A month after the Republican Party officially announced Cleveland, Ohio, as the site for its 2016 presidential nominating convention, the DNC announced this week that Democrats will hold their party’s convention in Philadelphia.
Democrats signaled in their final decision that the choice of venue is a tip of the hat to the nation’s founding heritage on display in the city that hosted the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz detailed,
“Philadelphia’s deep-rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering. I cannot wait to join Democrats across the country to celebrate our shared values, lay out a Democratic vision for the future, and support our nominee.”
But the undertones of political calculation were clear given that Philadelphia, the largest city in the state, plays a central role in the electoral strategy of the Democrat Party. Pennsylvania has been for several presidential cycles an increasingly critical state among the handful of ‘swing states’ that have played the kingmaker for the White House.
In both 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama’s victories were essential to his margins of victory over Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney. What’s more, demographics have shown since the November midterms that the Democrat Party has been losing middle class white voters in droves.
That voting bloc is no better represented than by the largely blue-collar, pro-union culture of the Keystone State. This reality more than any other is likely why the party opted not to choose New York City or Columbus, Ohio, which were among the final three options for host cities.