The Washington Post is reporting that Sheldon Adelson is trying to bring the RNC convention to Vegas in 2016 (his home), while the Koch Brothers want it in Kansas City, only 200 miles from their base in Wichita. The article is here, and you'll find joy in the comments section.
Vegas is a great convention town (for anyone) because there are so many close hotel rooms. For a lot of other places, delegates have to stay far away, sometimes in the next state over, as happened with Charlotte last year. There's also enough arena space. In Kansas City, they've got the arena space but miss the hotel rooms. But the, um "aura" might be better.
In the interest of full disclosure, I've spent time in both cities. From the perspective of a convention-goer, Vegas wins hands down. Tons to do, easy to get around, lots of food, and flat. (Trust me, that last part matters because going to a convention means a lot of walking.) However, there are some peccadilloes peculiar to Vegas that make it an especially fun place to have a Republican convention. Fun for the Democrats, that is.
First, while there are no legal hookers in Vegas, there are lots of places for the GOP family values folks to enjoy. And this matters to them. Back in 2010, Oreo wrote about how (supposedly) one of the reasons Tampa was picked for 2012 was because it's the lap dance capital of the world. Vegas is home to hot and cold running boys and girls and we know how well that plays with the family values set.
Second, Vegas is a union town. A UNION TOWN. Oh joy!
Third, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that there's gambling goin' on in them thar casinos (and airports, grocery stores, drug stores and virtually everywhere). Another win for family values.
Fourth, Vegas is less than half white, and a young city, with a median age of 35. Republican registration is 33%, compared to 45% Democratic.
I want you to think of the photo op possibilities. The Republicans generally dress better then we do (I'm talking not of the candidates and professionals, but of the attendees). So, likely there won't be a lot of Hawaiian shirts, shorts, white legs, white socks and sandals, but we can always hope. Still: airport mens rooms (maybe Larry Craig will put in an appearance), pastors with their "flocks" of young men, lots of GOPers with free drinks in smoky casinos, and then off to the floor shows.
Finally, it's possible that Sheldon won't even be a free man by then, given his legal troubles both domestically and in Macao. If the convention went to Vegas and he had to watch it on TV from jail, it would be so very sweet.
OK, that was fun. Let's look at Kansas City. It, too, is flat. Which will be nice for all the buses and jitneys that will need to ferry people to KC from Lawrence, Topeka, and other surrounding towns up to an hour away. As an aside, Leavenworth is not that far, and it's nice that so many GOPers would be close to where they belong, but I digress. Seriously, there's a real hotel problem, and while there are nice shops and restaurants in downtown KC, there aren't the number of them necessary to serve the 40,000 people that will show up. If you recall, there were food problems in Tampa last year. Because Tampa, like Kansas City, has a limited area around the convention, lots of restaurants lost money as people stayed away to avoid the security. Places like Charlotte, Vegas, Boston, Philadelphia....lots of other cities...have far more geographically expansive areas so there are places to eat outside of the immediate convention area. You might not think it a problem, but within the convention area closed behind the gates, a lot of restaurants are rented by organizations and therefore it's not always that easy to find meals if you're not a guest of the specific events.
No matter who wins in the end, it's going to cost Sheldon, David and Charles a lot of money to duke this out. Under the heading of "if they only used their power for good instead of evil" it's sad that they'll spend tens of millions on the convention when it would be so much nicer if that level of private giving went to something important, like food stamps and health care for the poor. Sorry, couldn't help myself.
I've never been to a Republican convention, but I've seen the pictures: lots of white old guys. One needs tickets and passes. Compare that to the Democratic Convention, where all are welcome to come and hang out (yes, tickets still required in the arena, but we give out a lot more of them). In 2016, we will go to our convention happy and celebrating and united. We will cheer and dance in the streets. From that perspective, it doesn't matter where our convention is because the location will be secondary to the celebration. The Republican factions will arrive to their convention bloodied by the internecine war now raging within their ranks. They'll need good optics, and that's never been their strong suit.
So let's watch Sheldon, David and Charles fight it out. Like the Survivor-like debates, it's always fun to watch.