Published: February 26, 2014
What could be more fun than a Democratic National Convention in Denver? Simple. A Republican National Convention in Denver.
The Republican Party hasn't done much right in the past five years, so it shouldn't miss out on an easy win. Perhaps no decision should be easier than designating Denver the location of the party's 2016 convention.
We can scour history and not find a party convention more elaborate and successful than what Democrats wisely brought to Denver in 2008. Denver International Airport, the fifth-busiest airport in the United States and 10th-busiest in the world, eased access for people from around the world. A new light-rail system, combined with an abundant cab fleet and one of the country's more thorough and integrated mass transit systems, made it convenient for visitors to get around. The 16th Street Mall created a festive sense of community for media, delegates, politicians, politicos and the general public. Nothing of significance went wrong, even with high-profile threats of violent riots that would "recreate '68." Even Republicans had a ball.
By 2016, as pointed out by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, it only gets better. Light rail will run to and from DIA. Downtown will offer even more culture, nightlife and fine dining. Denver even has three new art museums that weren't around in 2008. The city has added 4,000 hotel rooms since the Democratic convention.
If the GOP wants to maximize media coverage, Denver is the place. Media types love coming to the Mile High City because of its sophistication, pleasant climate and breathtaking views.
If GOP organizers want to avoid the likelihood of dreary, damp, humid or miserably hot days, they should choose Denver. With more than 300 days of sunshine - more than San Diego - rain is unlikely. Temperatures during the convention are unlikely to climb higher than the 80s, and humidity will be low.
Other cities vying for the convention include Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio.
Republican leaders should immediately check Las Vegas off the list. It's a recipe for disaster, for obvious reasons. Journalists, generally not known for a friendly view of the GOP, will look for delegates and high-profile Republicans doing in Vegas that which should stay in Vegas. Once a distraction is found - once someone gets drunk and stupid in a casino - focus will be lost and Republicans will be on the defensive.
Phoenix is a beautiful city but lacks Denver's extraordinary summer climate and integrated public transit. Temperatures, which can rise into the 100s in June and July, could be dangerous. If the RNC convention were in winter, Phoenix would be great. But it's not.
Kansas City, Dallas and Columbus are all fine cities. But they're not Denver. They lack Denver's natural beauty, pleasant climate and the ultra-cosmopolitan feel that resulted from more than 1,000 people moving to Denver each week throughout the 1990s. Denver consistently ranks as the healthiest city in the United States and among the three best educated. One-third of the population is Hispanic, a Demographic Republicans must reach if they are to win another national election.
To slightly mangle Dave Loggins and Kenny Chesney, please come to Denver in the springtime. It's young, hip, sophisticated and offers the most pleasant climate at the time of the convention. Denver will provide the winning backdrop, as it did for Democrats in 2008.