The Weddington Witness

Will the RNC be Good for Charlotte?

Delegates+at+the+2016+Republican+National+Convention+in+Cleveland%2C+Ohio.+Photo+created+and+provided+by+Voice+of+America.
Delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo created and provided by Voice of America.

Delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo created and provided by Voice of America.

Delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo created and provided by Voice of America.

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This summer, the Republican National Committee selected Charlotte, NC to host the 2020 Republican National Convention. Among the 6 other potential choices was Las Vegas, NV. Interestingly, the counties that contain both Vegas and Charlotte both voted Democrat in the 2016 election. Most cities bid for the convention anonymously. Upon winning their bid, Charlotte nearly rejected the decision in a 6-5 city council vote following a three hour debate. The sources of that debate could be more complex than some of us may assume.

The vote may have been tight due to concerns that the convention may be met with controversy and protest from Charlotte’s own citizens. As a state that frequently swings between the two major parties, North Carolina is a good thermometer for the nation’s positions on the political spectrum. Perhaps it was a wise move for the GOP to aim for a location that isn’t in it’s own backyard. For the same reason that candidates campaign in states they hope to win over instead of states they’ve already bagged. In order to launch a successful campaign against a democrat in 2020, Donald Trump will likely attempt grow his base in number rather than appeal to those whose vote he already has. While the convention will undoubtedly be met with opposition, especially in such a divided region, the convention may bring out undecided voters in the area who would otherwise feel alienated by both parties.

As good as it would be to believe the Convention and the city set to host strike up a deal to benefit the people, this is not the case. Cities like Atlanta host film crews for productions like AMC’s The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War in hopes that those productions will attract customers for local business. Worldwide events like the Olympics and the FIFA world cup attract cities all around the globe. These cities bid millions of dollars in campaigns even though the odds of winning are slim. All the attention that comes with these major events and all the crowds that flock in for them bring in a great deal of money. While it may not seem as exciting as a worldwide sporting event, the Republican National Convention will probably bring in political enthusiasts from coast to coast, just as it’s Democratic counterpart will. Not only do these people want to see President Trump speak, and accept his party’s nomination, but they will also expect to purchase hotel rooms, food, gasoline, and souvenirs. This influx of commerce is, in theory, good news for local business.

In order to correctly evaluate the effects of such an event, we only need to look back two years, to when Cleveland hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention. The 2016 RNC drew in a crowd of about 50,000 visitors, compared to Cleveland’s population of just under 400,000. Over 10,000 people protested the event. What does this tell us? For the duration of the event Charlotte will be a very different place. For a sitting president, the RNC is largely a symbolic event, but crowds will undoubtedly flock in all the same, either for support or to protest. Charlotte’s population is about twice the size of Cleveland, but our residents will definitely see the effects. We will be first hand witnesses of heated political debate, and we may just reap the benefits heightened commerce will bring.

Now for the real question: Is it worth it? Will the good outweigh the bad? It is apparent that Charlotte paid quite a bit for the RNC, and we can only hope that the investment will pay off. Only time will tell if we made the right choice. On the other hand, isn’t discourse democracy’s purest form? Isn’t it a privilege to be able to access such an event first hand? North Carolina is a very diverse area in every regard, so isn’t the chance to have our voices heard a good thing, regardless of whether or not we are happy with the ideas the convention will present? Now is not the time to hide or turn away from ideas we oppose, now is the time to speak up.

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