Chicago’s 2024 Democratic convention bid gets boost from Midwest governors in letter to Biden, DNC

A letter from Democrats to President Biden calls for holding the 2024 convention in the Midwest to bolster the ‘blue wall’ states that reliably cast votes for the party’s ticket.

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Construction underway for the Democratic National Convention at the United Center in Chicago on Monday, July 29, 1996. Chicago will host the 2024 convention at the United Center.

Construction underway for the Democratic National Convention at the United Center in Chicago on Monday, July 29, 1996. Chicago, Atlanta and New York are in the running to host the 2024 convention. President Joe Biden will make the decision.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Powerhouse backers of Chicago’s bid to host the 2024 Democratic convention — elected officials from eight states — joined forces Wednesday to buttress Chicago’s pitch to President Joe Biden, arguing that a convention in the Midwest is crucial to Democrats keeping the White House.

“When the future of the country hangs in the balance, we cannot afford to overlook the Midwest,” the letter said. It was also addressed to Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison.

Former President Donald Trump won in 2016, clinching the White House with slim victories in Michigan and Wisconsin, fueled by only a combined 34,000 votes.

“Those states were taken for granted until ominous warning signs flashed on Election Day, at which point they were already lost,” the letter said.

Chicago’s main competition is Atlanta, with New York stepping up its appeals in the past few weeks to improve its fading chances. A Democratic National Committee technical advisory group evaluated the bids and is sending a recommendation to Biden, who will pick the host city to officially launch his quest for a second term.

The emphasis in the letter is on the need to keep the Midwest “blue wall” intact, so Democrats can retain their hold on states with a history of voting for Democratic presidential nominees. That blue wall cracked in 2016 when it came to Wisconsin and Michigan.

The 35 signers include Democratic governors J.B. Pritzker of Illinois; Tony Evers of Wisconsin; Tim Walz of Minnesota; and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan; all the Democrats that Illinois sends to Congress; Mayor Lori Lightfoot; and other officials from Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky.

“The election of 2016 is a cautionary tale that the Democratic National Committee, now choosing where to hold its nominating convention in 2024, must take to heart,” the letter said.

“In an incredibly polarized nation, whose electoral college model has a griphold on election outcomes, the Midwest is utterly indispensable to the party’s success and should be the home of its 2024 convention,” the letter said.

Modern political conventions are mainly television shows for the nation, designed to showcase the party’s policies and politics and of course, the nominee. That does not diminish the importance of the location of the host city — and, in the case of Chicago, its proximity to major media markets in nearby Michigan and Wisconsin.

Without naming Atlanta, the letter writers come out against the Georgia city, swinging a sledgehammer to its bid. Chicago and New York host committees have each hit Atlanta because it is a right-to-work state with only two unionized hotels. Having convention delegations stay in union hotels is important to convention organizers.

“Convening in an anti-labor, pro-gun, anti-choice, vote-suppressing state would be akin to talking the talk without walking the walk,” the letter said.

“Bringing the convention to the Midwest means reinforcing the party’s commitment not only to the nation’s industrial heartland, but also to those voters who have repeatedly propelled Democrats to victory. The Midwest is the beating heart of America — a place that consistently demonstrates how common-sense, progressive policies work for families and make us all stronger,” the letter said.

“Here, the unionization movement is thriving. Reproductive freedom is protected. Voting rights are not merely defended but expanded because we know the democratic process is stronger when it includes us all.”

On Saturday, New York Mayor Eric Adams, other city elected officials and union leaders held a rally in Times Square to bolster the city’s convention bid.

NT1.com reported Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine tried to insult Chicago and Atlanta with his remark, “If you want to go out to dinner at Cracker Barrel, you can go to one of the other host cities.”

That sort of cultural elitism when it comes to food seems unhelpful to Democrats who need blue- and white-collar votes. And on a finer point, Levine doesn’t know what he’s talking about: According to the Cracker Barrel website, there are no Cracker Barrels in Chicago. But there are Vienna hot dog stands, Portillo’s, Uno’s, Gino’s, Mr. Beef, Al’s and as of last year, 23 Chicago restaurants with Michelin stars.

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