Democratic National Convention not held in Atlanta, missed opportunity


Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 2024 DNC was chosen to be in Chicago after beating Atlanta for the pick. Not holding the convention in Atlanta was a missed opportunity and could have helped Georgia move further as a blue state.

Katie Sigal

The Democratic National Committee announced that the Democratic National Convention would be hosted in Chicago next year, beating out cities including Houston, New York and Atlanta for the spot. While Chicago is a fine place for the convention to be held, holding it in Atlanta would have been a powerful statement for the Democrats due to the importance Georgia has held in the last few elections and the diverse culture surrounding the city.

A letter was sent to President Biden and the Democratic National Committee before the decision was made urging them to choose Atlanta to host the convention by southern Democrats. The letter explains that Biden owed his presidency and a Democratic Senate majority to the state of Georgia. More than 65 current and former Democratic leaders signed the letter in support of Atlanta hosting the convention, including both Georgia Democratic Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The letter advocates for Atlanta as it “stands as a beacon of LGBTQIA+ rights in the Deep South” and “served as the cradle of America’s civil rights movement.” The letter, although unsuccessful, shows the advocacy and support Atlanta had in the bid.

In the 2020 presidential election, Georgia was a key player in getting President Joe Biden elected. Georgia was the only blue state in the Deep South, marking a turning point for southern Democrats who hadn’t seen Georgia as a blue state in 28 years, when then Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter ran for President. This switch can be attributed to the explosive growth of Metro Atlanta as well as the suburbs that have swung the state blue.

Though Georgia voted as a blue state in the 2020 presidential election, it was only by a slim number, 11,779 votes to be exact. The state is split down the middle with Democratic voters being the narrow majority in the 2020 election. While the state voted blue then, state-level politics are still Republican-favored. Republican Governor Brian Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in the recent 2022 gubernatorial race. Additionally, in that same election year, Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock only beat Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff race by a slim 2.74%.

These conditions prove that having the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta could’ve helped solidify Georgia as a blue state in the 2024 election and those to come. The campaigning and mere attention alone that Atlanta and Georgia as a state could have received might have been vital in ensuring a Democratic majority, by convincing moderate voters to vote blue. The convention could have also encouraged young people to register to vote as that is something Democrats are passionate about and would touch on in the convention.

The main reason Chicago was chosen over Atlanta is due to the fact that Atlanta does not have enough labor-unionized hotels. While it is slightly hypocritical for the Democratic National Convention to be hosted at not unionized hotels, the Democratic National Committee could have used this opportunity to advocate for labor unions in a place that doesn’t have many strong ones. If we want to work for change, we have to start where we want change to be.

Additionally, Atlanta is more diverse than Chicago. Atlanta’s black population is over 50% while Chicago’s just barely hits 30%. Having the convention in Atlanta would have reached more people of color, which is something the Democratic National Committee pushes for constantly, a more diverse government.

While Chicago was the pick for the 2024 Democratic National Convention, lawmakers are confident that Georgia will remain a blue stronghold in the south.