Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: An Unconventional Bid Covered in Kale

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"Brooklyn owes the charmer under me" – Steely Dan

For the next two days, Democratic bigwigs will be wined and dined by Mayor de Blasio and plenty of the city's high-rollers – hoping for New York to land the party's national convention in 2016.

While the city has hosted five nominating conventions since 1924, never before have delegates ambled their way to Brooklyn to pick their candidate for president. It would be a crowning moment for de Blasio and his home borough which has become a powerful magnet for the terminally hip -- and even an NHL franchise.

Embracing Brooklyn's Barclays Center instead of Manhattan's Madison Square Garden could lead to several major logistical problems should de Blasio woo the convention to New York. There are few hotel rooms within walking distance of the arena – and you're dreaming if you think delegates from Indiana are going to try to navigate the complexities of the G train.

But these are swervable potholes that are part of most political conventions. Some Democratic guests at Charlotte's 2012 convention had to sleep in neighboring South Carolina while New York's GOP delegation for the Tampa convention overnighted in Clearwater.

There is also a lot of loose talk about Democrats wanting or needing to have their convention in a swing state – rather than in a sure blue thing like New York.

But a quick look at past elections shows that there's not much of a convention bounce in its host state. President Obama still lost North Carolina in 2012 despite holding the convention in Charlotte (and winning the state in 2008) while Mitt Romney lost Florida despite having his party in Tampa. In fact,the Republicans haven't managed to win any state they've held their convention in since 1992 – when George Bush won his nomination in Houston.

Talk is also cheap when it comes to thinking that the convention would somehow be a celebration of Mayor de Blasio's liberalism or his vision for the party's future. Can anyone remember the political talking points of the mayors of Tampa and Charlotte – or even their names?

The real question is whether the party's biggest donkey in the room, Hillary Clinton, wants to hold a coronation in her adopted home state in two years.

While John Kerry's Massachusetts party fell apart after the 2004 convention in Boston, it's clear that Hillary has fond memories of Madison Square Garden in 1992, which served as a launching pad for her husband's first presidential campaign.

So forget about hotel rooms, a mayor's political agenda, and electoral math. What Hillary wants, Hillary gets. It's likely time to introduce some Democratic delegates to kale.

Bob Hardt

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