GOP Convention .pdf
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CQ NOW AT THE CONVENTION
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State of Play
REPUBLICANS LOOK TO REVERSE THEIR TREND
OF LOSING THE CONVENTION’S HOST STATE
By Shawn Zeller
The Republicans arrive in Cleveland this
week in the midst of an epic losing streak,
not in presidential elections, but in years
since they won the state in which they held
their nominating convention.
A factor in choosing a convention city
is the belief that holding the party jubilee
there will influence voters in the state
where it’s held, making them feel more
intensely the good feelings emanating
from the convention hall. But the GOP
has now lost the states in which it held its
convention in five straight election years.
“My sense is you can’t rely on having
the convention in a state as a guarantee
of carrying the state,” says Neil Bradley,
chief strategy officer of the Conservative
Reform Network, an advocacy group. “But
it presents a huge opportunity to take advantage and present a positive message.”
Donald Trump faces an uphill climb in
presenting that positive message. Republicans are deeply divided over his candidacy. Some delegates have threatened a
revolt on the convention floor.
Conventions are normally events where
former rivals in the primary campaign
6 | REPUBLICAN CONVENTION GUIDE
demonstrate that they are behind the nominee. But Trump has struggled to secure
top-flight endorsements, including from
his chief opponents, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who won his
home state handily in its March primary,
taking 47 percent of the vote to Trump’s 36
Ohioans haven’t rallied to Trump since
he became the presumptive nominee
either. Of the four major polls to survey
them since late June, two have shown his
Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton,
with a lead, while two showed a dead heat.
The Democrats have done better in their
convention states in recent decades. They
may have an advantage, given that the
cities with the infrastructure to support the
party conventions these days are mainly in
deep blue coastal states, or in swing states
where Democrats have a shot. And hotel
rooms and transportation for delegates is
just as big a factor as politics in choosing a
But diving into ancient history, both parties are close to even in the states where
they hold conventions. The Democrats
have gone 7-9 in their last 16 convention
states, while Republicans are 8-8.
Those less-than-stellar records say
something, says John J. Pitney Jr., a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna
College in California. Conventions can
annoy locals as much as they please them.
“On the one hand, the convention might
generate some business locally and that
might improve attitudes, but there’s also a
lot of traffic and a shortage of hotel rooms
that creates inconvenience,” he says.
Dating to 1952, the GOP has won its convention host state 50 percent of the time.
St. Paul, Minn.
New York City
Kansas City, Mo.
Miami Beach, Fla.
Miami Beach, Fla.