, the mayor’s office released a video intended to convince the DNC to hold the 2016 convention here… we think? It is so incredibly generic that its hard to imagine anyone involved with the production and release of the video – including the mayor himself – thought it made New York look at all alluring.
New York, the video’s narrator intones: “A city of neighborhoods. A place to call home. A destination worth the trip.” They might as well have said “A place situated in time and space. Bound by the laws of gravity, entropy, and thermodynamics.”
And the big finish: “…Like nowhere else on Earth.” Actually, isn’t that describing a place that is like everywhere else on Earth?
What do you think cities are made of? Just piles of garbage arranged in neat rows? Isn’t anywhere anyone lives quite literally “a place to call home”? And aren’t you, by virtue of embarking on any trip ever, only bothering to do so because you’ve considered the options and concluded that destination will, ultimately, be worth the hassle? (Seriously, who paid for this sour, chunky pink pile of word vomit? We’ve inquired–not in those words, exactly–but a de Blasio spokesman has not responded.)
The producers had one job: to differentiate New York from any other city in the country… and they failed. The biggest city, in terms of population. Home of history’s winningest baseball team. Site of the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history and, later, the tallest building in North America. Any of these would be acceptable as examples of New York’s exceptionalism.
There is a real argument to be made that New York actually is like nowhere else on Earth. It has been made, so many times, in so many think pieces and movies and television shows and books that we don’t even feel the need to rehash it here. New York is the city that sells itself.
We shouldn’t be pitching the DNC at all, let alone with some generic, nonsensical tripe, like “New York: A place where history is made in the Bronx, while dinner is served in Queens, and memories are made in Brooklyn.”
Our competition for the honor are the cities of Cleveland, Columbus, Phoenix, Birmingham and Philadelphia, and while we are loath to admit that any city might hold a candle to New York in any respect, wouldn’t any of these cities make more sense, politically?
Here’s how the last several election cycles went:
North Carolina, 2012: Democrats lost the state, but the party won the election. (Obama)
Colorado, 2008: won the state, won the election. (Obama)
Massachusetts, 2004: won the state, lost the election. (Kerry)
California, 2000: won the state, lost the election. (Gore)
Illinois, 1996: won the state, won the election. (Clinton)
New York, 1992: won the state, won the election. (Clinton)
New York is solidly in the tank for the Democrats. We haven’t voted for a Republican since 1984, and it’s unlikely that will change in 2016, especially if the nominee does in fact end up being former New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
That in mind, it might be wise for the DNC to revisit the tactic favored in recent cycles to hold the convention in a swing state. It didn’t make any difference in North Carolina in 2012, but it may have helped the Democrats carry Colorado in 2008. And, as the party should have learned from 2004 when it nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in Boston, it doesn’t help the electoral math one bit to hold the convention in a nominee’s home state.