Hoffman's Houston

Ken Hoffman dissects the DNC convention snub and why Houston blows Milwaukee away

Ken Hoffman dissects the DNC snub and why Houston blows Milwaukee away

Horse drawn carriage in front of George R Brown Convention Center for Super Bowl kickoff
The George R. Brown Convention Center is a perfect fit for the Democratic National Convention.  Photo courtesy of Houston First

Good luck to the Democrats holding their national convention next year in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee instead of Houston. When politics are involved, you should never ask, “What were they thinking?” Because this decision makes you wonder exactly how much thinking was involved. 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez made the announcement March 11. Milwaukee, where Perez was married (nothing to do with anything) beat out Houston. Now let’s compare and contrast Milwaukee and Houston, fair and balanced, even Steven, and then determine just how bonehead a mistake the Democrats made.

Houston is better, by the numbers
First let’s crunch some numbers: 55,000 people, including Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s entourage, are expected to attend the Democratic convention. Houston has 80,000 hotel rooms within 20 miles of the George R. Brown Convention Center and Toyota Center. Milwaukee has 17,500 hotel rooms within 20 miles of its Fiserv Forum. Have fun tripling up at the Motel 6. Some advice: The Coke machine in the laundry room is out of Fanta, and the side door entrance locks at 11 pm.

Some delegations and media folks may have to find accommodations in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Rockford, Illinois. Make things uncomfortable for pampered buffet-busters in the media and see what kind of press comes out of Milwaukee.

Houston is used to staging world-class, mega-deal gatherings. We’re good at it. We’ve hosted, take a deep breath: Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals, national political conventions, NBA All-Star Games, MLB All-Star Games, the G7 Economic Summit, WrestleManias, Tennis Masters Cups, boxing title fights, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and Dominique Sachse’s wedding. We shine in the spotlight. 

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee (yikes)...
Let’s take a look at Milwaukee’s upcoming convention schedule — straight from the Visit Milwaukee and Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau websites: Milwaukee Comic Book Convention (March 31), Milwaukee Beer Week (April 14-20), Comicverse Comic Convention and Toy Show (April 28), Stamp and Scrapbook Expo (May 3), GeekCraft Expo (May 4), Bead & Button Show (June 2), Wisconsin Comic Convention (June 28), Milwaukee Tattoo Arts Convention (September 29), and National Newspaper Association Convention (October 3).

This isn’t a slap at Milwaukee or Wisconsin. I’ve been there a few times. It’s a naturally beautiful place to visit, and friends tell me it’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family. All I’m saying is, Houston is a better choice to hold a major gathering. Milwaukee comes up short of facilities. Houston has more than enough hotels, venues, golf courses, night clubs, and strip clubs. Houston is one of the world’s great foodie capitals.

Stay in your lane, Milwaukee. By that, I mean the HOV lane on I-94 East to Chicago, where some of the ritzier convention-goers will find "suitable" accommodations.

Building a (blue wall)...
It’s true that Wisconsin is part of the Democrats’ “blue wall” in the Midwest, crucial for them to regain the White House in 2020. President Trump surprisingly won Wisconsin in 2016.

But consider, Texas has 38 Electoral College votes. That’s equal to Wisconsin (10 votes), Minnesota (10 votes), and Ohio (18 votes) put together. While Texas has been a reliable Republican state in presidential elections since 1980, Trump won by only 9 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

In 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won Texas by 16 points over President Obama. In 2008, Republican John McCain won Texas by 12 points. With gains by Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, Texas might, just might, be up for grabs in 2020. According to a recent poll by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune (whatever that’s worth), Trump currently is a slight underdog to win Texas next year.

Just imagine the roar if Beto O’Rourke took the stage at a Democratic National Convention in Houston.


Should Houston have hosted the Democratic National Convention? Let Ken know on Twitter.

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