It was in Detroit that the Reagan revolution began in earnest in 1980. The Motor City would be a great host for the GOP's 2016 Convention as well. (The Detroit News)
Quick question: Can you recall a time in recent history where a national party convention host city’s history made a specific impact in the presidential race? The message? The convention itself?
It is awfully hard to answer yes. To change that trend, the Republican National Committee should seriously consider holding its 2016 national convention in Detroit.
Now, I’m not naive. The process for selecting a host city for a national party convention takes years. Cities develop comprehensive plans, including how they will raise the necessary private funds, including specifics regarding tax incentives, hotel rooms, security, and transportation and infrastructure adjustments to try to win these major events to their areas. Plus the RNC must vote on the host city. But Detroit should prepare a bid.
Among the most significant hurdles to Detroit hosting, as one knowledgeable source pointed out to me, is that host cities must raise at least $60 million, which would be a very difficult challenge for Detroit as it goes through bankruptcy.
That said, Detroit would be a powerful symbol as the GOP’s convention host city. Ronald Reagan was nominated here in 1980 and the parallel to that historic event and his economic message of “a rising tide lifts all boats” would also be powerful.
No city in America better symbolizes the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats than Detroit, which is currently filing for bankruptcy.
The city has been under Democratic control since the 1960s, and what has resulted is big government, high taxes, a weak private sector economy, suffocating regulation, corruption and stifled economic growth. Showcasing the failures of the Democratic agenda in Detroit would be politically valuable in 2016.
Republicans have been working to reacquaint Detroit with reclaim free market principles to spur economic growth and opportunity.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus has opened a field office in Detroit. Recently Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a likely 2016 presidential candidate, traveled to Detroit to launch his “economic freedom zones” legislative proposal, a speech he gave at the new Detroit office.
Republicans don’t want to see Detroit fail. They want to see Detroit succeed, and hosting the convention there would allow them to shine a spotlight on how their agenda will create economic growth and opportunity everywhere, even in places like Detroit.
After 2008 and 2012, the battleground state map for Republicans is not encouraging.
In successfully winning re-election, Barack Obama unbelievably won every battleground state that he won in 2008, except North Carolina. Republicans need to go on offense, expand the map, create opportunities, and make Democrats play defense.
I don’t want another sterile GOP national convention. Detroit would shake things up, be instantly memorable and help shape the race for 2016 in an important, and beneficial, way.
Matt Mackowiak is executive director of national Super PAC Fight For Tomorrow.