Midwest’s political influence is demonstrated by Dem and GOP convention selections

CHICAGO (AP) — Donald Trump won the White House in 2016 by breaking up the famed electoral “blue wall,” Democrats were able to seize the Midwestern battlegrounds states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Four years later, he lost the White House. those same states flipped to Joe Biden.

Both parties are already zeroing in on the Midwest ahead of next year’s presidential election, each choosing to hold their national conventions in the region. The Republicans will hold their event in Milwaukee in July 2024, which is the largest city in Wisconsin’s swing state. Democrats announced Tuesday They planned to hold theirs next month in Chicago (just 90 miles away) in solidly Blue Illinois.

In picking Chicago over other finalists New York and Atlanta, the Democratic National Committee said, the party was “returning to the Midwest, a critical Democratic stronghold” and called Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota part of the “blue wall” crucial to Biden’s 2020 victory, as well as his party’s success in last fall’s midterm elections.

That overlooked Trump’s Midwestern success four years prior, but the DNC also noted that Chicago embodied the “formidable coalition” of voters that will be vital to Biden in his expected 2024 reelection campaign.

“We’re seeing the importance of those states and the recognition by the Democratic Party that we must win them,” said Democratic Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker, who was a leading advocate for Chicago’s bid.

Biden’s 2020 gains were not limited to the Midwest. He flipped two Sun Belt states, Arizona and Georgia, and captured Pennsylvania, which is often considered part of the “blue wall” but is not located in the Midwest. Still, the selection by both parties of Midwestern convention sites shows the region’s enduring political importance — even though it’s no guarantee of support.

“The Midwest is the place to be,” said Cam Savage, a Republican strategist who has worked with top GOP elected officials around the region. “You’re looking at Pennsylvania to Wisconsin — and more or less everything in between — as key battleground areas in any national election these days.”

The Midwest was chosen by Democrats for the second consecutive election cycle. In 2020, the party had chosen Milwaukee as its host. However, it was not enough. holding it virtually Due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, it was up to Biden to pick a site, and he said Chicago would be a “showcase” for his administration’s overseeing post-pandemic economic growth and falling unemployment.

Chicago, the third-largest US city, is also heavily pro union. This shows Biden’s dedication to organized labor. It was a key factor in his win in the Democratic primary and presidency in 2019.

“Atlanta could have been strategic as well. But it doesn’t allow the party to really show off all of the principles that it is supposedly standing for, and they can do that in Chicago,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. In urging the DNC to choose Chicago, she signed a letter from top union workers and labor organizations.

Pritzker emphasized the importance of Georgia’s strong defense for abortion rights. Other Democrats worried about Georgia’s Republican-controlled Legislature and the state’s relaxed gun laws. That’s despite Chicago being plagued with gun violence, potentially exposing Democrats. GOP attacks about rising crime rates You can find them in all parts of the country.

Lisa Hernandez, the Illinois Democratic Party chair, said that the bid went beyond Chicago and her state, calling the convention site the “gateway to the Midwest’s blue bastion.” Her party pointed out that Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin voted Democratic in every presidential race except 2016, and that each state elected its Democratic governor last year.

Chicago bid organizers also made it clear to White House officials that Chicago represented the Midwest in its entirety. However, this has not always been a positive thing for Democrats.

Wisconsin, home to both Democratic Gov. and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, is the best example of Midwest’s ever-shifting political loyalties. Tony Evers and Republican Senator Ron Johnson were reelected in the midterm elections last fall.

Democrats celebrate, however, Judge Janet Protasiewicz’s victory Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court race gave liberal justices control over the court for only the second time in 15-years. They’ll likely have the opportunity to counter an 1849 statewide ban on abortion triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision, as well as congressional district maps that had favored Republicans.

The following night, however, was a very special night. Republican Dan Knodl won an open seat The Wisconsin state Senate gave the GOP a supermajority.

“Wisconsin is always going to be 50/50, right down the line,” said Democratic strategist Pete Giangreco, who worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and is advising 2024 U.S. Senate candidates in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. “But you’ve got to have the blue wall first, or the Georgias and the Arizonas don’t matter.”

Giangreco, who was also part of Protasiewicz’s winning campaign, said that progressive Brandon Johnson’s win The city may have gained a boost from the fact that a moderate Democratic opponent in Chicago’s recent mayor race could have helped it win its convention bid.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts. The 47-year-old, who is Black, won by building a multiracial coalition that included young people and labor unions, and he brings a new sense of optimism to the city — a combination of factors that Democrats need to recreate in 2024, Giangreco said.

“It’s very clear Brandon brought younger people into activism, into the electorate,” Giangreco said. “It certainly didn’t hurt our chances at all that you have a mayor of the city who’s dynamic and young and part of a movement that is an important part of our party.”


Weissert reported from Washington.

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