Well Trump may steal the headlines on Thursday, but the GOP is hoping for something more strategic:
But Republican leaders are delighted by one aspect of the debate: the attention it will shower on Ohio, a state they hope to bring back into the Republican fold in the 2016 election. The ultimate bellwether state in presidential politics, Ohio is the site of next Thursday’s debate because, just under a year from now, it will host the 2016 convention in the same Cleveland sports arena.
“We will have thousands of Ohio Republican volunteers and activists converging on Cleveland next summer,” said Mark R. Weaver, a Republican strategist in the state. “They will be re-energized, signed up and ready to rock.”
Despite the intense television exposure of a national convention, the hoopla-driven events have proved to be poor predictors of a party’s success in a state. Both Democrats and Republicans lost the battleground states where they picked their nominees three years ago.
By some accounts, a home-state convention is a double-edged sword, which may explain why Republicans have not won the state where they chose their nominee since 1992.
Well, that could have something to do with holding conventions in the blue states of CA, PA, NY and MN from 1996-2008. Only the 2012 convention in Tampa was in a truly purple state.
On the other hand, most would agree that the Dem convention in Denver in 2008 helped Obama win the state. He probably would have won it anyway, but the convention didn’t hurt.
In any case, holding one debate 15 months before the general election is not going to make a difference. The convention next summer? We shall see.