Democrats Expanding Southward: Charlotte, NC for 2012 Convention

The 'Queen City' will be the South's first to host a Democratic convention since 1988

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Election 2012 is more or less upon us, and Charlotte, North Carolina just got picked as the first city in the South to hold the Democratic National Convention since 1988, winning out over more tough luck mid-Western locales of St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. "Barack and I spent a lot of time in North Carolina during the campaign....[he] enjoyed Asheville so much when he spent several days preparing for the second Presidential debate that our family vacationed there in 2009," wrote Michelle Obama in an email announcing the decision, noting the city's "charm, warm hospitality and an 'up by the bootstraps' mentality." Obama's victory in North Carolina in the 2008 Presidential election--only the second time a Democrat had won the state since 1964 (Carter in '76, the other)--as well as his victory over Hillary Clinton in the primary in there, is worth noting as well. Was the choice of the industrious Southern state a good move for President and the Democrats? Or should did they unfairly overlook cities that were more representative of the continuing economic fallout? Does convention placement even matter? Does the President have an affinity for sweet tea? Some answers to these quesions.

  • North Carolina a Good Model for the Economy reports the Associated Press. "With the economy certain to dominate Obama’s reelection bid, North Carolina’s long-term industrial transformation — from tobacco, textiles, and furniture to research, energy, and banking — also plays into what may be the centerpiece of the Democrat’s reelection bid, a call for America to focus on innovation to compete in the changing global marketplace."
  • About Changing Democratic Demographics, suggests Jeff Zeleny in the New York Times, who thinks the choice "underscored the hope of Mr. Obama and his advisers that they have a better chance of organizing supporters — and finding new voters — in a conservative-leaning but demographically evolving Southern state than in a traditional battleground like Missouri. The advisers believe the advantages of North Carolina include a population that is 22 percent black, an influx of new residents because of research and banking jobs, and laws that allow last-minute voter registration."
  • A Sign of Confidence "We're looking at an expanding map rather than shrinking back to husband our resources and play defense," said Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in the Times article. "We were very excited about winning North Carolina in 2008. Putting our convention there is a very serious sign that we intend to compete there again."
  • Gunning for the South  "The convention will bring President Obama to a county that helped him become the first Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years to carry North Carolina and drive a wedge into the traditionally solidly red South," ventures Jim Morrill at the Charlotte Observer.

  • Reclaiming The Spirit of '08 Michelle Obama emphasized the 'grassroots' nature of the convention in a widely-sent email announcing the decision:
"We hope many of you can join us in Charlotte the week of September 3rd, 2012. But if you can't, we intend to bring the spirit of the convention -- as well as actual, related events to your community and even your own backyard. More than anything else, we want this to be a grassroots convention for the people. We will finance this convention differently than it's been done in the past, and we will make sure everyone feels closely tied in to what is happening in Charlotte. This will be a different convention, for a different time. To help us make sure this is a grassroots convention -- The People's Convention -- we need to hear from you. We want to know what you'd like to see at next year's convention, how and where you plan on watching it -- and the very best way we can engage your friends and neighbors," she wrote as reported on WCNC.
  • Doesn't Even Matter, argues Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. "Everyone wants to win everywhere," he says. "But convention placement does not help them in that quest. And nor, it turns out, do governors. A comprehensive analysis of presidential elections since 1930 found that 'generally, parties do not derive significant electoral benefits in states selected to host the national convention or those in which they control the governorship.'"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.