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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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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