The Democratic National Committee will never be accused of having its act together, especially when it comes to Wisconsin. The DNC’s long history of misreading Wisconsin almost cost Democratic nominees the state’s electoral votes in 2000 and 2004, and the bureaucrats in D.C. finally did enough damage in 2016 to tip the state into the GOP column.
So it should probably come as no surprise that the party is bumbling arrangements for the Democratic National Convention in 2020. Yet it is somehow shocking to see the Democratic insiders blow the simplest of tasks: hotel arrangements.
The party made the right decision when it chose to hold the convention in Milwaukee, a great American city that is ready to be mobilized to end Donald Trump’s presidency. But now, the party bureaucrats have decided that thousands of delegates and alternates and convention guests will be spend much of the convention week in Illinois.
The DNC has determined that while 31 delegations will be housed in Milwaukee area hotels, 26 delegations will be staying in northern Illinois. In fact, so many large delegations are being sent across the state line that Wisconsin will barely house the majority of delegates. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “In all, 2,926 hotel rooms will be used for delegates in Wisconsin while 2,841 hotel rooms will be used in Illinois, according to the list.” In reporting the assignments, the Journal Sentinel explained, “It turns out the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee is going to be very good for the Illinois hotel industry.”
It will not be so good for the hoteliers of Madison, Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan and other Wisconsin cities that are as close or closer to Milwaukee than northern Illinois. Make no mistake, all of these cities have excellent hotels that would be outstanding bases for delegations. They are also more affordable than Chicago area hotels, which is no small consideration for a party that is supposed to maintain at least a minimal interest in attracting working-class voters.
But this is about more than logistics. This is about something the Democratic National Committee should understand, but apparently does not: politics.
From a political standpoint, it is difficult to fully describe the scorching stupidity of the DNC’s approach. But let’s try.
In 2016, Illinois gave 56 percent of its support to Democrat Hillary Clinton and just 38 percent to Republican Donald Trump. In 2020, the state is expected to maintain that pattern.
Illinois is not a battleground state, not by any measure. But Wisconsin is. Trump took Wisconsin by 22,748 votes out of just under 3 million cast.
To win Wisconsin, Democrats need a huge turnout in Madison, and they need to carry or at least remain competitive in the lakeshore counties north and south of Milwaukee. And which communities has the Democratic National Committee decided to give the cold shoulder when making 2020 Democratic National Convention hotel assignments? Madison, Racine, Kenosha and Sheboygan.
The DNC could have created good will and electoral excitement in the places it needs to win the battleground state of Wisconsin in 2020. Instead, it decided to head for Illinois. Good luck with that.