Chicago has our vote to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention
With our hotels, museums, culinary and cultural attractions — well, we know how to put on a good show for the thousands of delegates and guests who would attend the convention.
A team looking to pick the site of the 2024 Democratic National Convention will give Chicago the look-see next week.
The group is looking at other potential host cities, including the Big Apple and Atlanta before making a decision in September.
But with our city’s hotels, museums, culinary and cultural attractions — well, we know how to put on a good show for the thousands of delegates and guests who would attend the convention.
So no disrespect to the other bidding cities — but Chicago deserves the nod.
‘Vibrant and diverse metropolis’
For all its documented troubles, Chicago has at least two major things in its favor when it comes to hosting the 2024 convention.
First, the city undoubtedly looks its best in the summer, with that stunning downtown skyline set against the blue waters of Lake Michigan and the ever-vibrant riverwalk.
And Chicago’s central area has matured considerably since the city hosted the 1996 Democratic convention at the United Center, with development filling in between downtown and the West Side stadium — not to mention the advent of McCormick Square, the area around Cermak Road and King Drive, which hosts Wintrust Arena and new convention hotels.
Also helping the bid: Chicago and Cook County are a large, blue island in the politically red — or at least purple — Midwest.
“Chicago is a vibrant and diverse metropolis right in the heart of the Midwest, and there is no city that is more representative of the diversity of our nation and the way the policies of our city and state deliver for American families,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement supporting the bid.
The convention could bring nearly 5,000 delegates to Chicago — plus the thousands more drawn who are drawn to the political event — which would provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the city's hospitality and tourism sectors, both of which have been lagging for the past two years due to the pandemic.
Philadelphia hosted the last in-person Democratic convention in 2016. The city said it enjoyed a $230 million economic bounce from the event, with more than 54,000 visiting the city.
Beyond the ‘get’
Chicago is competing for the convention against New York City, Houston and Atlanta. The convention’s Technical Advisory Group will be in town checking out potential venues on July 26 and 27.
New York City is a formidable competitor, naturally. The city has a staggering 45,000 hotel rooms within a mile of Madison Square Garden and the Jacob Javitz Center, two of the proposed convention sites.
Madison Square Garden is only blocks from Broadway theaters, Rockefeller Center and other major cultural attractions. And the city is a global media center.
So winning the convention would be an obvious plus for Chicago.
But it’s bigger than the “get.” If Chicago is selected, then the city has to get about the work of preparing the town and making it convention-ready, from seriously addressing safety issues to improving the CTA.
Frankly, these are things that should have been done already for the benefit of all Chicagoans. But if it takes a political convention to push the work forward more quickly, so be it.
Our local economy could certainly use the convention boost. And in some respects, so does our city’s psyche.
From the 1893 and 1933 world fairs to the successful 1996 Democratic National Convention, Chicago always enjoys a boost after putting on a big show.
And as Chicago battles the COVID pandemic, crime and a struggling economy, we could all certainly use one now.
So bring it on.
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