Bill de Blasio isn’t the only one who really, really wants Brooklyn to be the site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Apparently, these two hipsters, pictured above, are all for Barclays hosting the shebang, too. But why? Will Brooklyn, or anywhere in New York state, really, play a major role in determining who becomes the next president? Absolutely not—we’ll likely vote blue no matter what. And second, NYC might be the last city on earth that would benefit from an event that, much like the Olympics (though thankfully, de Blasio was smart enough to squash that bug), largely takes place for the sole purpose of pulling in high-profile visitors and ultimately, tourists. We’ve got enough of both of those, thanks. So why are our current mayor, our former president, and our maybe-future president convinced that this is a good idea?
Though neither Clinton has officially commented on the matter, the New York Times reports that the duo “are said to be encouraging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to bring the convention back to New York City,” and connected it with the fact that it’s where Bill Clinton accepted his presidential nomination in 1992, and another DNC in the city could act as a “homecoming” for Hillary, to use de Blasio’s words. “Hillary Rodham Clinton has never been more of a New Yorker,” the Times wrote. The evidence? “She goes to Broadway musicals. She shops at Bergdorf Goodman. She works in Midtown Manhattan and spends summers on the shores of Long Island.”
If you’re wondering what Brooklyn has to do with any of this, the answer is the same as it always is, and has been increasingly in the past decade-plus: Brooklyn is “the haven of liberal cool,” or so says the Times, simply because neither cool people nor liberals can afford to live in Manhattan anymore but for professional or social reasons, can’t afford not to live in New York City. While Bill’s DNC was held at Madison Square Garden, real estate costs, among other things, have changed since then. “The borough, seen as a hipster bastion, would give any nominee ‘a youthful, forward-looking appearance…’ Brooklyn is also a touchstone for millennial voters and the party’s liberal wing.” So, basically, a Brooklyn DNC means all the rich-people perks of New York City (Broadway! Bergdorf!) made edgier by “millennial” street cred.
And de Blasio is milking the hell out of it, too: If the convention were to be held here, the Barclays Center would act as a weeklong party house for officials and donors, serving up locally sourced wine, artisanal cheese and fish tacos, as well as offering bicycle valets and hang-out space on the building’s forthcoming green rooftop garden, while the Navy Yard would be turned into a media center. In the mean time, New York’s wealth of celebrities and athletes would be called upon to “accompany delegates” to museums and Broadway shows. The cost for taxpayers? $8.1 million.
And then there’s the rather obvious question: Why bother holding the DNC in a state as unflinchingly blue as New York? The other four candidates, Birmingham, AL; Columbus, OH; Philly and Phoenix all offer a far more appealing demographic—swing voters.
The attempt to convince Democratic officials otherwise is… not great. In June, the city released a cringe-inducing hipster-propaganda film entitled “This Is New York City.” If it is to be believed, New York City is exceedingly dorky:
But aside from bad marketing and lack of political sense, the logistics of hosting the DNC in Brooklyn sound like kind of a nightmare. Multiple major thoroughfares would likely be closed off for convention attendees only, including portions of 42nd Street, Houston Street, the Bowery and the Manhattan Bridge, which would surely affect commutes, and politicians and police would be rampant in hotels and around the Barclays Center, meaning that it’d stall pretty much the entirety of central Brooklyn for over a week, all so that a few politicians can feel a teensy bit edgy. (And just think of the jokes on cable news. And the Girls references. Even Brooklynites making fun of other Brooklynites isn’t even that funny anymore.)
The official decision of where to hold the 2016 convention won’t be announced until winter, but we can only hope that it’ll be made on the grounds of something far more solid than what a couple old white people assume is hip right now. But hey, maybe it’s all because they’ve figured out everyone in Brooklyn is actually registered to vote in Ohio—a false assumption, but an oddly ingenious one nonetheless.
Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa.