Former astronaut and Sen. John Glenn died on Thursday, Dec. 8, at age 95 at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported.
In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Glenn. The White House’s tribute from that year reads: Medal of Freedom recipient John Glenn is a former U.S. Marine Corps pilot, astronaut and U.S. senator. In 1962, he was the third American in space and the first American to orbit the Earth. After retiring from the Marine Corps, Glenn was elected to the U.S. Senate in Ohio in 1974. He was an architect and sponsor of the 1978 Nonproliferation Act and served as chairman of the Senate Government Affairs committee from 1987 until 1995. In 1998, Glenn became the oldest person to visit space at the age of 77. He retired from the Senate in 1999. Glenn is a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Republican Donald Trump can do little to stop Democrat Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency if she carries North Carolina, where their close race reflects the national liabilities of both candidates.
Trump is struggling with conservative Democrats, especially women in the big and booming suburbs of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, who’ve long been part of the GOP’s winning formula in North Carolina.
Clinton has her own worries: Younger voters who helped Barack Obama win the state in 2008 and come close in 2012 are far more hesitant to back her.
In a scenario playing out across the most contested states, Clinton’s pursuit of new supporters is aided by a huge, data-driven ground force in North Carolina.
Trump is sticking with his come-what-may plan.
“Both candidates have problems here,” said Paul Shumaker, an adviser to U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who is seeking re-election. “But I think the Clinton people are more attuned about fixing their problems than Trump’s are.”
Clinton, in a recent visit to Charlotte, addressed congregants at a black church less than two weeks after the police-involved shooting death of a black man. The shooting led to two nights of violent protests and a debate over race relations.
“We’ve got to take action. We’ve got to start now, not tomorrow. Not next year, now,” Clinton said.
Polls suggest North Carolina, Ohio and Florida are among the most competitive states expected to decide the final steps on the path to the 270 electoral votes required to win the White House.
In all but one of the past nine presidential elections, the Republican nominee has taken North Carolina.
Clinton’s apparent strength in once reliably Republican Virginia and swing state Colorado may mean a perilously narrow route to an electoral majority for Trump.
If Clinton captures North Carolina, Trump would have to carry perennially tight Ohio and Florida, plus Democrat-leaning Pennsylvania, and sweep less populous close states that appear increasingly out of reach for him.
Shumaker says GOP support for Trump is lower than usual in North Carolina, as estimated in private GOP and public polling. 2012 nominee Mitt Romney received more than 90 percent of the GOP vote in North Carolina, according to exit polls. Trump appears markedly short of that.
Trump promised to win over conservative Democrats, who are common in Cary, a suburb of roomy brick homes and newer retail developments west of Raleigh.
Such a voter is Sunday Petrov, who is backing Clinton.
“It’s more like I’m voting against Trump,” she said. “What bothers me most is his disrespect for Hispanics, for Muslims, his unprofessional demeanor.”
Trump has little outreach aimed at specific voter groups in North Carolina; Clinton does. She needs it with younger people, with whom her polling margins pale next to Obama’s in 2008 and 2012.
After last Monday’s debate with Trump, she pleaded her case during a rally at Wake Tech Community College. The election, she said, “is more about the future of young people and children than it’s ever been,” and she talked about her plan for government-subsidized, tuition-free college. Later in the week, Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, visited Asheville and Greenville, stopping at Eastern Carolina University to focus on college debt.
“North Carolina feels like Virginia in 2012,” said Dan Kanninen, the Clinton campaign’s top adviser in the state.
Obama won Virginia in 2008 and 2012, after 10 consecutive GOP victories there, by attracting younger, ethnically diverse and more educated adults, especially those flowing into northern Virginia’s tech and defense sectors.
Clinton is putting that same strategy to work in North Carolina.
Universities, high-tech companies such as Cisco Systems and the financial sector, including Fidelity Investments, have attracted thousands of young professionals to the Raleigh area alone since 2012.
In the past four years, North Carolina has added roughly 300,000 voters, mostly in metropolitan areas that account for half of the state’s vote. They are predominantly college-educated, which is good news for Clinton in a close race.
“Trump’s biggest problem is college-educated whites,” said Republican strategist Michael Luethy, who charts legislative races. “If he solves his problem there, he wins. Easier said than done.”
Perhaps the biggest unknown heading into the Nov. 8 election is whether African-Americans will turn out for Clinton at near the historic levels they twice did for Obama, the first black president.
Clinton dominates Trump among African-Americans, who make up 22 percent of North Carolina’s voters, the biggest share of any of battleground state. Trump has done little to turn around long-standing support for Democrats by black voters.
Clinton has organizers on or near campuses of the state’s 12 historically black colleges and universities.
Moreover, early-voting restrictions enacted in 2013 by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory were overturned after being ruled discriminatory toward black voters.
McCrory is up for re-election in November and trails Democrat Roy Cooper in a rare case where a down-ballot race could generate turnout for the presidential campaign.
“I think Democratic intensity on that issue — the attempt at voter suppression — is going to keep African-American turnout at the levels we’ve had lately,” said Ken Eudy, a Democratic campaign strategist.
Shumaker, the GOP senator’s aide, said that may be enough to lift Clinton in a close race.
“It’s going to come down to the wire,” he said. “And we’re a 2-point state.”
A global technology firm is recommending that journalists covering the Republican National Convention wear military-grade body armor.
The recommendation from Global Journalist Security — found in an update following the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — advised the wearing of body armor by those covering events in the RNC’s 1.7 square mile “event zone” in Cleveland.
The convention is beginning today, with a surprise visit expected from Donald Trump.
GJS, described on its website as a “forward-looking, technology-oriented hostile environments training and consulting firm” for news and nonprofit organizations, has security advisers at the convention, including some who are trained military personnel with medical training.
The firm expressed concern with safety in Cleveland.
Ohio is a conceal and carry state and many Republican leaders have expressed support for the decision to allow people to carry guns in the area around the Quicken Loans Arena.
GJS cautioned, “Sidearms including revolvers and semi-automatic, high-capacity pistols like Glocks may be carried beneath the clothing of a concealed-carry permit holders. Both sidearms and long guns including semi-automatic, high-powered rifles may be carried openly. Both concealed- and open-carry weapons will be permitted within the 1.7 square mile RNC ‘Event Zone.’ A number of groups from different political perspectives have already indicated they are planning armed demonstrations. The potential for tragic incidents or even armed clashes along with confusion by police and others about threats should not be underestimated.”
The Cleveland Police Department is preparing for mass arrests. An announcement said the law enforcement can house more than 975 detainees at a time and local courts will be kept open 20 hours each day of the convention, with 12 judges working 10-hour shifts.
GJS encouraged journalists to “report to us or relevant press freedom groups incidents involving journalists’ mistreatment, injuries or arrests. We will issue reports as needed on this information in addition to sharing information with press freedom groups.”
Did you know?
Guns are allowed in the “event zone” at the Republican National Convention but rules state that gas masks are not allowed, neither are knives measuring more than 2 inches, large backpacks or ice coolers.
Donald Trump’s last remaining challenger for the Republican Party presidential nomination, John Kasich, was dropping out of the race May 4.
The Ohio governor, who had stubbornly persisted with his campaign despite never having a viable path to the nomination, canceled a media appearance in Virginia and scheduled a 5 p.m. statement in Columbus, Ohio, his campaign said.
Media reports said he would suspend his campaign. Kasich’s campaign did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Kasich’s departure will clear the field for Trump after the real estate mogul’s chief rival, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, ended his campaign on May 3 following his defeat in Indiana’s Republican primary contest
But Trump faces persistent opposition from some party loyalists who fear his positions on key issues could set up Republicans for massive losses to the Democrats in the Nov. 8 election.
Trump, a former reality television star, has never held public office. His win in Indiana made him the presumptive presidential nominee, averting the possibility of a contested convention when Republicans choose their nominee at their gathering in Cleveland July 18-21.
Trump’s win cleared the way him to prepare for a likely match-up in the November general election against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Democratic front-runner Clinton lost the Indiana primary to her tenacious challenger, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, but remains on course to become her party’s nominee.
The New York businessman’s immediate challenge is to mend deep fissures within the Republican Party, easing tensions with party loyalists who have been appalled by his bombastic, bullying style, his denigrating comments about women and his proposals to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
But in a series of television interviews, Trump, 69, made clear he would not forget some wounds from a tumultuous primary campaign in which many establishment Republicans rejected him and spawned Stop Trump and Never Trump movements.
“I am confident that I can unite much of it, some of it I don’t want,” Trump said on NBC’s “Today” show. “Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want. People will be voting for me. They’re not voting for the party.”
Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign has sued Ohio’s secretary of state in federal court over what it calls an unconstitutional attempt to prevent young people from voting in the state’s March 15 primary.
“It is an outrage that the secretary of state in Ohio is going out of his way to keep young people – significantly African-American young people, Latino young people – from participating,” the U.S. senator from Vermont said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus and joined by six Ohio 17-year-olds, alleged that a directive by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted would “arbitrarily discriminate” against young voters.
Citing U.S. Census figures, it said such voters were more likely to be black or Latino than older groups of voters.
Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the Nov. 8 election, has attracted support from young voters but has lagged behind rival Hillary Clinton in winning votes among minorities.
Ohio is one of more than 20 states where 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the general election are allowed to vote in primaries, the campaign statement said.
Husted ruled last December that those voters would not be allowed to participate in the presidential primary.
He denied there had been any changes to voting rules.
“We are following the same rules Ohio has operated under in past primaries, under both Democrat and Republican administrations. There is nothing new here,” Husted said on Twitter. “If you are going to be 18 by the November election, you can vote, just not on every issue.”
He said that 17-year-olds were “not permitted to elect candidates, which is what voters are doing in a primary when they elect delegates to represent them at their political party’s national convention.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton labored on Sept. 10 to shore up support among some of her strongest backers and ease concerns about the trajectory of her presidential campaign.
At a rally at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sept. 10, Clinton took special aim at Wisconsin’s Republican governor, criticizing Scott Walker for legislation that weakened unions and moves to defund Planned Parenthood.
Clinton said Walker has tried to cast himself as “a tough guy on a motorcycle.” Instead, she said, he “gets his marching orders from the Koch brothers,” referencing the wealthy industrialists who support various conservative causes.
As Clinton worked in Wisconsin and Ohio to marshal female voters, top officials from her campaign updated loyal allies in Congress on efforts to regain her footing.
However, in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, there was evident worry that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was making inroads despite the formidable machinery of the former secretary of state’s campaign.
“Sanders is calling, doing outreach to a far wider base than Clinton,” said Sarah Swisher, of Iowa City, who in 2008 was a “superdelegate” for Clinton at the party’s national convention. “He has staff who call me all the time. And he has the volunteer capacity to make those contacts.”
The flurry of Clinton activity this week hints at the depth of concern about her national campaign. On Sept. 10, a modest-sized ballroom in downtown Columbus, Ohio, was half empty for her event, with supporters herded into a cordoned-off area to give the impression of a packed crowd.
Many Democrats fear that Sanders, an independent and self-identified socialist seeking their party’s nomination, can’t win a general election. And rapidly upcoming filing deadlines for key-state primaries complicate the prospects of Vice President Joe Biden — or anyone else — jumping into the race.
Clinton remains the front-runner nationally, with tens of millions in her campaign account and hundreds of paid staff at her Brooklyn headquarters. However, while she still leads in early polls of the whole country, she’s no longer out front in surveys taken in the first two states to vote: Iowa and New Hampshire.
In recent weeks, her message of middle-class prosperity has been overshadowed by interest in her use of a private email account and server while serving as secretary of state. In the meantime, Sanders’ anti-establishment campaign has sought to project him as a viable option for Democrats.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that we’re radical, that we’re outside of the mainstream. We are the mainstream,” Sanders said in a Wednesday night call with labor activists.
Julia Barnes, Sanders’ state director in New Hampshire, said enthusiasm for Sanders is “issue based” and not reflective of an anti-Clinton current. At the beginning of August, his New Hampshire campaign had four paid staff members. Last week, 37.
Barnes said voters are “coming to Bernie because they believe in what he’s talking about.”
Clinton’s campaign says it always expected a close race in both states, reflected its own robust efforts at organization. The campaign has roughly 50 staff members working from eight offices in New Hampshire, with more than 30 focused on on-the-ground organization. In Iowa, a state that may also play a decisive role in the general election, they have a staff of 78.
And unlike Sanders, they’re up on the airwaves: A new ad, airing in both states, promotes a plan to raise incomes for working families, a subject that Sanders constantly emphasizes in his rallies and appearances.
“There are going to be lots of ups and downs in a campaign and we have been preparing and building for that,” said Mike Vlacich, Clinton’s state director in New Hampshire.
Clinton’s team has also escalated its response to the long-running email controversy, which reached a crescendo over the Labor Day weekend when Clinton told the AP she did not need to apologize because “what I did was allowed.” The next day, she changed course and said, “I’m sorry.”
In Washington, campaign manager Robby Mook and other Clinton officials briefed more than 40 House Democrats and aides on Thursday about the state of the campaign. Questions about emails came up briefly, some of the lawmakers said, but House Democrats in attendance encouraged Clinton’s aides to move past the controversy.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., said the message was “let’s get over this email bump” and focus on core issues like increasing incomes and college affordability.
As for the Sanders rise, Takano said that during the meeting there were “some references to Howard Dean,” the former Vermont governor whose populist campaign excited the Democratic base before fading in the 2004 primaries against eventual nominee John Kerry.
“We know it’s not going to be obstacle-free, but there’s still a general confidence that she’s going to be our nominee and very likely be our next president,” Takano said.
Clinton and her team are focused on framing the race as a choice between her and the eventual Republican nominee. They’re planning to place a heavier emphasis on Clinton’s foreign policy record, which they see as a way to sharpen the contrast between her experience and the bombastic rhetoric of Donald Trump and others on the Republican side.
In Ohio, Clinton took a swipe at Trump, who made a stir overnight by insulting the physical appearance of Carly Fiorina, the former technology executive and only woman in the GOP field.
“There is one particular candidate who just seems to delight in insulting women every chance he gets,” Clinton said. “I have to say, if he emerges I would love to debate him.”
She also cast herself as an experienced policymaker who could get things done, arguing that breaking through the “dysfunctional mess in Washington” is more important than refusing to compromise – perhaps a swipe at Sanders’ staunchly liberal platform.
“I’ve been accused of being a moderate,” Clinton said. “I plead guilty.”
North America’s tallest mountain is returning to its previous name, Mount Denali, more than a century after the Alaskan peak was named to honor President William McKinley, who never set foot in Alaska.
The White House announced the change earlier this week in a symbolic gesture to Alaska Natives. But some politicians in McKinley’s native Ohio are looking for ways to block the move. Some answers to common questions about Mount Denali and its name:
Q: WHAT’S THE HISTORY OF THE MOUNTAIN?
A: Various tribes of Alaska Natives known as Athabascans have lived in the shadow of the 20,320-foot Denali for thousands of years. The National Park Service says the first recorded reference to the mountain was made in 1794 by British explorer George Vancouver. Forty years later, Russian Creole explorer Andrew Glazunov noted in a journal that he saw a “great mountain called Tenada.”
In 1839, a map was published with an approximate location of the mountain with the name Tenada. But the park service says the name later got dropped from Russian maps and slowly disappeared.
Q: HOW DID IT GET THE NAME MOUNT MCKINLEY?
A: A prospector known as William A. Dickey named the mountain in 1896. The park service website notes Dickey’s account that he named the peak “after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the Presidency, and that fact was the first news we received on our way out of that wonderful wilderness.” His account was published a year later in the New York Sun.
Q: WAS THERE A CHALLENGE TO THE MOUNT MCKINLEY NAME?
A: Yes, and fairly quickly. The U.S. Geological Survey disputed Dickey’s name in 1899, but the New York Sun stepped in and pointed out Dickey’s accounts and maps were widely circulated in 1897.
Q: WHY IS THE MOUNTAIN SACRED TO ALASKA NATIVES?
A: There is no one common story among Athabascans as to why the mountain is sacred, but they all agree it is, said Will Mayo, a former president of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 Athabascan tribes in Interior Alaska.
One story, he said, describes Mount Denali and neighboring Mount Foraker as husband and wife with eight sons — which are prominent and sacred hills located on Athabascan lands, places like Mooseheart Mountain and Mission Hill.
“It’s not one homogenous belief structure around the mountain, but we all agree that we’re all deeply gratified by the acknowledgment of the importance of Denali to Alaska’s people,” he said.
Q: DID ALASKANS CALL IT MOUNT MCKINLEY?
A: Some did, but others invoked the state’s longtime attitude of, “We don’t care how they do it outside” and called it Denali. Alaskans consider every place that isn’t Alaska “outside.”
Q: WILL OHIO WILLINGLY GIVE UP THE NAME OF ITS NATIVE SON?
A: Far from it, but it wasn’t immediately clear what elected officials could do to stop it. Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs said McKinley deserved to be honored and invited his colleagues to join him to try to block what he called Obama’s “constitutional overreach.”
Other Ohio political leaders were not as adamant but expressed their disappointment in the change.
Q: HOW LONG HAVE ALASKA AND OHIO BEEN AT ODDS OVER THE NAME OF THE MOUNTAIN?
A: Since at least 1975, when the Alaska Geographic Board changed the mountain’s name to Denali and the state Legislature, governor and congressional delegation began to push for the name change at the federal level, said Jo Antonson, the state historian. The same year, Ohio Rep. Ralph Regula began the tradition of filing legislation to keep the name as Mount McKinley. The federal board that oversees place names would never take up the issue since there always was active legislation, Antonson said.
“It was just irritating,” she said.
Q: HOW DID PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA CHANGE THE NAME?
A: On the eve of a three-day trip to Alaska, the White House announced that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell changed the name by secretarial order, citing a 1947 law that allows the standardization of geographic names unilaterally when the U.S. Board on Geographic Names fails to act “within a reasonable time.” The board shares responsibility with the Interior Department for naming such landmarks.
Q: ARE THERE ANY POSITIVES IN THIS FOR MCKINLEY?
A: McKinley Presidential Library and Museum curator Kimberly Kenney said she’s happy for the Alaskans who have sought the name change for 40 years. She said she’s also glad that the 25th president is getting some attention.
“We’re glad people are talking about President McKinley,” Kenney said. “People don’t talk about him often.”
McKinley, a Republican, won the general election in both 1896 and 1900, twice defeating William Jennings Bryan. McKinley was killed by an assassin in 1901 in Buffalo, New York. He has no living heirs, Kenney said.
Late in the Supreme Court session, probably just before taking a summer break, the justices will rule on four marriage equality cases. The cases, consolidated under Obergefell v. Hodges, are set for oral argument on April 28.
A glance at what’s ahead …
The constitutional questions:
• Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
• Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?
• Obergefell v. Hodges from Ohio.
• DeBoer v. Snyder from Michigan.
• Tanco v. Haslam from Tennessee.
• Bourke v. Beshear from Kentucky.
When the case is decided, it will be under Obergefell v. Hodges.
The plaintiffs’ case:
Mary L. Bonauto, who helped launch the gay marriage movement, and Doug Hallward-Driemeier, who has argued before the court 14 times, will present the case for marriage equality to the justices.
Bonauto will present arguments on the question: Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
Plaintiffs’ briefs make the argument that they are seeking equal access to the institution of marriage, that access to marriage is a “fundamental right.”
Hallward-Driemeir will present arguments on the question: Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
Plaintiffs’ briefs draw arguments from the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Windsor case, which overturned Section 3 of DOMA and stated that failure to recognize a marriage entered into legally “imposes a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriage.”
The defendants’ case:
John J. Bursch, a special assistant attorney general in Michigan, will argue on the question of whether a state can prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.
Joseph F. Whalen, an associate state solicitor general in Tennessee, will argue on the question of whether a state can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages from another state.
Defendants’ briefs argue that the 14th Amendment does not define marriage and thus defining marriage should be left to the states, that state bans on gay marriage are intended to codify a traditional definition of marriage not to discriminate against gays and that same-sex couples are seeking to create a “new” constitutional right.
What to look for:
Court observers always pay close attention to the questions the justices ask during oral argument, and there are some key questions to consider, according to the experts at ScotusBlog.com. Will the justices show concern for a 1972 ruling in which the Supreme Court ruled that a claim to same-sex marriage does not raise a “substantial federal question?” Does the Constitution leave the definition of marriage for state lawmakers or voters to decide? And what role will Justice Anthony M. Kennedy play? Kennedy wrote the majority decision in the Windsor case. Before that ruling, same-sex couples could marry in nine states and the District of Columbia. Since June 26, 2013, same-sex marriage has become legal in 27 more states.
A ruling from the high court could allow for nationwide marriage equality. “The nine justices of the Supreme Court have an urgent opportunity to guarantee fairness for countless families, once and for all,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group.
Public support for marriage equality continues to rise, even in the states still prohibiting gays and lesbians from marrying:
• Since 2004, public support in every state increased on average 2.6 percent, according to data from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
• Since 2012, public support in every state increased 6.2 percent every year.
• By 2014, support for marriage equality exceeded 50 percent in 36 states and the District of Columbia.
The Unite for Marriage Coalition is coordinating a rally outside the Supreme Court on April 28. The coalition also is working to hold actions in other locations, which are posted at uniteformarriage.org. As WiG went to press, dozens of events were scheduled but none planned in Wisconsin.
To monitor oral argument, ScotusBlog.com and CNN.com provide live coverage from the courthouse.
Obergefell v. Hodge is the only case scheduled for argument that day. The court has allotted 150 minutes, beginning at about 10 a.m. EST.
For Democrats, New York would offer a diverse tableau in liberal Brooklyn and a touch of Clinton nostalgia. Philadelphia would give the party a patriotic backdrop while Columbus would raise the curtain on another campaign showdown in Ohio.
Democrats are closing in on a final decision on where to hold their 2016 convention, a site that could serve as a passing of the baton from President Barack Obama to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leading contender for the Democratic nomination should she run for president again.
With a price tag of at least $65 million, the choice will come down to whether to set the stage for Obama’s Democratic successor in a big city or in the confines of another battleground state. Obama was formally nominated in Denver in 2008 and in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2012, allowing his campaign to use the events to register new voters and recruit volunteers in states crucial to his political map. The three cities in the hunt for the 2016 host venue have been negotiating with the Democratic National Committee and a final decision is expected in late January or early February.
New York, the nation’s largest city, has been a popular choice in the past, holding Democratic conventions in 1976, 1980 and 1992, when former President Bill Clinton was first nominated at Madison Square Garden. The city has played up its diversity as the home to a large Latino population and organizers are confident that Brooklyn’s bid – the first time New York has pitched a political convention outside Manhattan – wouldn’t have trouble raising money.
Hillary Clinton represented New York in the Senate and the Clintons live in nearby Westchester County, where the former secretary of state’s presidential campaign is expected to be headquartered should she seek the nomination, as widely expected.
Philadelphia’s organizers point to the city’s heritage as the home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were adopted, along with its convenient East Coast location and compact, easy-to-navigate community.
Columbus, meanwhile, would bring the convention to one of the nation’s top presidential battleground states and offer a convenient rebuttal to Republicans, who are holding their July 2016 convention in Cleveland.
Downplaying symbolism, party leaders say their choice will be based on practical matters such as finances, transportation, security and available hotel rooms. Organizers of the 2012 convention in Charlotte struggled with fundraising and some delegates at past conventions have complained of long commutes from far-flung hotels.
“This decision will primarily center around logistics, financing and security, but we have three excellent options and are looking forward to a diverse and inclusive 2016 convention that displays our party’s values,” said Lily Adams, a DNC spokeswoman.
Democrats also need to pick a date, which could factor into the party’s 2016 strategy. Republicans will hold their Cleveland convention from July 18-21. Democrats are considering either the week of July 25, immediately after the Republican event, or the week of Aug. 22, following the Summer Olympics.
Here’s a look at the three cities vying for the convention:
PROS: Brooklyn has become its own brand, a comeback story that is a symbol of youthful energy and urban cool. The convention would be held at the gleaming Barclays Center, arguably the nation’s most state-of-the-art arena, while delegates would split their time between Brooklyn and Manhattan just a few subway stops away. Along with its fundraising ability, New York’s Brooklyn has become a symbol of liberalism, embodied by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will still be in office in 2016.
CONS: The ongoing rift between de Blasio and rank-and-file members of the New York Police Department threatens to overshadow the bid in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of two police officers and protests over police conduct in the Eric Garner case. The city’s tense relationship with the NYPD unions – who are working on an expired contract – could be a problem at Barclays, which will rely heavily on the department to provide security. A New York location could also put a spotlight on Clinton’s ties to Wall Street at a time when some liberals vilify the financial industry.
QUOTE: “Brooklyn matters, because Brooklyn has shown the way – this amazing renaissance over the last few decades, a place that was often the underdog is now the envy of the world.” – de Blasio.
PROS: Columbus, Ohio’s capital city, sits at the heart of a coveted political swing state. The last Democrat to win the White House without carrying Ohio was John F. Kennedy in 1960 and no Republican ever has. One study found 147.5 million people, or 48 percent of the U.S. population, live within a day’s drive of Columbus. The convention would be held at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and the neighborhood includes a convention center and an array of restaurants, bars and hotels. Republicans’ choice of Cleveland might give Democrats an incentive to make a quick counterpoint before the state’s coveted voter base.
CONS: Columbus does not have the national reputation of its two rivals and has never staged a national convention for either party. The city lacks a robust subway system and its bus system doesn’t effectively serve some of the hotel clusters around Columbus’ outskirts, where delegates may be staying. The decision by local police to pepper spray crowds of fans celebrating Ohio State University’s national football championship could also be considered.
QUOTE: “There are few events that provide us the opportunity to showcase our city on a national stage, and we are ready to put forth our best effort and show the DNC and the entire nation just what Columbus is all about.” – Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman.
PROS: A highly walkable and historic city, Philadelphia has been the home to a variety of large events and played host to the Republican National Convention in 2000. The Vatican chose Philadelphia as the site for the World Meeting of Families, which Pope Francis will attend in September. Philadelphia has a booming millennial population, a demographic that Democrats want to capture in next year’s election. Clinton also has ties to Pennsylvania – her father was born in Scranton and she has longtime allies in the state such as former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, an ex-chairman of the DNC. Democrats have carried Pennsylvania in every presidential election since 1992 but Republicans hope for a breakthrough there.
CONS: Though the main political gathering would take place at the Wells Fargo Center sports arena, some smaller events would be held at a downtown convention center involved in a major dispute with the carpenters union. During the Republican convention in 2000, police were criticized for their heavy-handed dealings with protesters.
QUOTE: “The road to the White House leads right through the city of Philadelphia.” – Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.