Because Hillary Clinton didn’t campaign in Wisconsin in 2016 and lost, Democrats have decided not to take the state for granted in 2020. They’re sending the Democratic National Convention road show to Milwaukee.
Conveniently the Democrats will be in Milwaukee for Bastille Days. We’ll hope they won’t be inspired to bring back the guillotine.
Ironically, if you like to drive for Uber or Lyft, or rent your house out with AirBnB, it will be a great time for individual capitalists when the new Democratic socialists come to town.
We’re looking forward to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) staying in a modest Oak Creek home and then complaining about the cost of capitalist rent exploitation before leading a march down Wisconsin Avenue with a rock star entourage to protest climate change and cow farts in the dairy state before flying home on a private airplane.
But how good of a deal is it for everyone else?
The budget for the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was $84 million, not including additional security costs that were subsidized by the federal government. The local host city will be expected to find most of that money through private fundraising. The host committee in Philadelphia raised more than $85 million after having a more modest goal of $60 million, according to Philadelphia Magazine.
Some of that money came from taxpayers. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development gave $10 million, according to Philadelphia Magazine. Conventions typically try to get the host city to guarantee covering the cost of the convention, although Charlotte, NC, refused in 2012. San Antonio took itself out of the running for the Republican National Convention in part because of that request by the Republican Party. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has already announced the city has acquired a line of credit for the convention.
The expected economic impact of the Philadelphia convention was $300 million, but the real economic impact was closer to $180 million. Even that number, however, does not take into account the lost productivity to private industry as a side effect of hosting the convention. Also, high end restaurants may not benefit nearly as much as they hope.
But there could be donkeys. “The host committee also paid $200,000 for 57 local artist-decorated fiberglass donkeys that have been installed across the city, complete with a Pokémon Go-style scavenger hunt,” Yahoo News reported in 2016. If the donkeys come back, truth-in-advertising requires that they wear Che Guevara t-shirts.
Donkeys were not the only expenditure, according to Yahoo News: “The City of Philadelphia plans to spend $695,700 on preparations for and work during the convention, including cleaning, employee overtime, patriotic decorations and ‘homeless outreach.'”
So good news, DNC organizers. If there is one thing Milwaukee has, it does have homeless people downtown.
Then there will be the miscellaneous costs which will add up. Milwaukee’s streetcar does not currently reach the Fiserv Forum where the convention will be held. Don’t be surprised if the mayor and Governor Tony Evers try to insert into the budget later a request to fund that leg of the streetcar using state funds or increased local tax revenue, perhaps as part of some deal to allow local governments to raise taxes for transportation costs. Then look for delays in the state budget to be used to attack Republicans because those delays could hurt Milwaukee’s preparedness for the Democratic National Convention.
Meanwhile, while the federal government does cover security costs for the convention, there will be costs to the city in police overtime as officers are required to do more traffic diversions and handle other police calls related to the convention. As more police resources are diverted downtown, how much will local neighborhoods suffer?
Not everything will go smoothly when the convention finally arrives. We can expect the city’s freeways to be jammed with convention goers driving further and further out desperate to look for a place to sleep as the city simply will not have the hotel space to accommodate everyone. There are only so many A-list celebrities that you can jam into the Pfister Hotel downtown before Katy Perry comes knocking on your door in the suburbs hoping you have a fold-out couch. But we wouldn’t expect them to ride Amtrak to Chicago looking for a hotel. That would be barbaric.
Then there will be the protesters. Between the hard left’s desire to protest everything, and the sheer number of Democratic candidates running for president, Milwaukee could be ground zero for the biggest riots in years. But even if the federal government’s $50 million to fun security helps keep a lid on most of the problem children of the left, there will still be some protesters that aren’t going to behave.
Normally a Starbucks close to the convention site would be the ideal franchise but the Starbucks on Red Arrow Park, given its history and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz running for president, should probably up their fire insurance coverage now.
The Democrats may regret choosing Milwaukee for the site of their National Convention. As the longtime home of the most successful Socialist Party in America, Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Mark Jefferson says it will be a homecoming for many of the new socialists in the Democratic Party.
“No city in America has stronger ties to socialism than Milwaukee,” Jefferson said. “And with the rise of Bernie Sanders and the embrace of socialism by its newest leaders, the American left has come full circle. It’s only fitting the Democrats would come to Milwaukee.”
However, a quick drive just a few minutes north of the convention site and Democrats will get to see what Democratic and Socialist control of Milwaukee in 1910 has meant for the residents of Milwaukee’s North Side: crime, poverty, unemployment, failing schools, high property taxes.
As for the Democratic hope that the convention will be enough to bring Wisconsin voters back, they should remember the old saying that “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Perhaps the Democrats should listen to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
“I’m glad Milwaukee will enjoy the economic boost from hosting the 2020 Democrat National Convention. As voters in a key battleground state, Wisconsinites will also get a first-hand look at Democrats’ extreme policies that would reverse the economic progress made under the Trump administration,” Johnson said Monday. “Understanding the risk of Democrat socialistic tendencies should provide motivation to re-elect Republicans up and down the ballot in November 2020.”
The Democrats are coming. Let ’em in. The most harm they will do is to themselves.