Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
There are few cities in the nation more closely tied to the Democrats than the stronghold of Chicago and, in 2024, the party will hold its national convention in the Windy City for the first time since 1996.
“Chicago is a great choice to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Democrats will gather to showcase our historic progress including building an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not from the top down.”
This will be the 12th time Chicago will host.
Although Democrats can point to numerous benefits of hosting their convention in the Windy City — historical ties, central location, major airports, and accommodations among them — the most pressing reason for the decision was old-school political pragmatics.
In politics, everything is meant to aid in achieving electoral victory and accruing power, and Democrats know Biden needs to win as many states as possible in the Midwest if he is to return to the White House.
“The Midwest is key to a victory in 2024, and there is no city better positioned to reach those voters than Chicago,” Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming the world to Illinois in 2024 and showing what it looks like when we all come together to create a future built on policies that deliver for American families.”
As reported in more detail by Politico, Chicago was by no means a shoo-in to host. Atlanta and New York were also in play.
However, with the Democrats also desiring a city with strong ties to labor and a track record of diversity and liberal policy — Biden was convinced that Chicago was the best combination of location and optics.
“The 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago will welcome people from across the nation to an unforgettable event highlighting our party’s vision for lifting up working families and those who too often have been left out and left behind,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said. “Our great global city and its diverse communities, unparalleled hospitality, and world-renowned venues shows off the best of America and its people represent the heart of our country.”
Although not for the same reasons, Republicans largely agreed that there was no better place for Democrats to hold their convention than Chicago, a city with a long-held reputation for violence and crime.
“The DNC will be holding their 2024 convention in Chicago,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted. “Will they be providing complimentary bulletproof vests?”
According to World Population Review, Chicago ranks 10th in the nation in murders per 100,000, which is actually an improvement on where the city had been tracking in previous years.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF DNC IN CHICAGO
Democrats have held Chicago since before the Civil War, which makes the Windy City a natural fit for conventions. However, even the staunchest modern-day liberal would have to admit that major gatherings of Democrats in Chicago have provided mixed results.
The first time Democrats held their national convention in Chicago, they selected George B. McClellan to face Abraham Lincoln in the 1864 presidential race.
This marked the Democrats’ third consecutive loss in a presidential race and proved an early chapter in what was to become a lengthy period of Republican dominance in Washington during the period of Reconstruction.
But, 20 years later, in 1884, Democrats returned to Chicago and nominated Grover Cleveland, the man who would finally end the decades-long run of Republican dominance.
Chicago was also the city in which Franklin D. Roosevelt received his first Democratic nomination in 1932, as well as his third and fourth in 1940 and 1944, respectively.
Twice-failed Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson received both of his nominations in Chicago, before losing to Dwight D. Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956.
In 1996, Democrats nominated Bill Clinton for what would become a successful second bid for the White House.
But, it was the 1968 convention that stands out in both Chicago and American history. Few conventions can match 1968 for emotion and none come close in terms of violence.
It was at that convention that a deeply divided Democratic Party devolved into chaos in the convention hall while a police riot ensued in the streets of Chicago.
The 1968 convention, which came on the heels of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, is best remembered for acts of infamy.
Among the many lowlights were the forced removal of delegates who voiced opposition to eventual nominee Hubert Humphrey, security staff assaulting then-roving reporter Dan Rather, and CBS anchor Walter Cronkite decrying what he described as a “totally unwarranted restriction of free and rapid access to information.”
Outside the convention, and at the behest of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daly, scores of police — many of whom were local toughs sworn in just for the purpose of serving as muscle — began arresting and brutally beating numerous anti-war protestors, who famously chanted “the whole world is watching” as television crews captured the full spectacle and broadcast it live to the nation.
Perhaps the least remembered moment of the convention was when Daly launched into a profanity-laced, anti-semitic rant after Connecticut Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, who was Jewish, compared the Daly police force’s tactics to those of the Gestapo.
Anti-semitism didn’t carry much of a penalty in the Democratic Party, though, and Daly remained mayor until 1976.