Bill de Blasio: It Doesn’t Matter That New York’s Not a Swing State

A scene from the DNC committee arriving in New York City. (Photo: NYC Mayor's Office)

A scene from the DNC committee arriving in New York City. (Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office)

Don’t tell Mayor Bill de Blasio that only swing states should have political conventions.

Mr. de Blasio, like Senator Charles Schumer, rejected the notion that Brooklyn shouldn’t play host to the Democratic National Convention in 2016 because New York State, very likely to vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic presidential contender, is less pivotal for the national party than places like Pennsylvania, which is also vying for the convention, or Ohio, where the 2016 Republican convention will be held.

“The message in the hall is what matters. Everything else is being created to facilitate what happens in the hall,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters this morning outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Mr. de Blasio said he didn’t believe a convention in a toss-up region could actually swing votes–Charlotte, North Carolina hosted the 2012 Democratic convention and Republican Mitt Romney narrowly won the state–and compared the line of logic to the conventional wisdom that a vice presidential contender should hail from a certain region of the country to balance the ticket.

“Our politics and our discourse has changed over the years. Not long ago in America, there was this ironclad assumption that the vice presidential candidate had to come from a certain region or that the state they came from they would carry out of local pride and that was really a deep, deep assumption for many decades in American politics. That assumption was dispelled in recent decades,” Mr. de Blasio said.

“I think there’s been an assumption at times that a convention in a swing state has a particular lift–I don’t think that’s been proven in fact,” he added.

Mr. de Blasio is pitching Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as DNC delegates visit the city this week to decide whether it should house the convention. A decision–delegates will pick among Philadelphia, Phoenix, Columbus, Ohio and Birmingham, Alabama–is expected to come at the end of this year or early next year.

Mr. de Blasio argued that the convention is a business for the party and the city–and a Brooklyn convention will be good for both.

“It has to be cost efficient, it cannot leave the party in debt–it has to be a good business, if you will, equation for the Democratic Party because the real business happens after,” the mayor said. “The convention is a foundation for the months immediately following.”