Four years after the Democrats lost Wisconsin in the 2016 presidential election — and nominee Hillary Clinton was heavily criticized for not campaigning in that state — the Democrats are coming to the Badger State for their 2020 convention.
The 2020 Democratic National Convention will take place in Milwaukee, the party’s official Twitter account announced Monday. The convention dates are July 13 through July 16, 2020. The Fiserv Forum, the downtown arena that hosts the Milwaukee Bucks, will serve as the primary venue for the convention.
The Republican National Convention will take place over a month later, from August 24 through August 27, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The party who does not hold the presidency traditionally holds their convention first, although in the last few election cycles the respective party conventions have taken place on consecutive weeks. In 2016, the Republicans gathered in Cleveland in July, with the Democrats holding their convention in Philadelphia the following week.
In that 2016 election, Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Hillary Clinton did not campaign in the state during the general election. However, Democrats in the state rebounded in 2018, with Tony Evers ending Scott Walker’s eight-year reign, winning the gubernatorial election. Mandela Barnes, also a Democrat, was elected as the state’s new lieutenant governor.
The Wisconsin Republican Party’s executive director, following the announcement, responded to the news about the winning DNC bid by coming out swinging against his own state’s largest city.
“No city in America has stronger ties to socialism than Milwaukee,” Mark Jefferson, a Republican party leader for Wisconsin, told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And with the rise of Bernie Sanders and the embrace of socialism by its newest leaders, the American left has come full circle. It’s only fitting the Democrats would come to Milwaukee.”
A rejuvenated downtown, a new NBA arena and billions of dollars in new construction are helping Milwaukee shed its image of a Rust Belt manufacturing hub. The city will get to show it all off when it hosts the 2020 Democratic National Convention. https://t.co/PXN7FTEqfx— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) March 11, 2019
The state’s Republican U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson, said in a statement that he’s glad the city will get an economic boast from the convention. However, he also said that Wisconsin voters will get “a first-hand look at Democrats’ extreme policies,” per reporter Mark Sommerhauser on Twitter.
Milwaukee — as rock star Alice Cooper famously explained in the 1991 movie Wayne’s World — is the only major U.S. city to elect three socialist mayors. However, all three of those mayors served in the first half of the 20th century.
The city with the state’s largest African-American population, Milwaukee is a Democratic Party stronghold in most Wisconsin elections, along with the Madison area. More rural areas of the state typically skew Republican in terms of voter turnout.