Milwaukee Wins Bid for 2020 Democratic National Convention

Milwaukee Wins Bid for 2020 Democratic National Convention

The Democrats will convene on the shores of Lake Michigan July 13-16, 2020

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When I first heard that Milwaukee, Wisconsin was in the running to host the Democratic National Convention (DNC) next year in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, I thought it interesting, though not without basis.

When I heard next that Milwaukee had actually been granted the DNC, I was mildly surprised, though not shocked. After all, as I said, there is basis.

Milwaukee is the largest city in my home state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin, in tandem with many other Upper Midwest states, had voted for Democrats in every presidential election dating back to the 1980s. Keyword "had." As has gone down in history, Donald Trump won not only Wisconsin, but also Michigan and Pennsylvania on his way to taking the presidency.

While cities like Detroit or Pittsburgh would have also been fertile ground for Democrats to stake a claim to the white working class that abandoned them for Trump in 2016, the decision to break for Wisconsin specifically makes sense for a number of reasons.

Firstly, of all those Upper Midwest states, Wisconsin had been solidly Democratic for the longest. Prior to Trump, the last time Wisconsin had sided with the Republican nominee was during Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign. It's also worth noting that Reagan was an incumbent during that election. By picking Milwaukee (and by extension Wisconsin) the Democratic Party is acting to prevent any further electoral slippage in what was once a sure pillar of support.

Secondly, Wisconsin has been ground zero for the clash of liberal and conservative ideologies, dating all the way back to at least Obama's first election in 2008. That presidential vote was followed by Republican victories in 2010 in which the Democrats lost control of the governorship and both houses of the state legislature. They also lost a US Senate seat, with political newcomer Ron Johnson defeating three-term stalwart Russ Feingold.

The 2010 elections, in turn, kicked off a litany of raucous political prizefighting, with Republican Gov. Scott Walker's 2011 legislation restricting union power by reshaping collective bargaining parameters and allowing individuals to choose whether or not to pay union dues. This bill, known broadly as Act 10, incited a Democratic-backed recall of the governor and a number of other Republican legislators. Republicans retaliated with a number of their own recalls against Democrats and Gov. Walker ultimately won his recall election in 2012, as well as his regularly scheduled election in 2014.

Yet, the pendulum continued to seesaw between the two ends of the political spectrum: Obama won reelection in 2012, Democrat Tammy Baldwin won election to Wisconsin's other Senate seat the same year, Ron Johnson was reelected after a rematch against Feingold in 2016, and (obviously) Trump won in his own campaign. But even that is not the end of the story. Tony Evers, the state's former Superintendent of Public Instruction, defeated Walker behind a wave of anti-Trump sentiment in 2018.

All of this to say that despite its outwardly blue appearance, Wisconsin politics are actually more fractious than they may at first seem.

Due to Milwaukee's size and composition, it's rare that the city hosts anything of such importance. Super Bowls don't come down to Milwaukee; there isn't even a stadium in the city that would be capable of hosting one. Big movies aren't shot here but rarely. And few truly famous people call the city home; if they do, they were likely only born here, and have since migrated to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or the like.

But, that's not to say that there's nothing to be proud of in Milwaukee. After all, the city is responsible for world famous beer, cheese, brats, and currently the best team in basketball. The Cream City also plays host to Harley-Davidson, the most prominent motorcycle manufacturer in America, as well as Summerfest, the world's largest music festival. Born here myself, I am glad to count the city as part of my own heritage as well.

Frankly, hosting the DNC is a measure I'm supportive of (and one that Scott Walker is too). Not only will it bring prominence to Milwaukee, the state of Wisconsin, and the issues at hand here, but the economic impact of such an event is sure to be resounding. From hotels to restaurants to every and any other facility thousands of out-of-town visitors might utilize over the four days of the convention, it's estimated that the region could see as much as a $200 million boost from the festivities.

Still, I'm left wondering what the optics will be for the DNC.

To elucidate, it seems something cheap to commit to hosting your biggest party of the year in a city that you've largely only paid lip service to up until now. Despite the fact that there is sure to be emphatic vaunting of the vast Democratic (and Socialist) history of the city, there is no denying that the tenure of Milwaukee's current mayor, Tom Barrett, has been disastrous.

Barrett will likely be a key cog in the machine that is the 2020 DNC, but in his 15-year career as the leader of Wisconsin's largest city there are a great many areas where his Democratic policies have failed miserably. Gun violence in Milwaukee is occurring at rates among the highest in the United States and is on par with the city's larger Great Lakes kin, Chicago. Reports continue to bubble up that Milwaukee is the most racially segregated city in the nation. The city apparently has one of the highest tax rates in the entire state of Wisconsin, yet continues to have some of the worst infrastructure in the whole country.

And in light of all this, Mayor Barrett's crowning achievement in a decade and a half on the job is that of a simple streetcar, of which a majority of residents did not want.

While efforts to bring the DNC to Milwaukee in 2020 seem to have been long and tenuous, I am ultimately pleased with the economic impact that such an event will have. I am supportive of the bipartisan backing that sought to bring visibility to a Wisconsin cornerstone, spearheaded by none other than the ousted Gov. Walker.

And yet, I am dubious about Democratic "showcasing" of the city. After all, what policies can the Democrats really claim as points of victory under Mayor Barrett? What Democratic achievements can they possibly tout?

Perhaps the DNC will shed light not only on the positive elements of Brew City, but also upon the more discouraging ones that could use a bit of extra attention.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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