The Republican National Committee toured this great nation and made a decision: It will hold the 2016 convention in Cleveland. The D.C. press corps has received the news with all the joy of a small child getting to spend the weekend with the uncle who smells weird and doesn't even have an Xbox.
Already thinking up excuses to miss Cleveland convention in '16. I think that I broke something, or I have a cold. Anything....— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) July 8, 2014
Ugh. Cleveland.— Sara Murray (@SaraMurray) July 8, 2014
The criticism is misguided. People: Political conventions are terrible. They transform pleasant downtowns into police states. They produce faux news stories to news-news stories at a ratio of roughly 1252-to-1. (Remember how the Democrats "took God out of the platform" in 2012? No? Good, you've replaced that memory with a useful one.) You do not want to see a tourist city at the height of convention season—imagine going to Venice or Brugge if entire sections were cordoned off by $50 million worth of public security forces.
No, here's what you need for a convention: an arena, a downtown, and an airport. Cleveland has all of those things. Unlike Tampa, host of a 2012 Republican convention that stranded delegates as far as 45 minutes away from the arena (seriously, and I was with the Iowa delegation), it spreads in a nice ameba pattern with no pesky bays or gulfs taking up real estate. In July, when this convention is likely to be held, average temperatures only rise to 80 or so—10 degrees cooler than Tampa, with far fewer hurricanes. It's an easy road trip through battleground states for us East Coast political hacks.
Plus, it's Cleveland. It's great! Lobbyists can fight it out to host events at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Reporters can go to authentic German and Polish restaurants to conduct interviews with real working-class voters, preserved as if in an open-air museum. For further reading, consult ThinkProgress' trolling guide on how Cleveland (like most large cities) is run by liberals who will irritate Republicans. (Side note: Republicans have not won the state that played host to their convention since 1992, though they came close in Florida last time.)