Last week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) converged upon potential host sites in preparation for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
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Just as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) whittles down their list of "host cities" so, too, is the RNC. The national GOP has narrowed the field of cities to host the 2016 confab to "the final four" - Denver, Colorado; Dallas, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Cleveland, Ohio.
While the RNC Site Selection Committee states they are keeping an eye peeled for a city that can logistically handle tens of thousands of delegates in hotels, sporting arenas, and convention facilities, I predict that site selection alone will telegraph some very important predictors of where the RNC is headed and how they plan to promote the Republican Party in the critical 2016 elections.
I had the opportunity to tag along with the RNC as they visited Colorado, a state that could very well have its photo next to the phrase "battleground state" in Miriam-Webster's Dictionary. During the visit, Denver 2016 Chairman Pete Coors, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and others discussed the city's infrastructure and fielded questions about the state's significance on the national stage.
After a decades-long reputation as a red state, in 2012 this "swing State" sent a Democrat president back to the White House for the first time in 76 years — a feat that hadn't been accomplished since the landslide re-election of President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.
On the other hand, Colorado more recently garnered national attention with flagship GOP and pro-Second Amendment recall victories when citizens here last fall rose up and recalled two of the most powerful Democrat legislators over their overreaching gun control votes. Within 60 days of that victory, Republicans here then defeated the largest tax increase in Colorado state history which Democrats had claimed was for education but, in fact, would have gone to fund a failing pension system.
Concerns for this site include the state's recent legalization of marijuana which might serve as a distraction, or the potential that broadcasters will mention during the festivities that it was in this city in 2008 that one Barack Obama accepted the nomination for president at Sports Authority Mile-High Stadium.
Yet despite the ping-pong politics over the years, there is evidence of bipartisanship in this city's bid: even Denver's Democrat Mayor said today during the visit that he is supportive of bringing the Republican National Convention to town. If the RNC chooses Colorado, make no mistake the RNC will send a strong message that the national party intends to fight — and fight hard — for swing votes.
If, on the other hand, the RNC were to choose Texas as the 2016 Republican National Convention site, hold onto your hats, folks. This choice would signal a Republican Party that intends to appeal to its base. A Texas pick would certainly be more about rallying the base than appealing to centrist voters who may have voted for Obama in the last round — a move as risky as a quick round of Texas Hold 'Em.
However, it would certainly provide Republicans an opportunity to juxtapose their party against an Obama Administration which proved to be "all hat, no cattle." Add to this mix a potential Gov. Rick Perry nomination on the presidential ticket and the fact that Texas is where pro-abortion legislator Wendy Davis launched her pink-tennis-shoe'd filibuster, to boot.
The optics on this would be an all-out far-left versus far-right food fight that would appeal to red states and red-meat voters.
If the RNC chooses Ohio, they'll be sticking to their model from prior decades of thinking that one must win Ohio in order to win the White House. While that is largely true, as the Obama political machine has shown us what worked for George W. Bush in the year 2000 won't work for the Republican nominee in 2016 — nearly twenty years later (yes, twenty).
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
As for Kansas City, all obligatory "fly-over state" jokes aside, I'm just not sure that venue soars to the top of the list among today's dynamic political battles.
The next round of decision-making is expected in August, although RNC Site Selection Committee Chairperson Enid Mickelsen said during today's Colorado visit that a final decision to select one site outright could be announced at that time.
I suggest the RNC ought to go big or go home to Washington, D.C. by choosing Colorado or Texas. I have confidence in the RNC to go with a provocative choice like Colorado in order to demonstrate they are willing to take the gloves off and fight for every swing vote like we did during the Colorado recalls. But if the polling numbers support appealing to the base, it would be a helluva show to see the RNC kick up some Democrat dust deep in the heart of Texas.
Vote for your city to host the 2016 RNC Convention here.
Jennifer Kerns is a branded contributor to The Blaze and other publications where she covers the 2nd Amendment, religious liberty, the future of the GOP, limited government battles and other political hot topics. She served as Spokeswoman for the historic Colorado recalls, Spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, twice as an Appointee of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and as Spokeswoman for Prop. 8 which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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