August 29, 2018
Special Guest Perspective by Dan O’Donnell
Officials with the Democratic National Committee are in Milwaukee this week, scouting the city as one of three possible locations for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Really, though, they don’t even need to visit the other two finalists—Houston and Miami Beach—since there is no better place in America to highlight the impact of the Democratic Party’s platform than Milwaukee.
The only city in America to elect three socialist mayors, Milwaukee would represent a chance for Democrats to embrace what Chairman Tom Perez called “the future of the party” by highlighting its past.
And what a past it’s been! Milwaukee hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1908 and its Common Council has been dominated by liberals for nearly as long, meaning that Democrats can showcase a city that they have totally controlled for more than a century. Their policies and their policies alone are responsible for making Milwaukee the city that it is today…the tenth worst city in America in which to live.
Each year, the news and commentary website 24/7 Wall Street measures cities on a wide-ranging index of socioeconomic conditions, including crime rates, economics, education levels, environmental conditions, public health, housing, infrastructure, and recreation and leisure. This year, Milwaukee ranked tenth-worst.
“More than one in every four Milwaukee residents live in poverty, more than double the 11.8% state poverty rate,” researchers Samuel Stebbins and Evan Comen wrote. “Poor cities often have higher crime rates than more affluent cities, and Milwaukee is no exception. There were 1,546 violent crimes for every 100,000 Milwaukee residents, more than five times the statewide violent crime rate of 306 per 100,000.”
Yes, by holding their convention in Milwaukee, Democrats can show the nation how their crime prevention policies have led Milwaukee…to the 15th-highest homicide rate in the nation in 2016 (the most recent year for which complete data is available).
“Milwaukee remains one of the most dangerous places in the country,” Comen noted. “Overall there were 1,533 violent crimes — which also includes rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — per 100,000 residents in 2016, nearly four times the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 residents and the eighth most of any city.”
Holding the 2020 convention in Milwaukee would also allow the Democratic Party to make further inroads into its all-important African-American voter base. As University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers concluded in 2012, “no metro area has witnessed more precipitous erosion in the labor market for black males over the past 40 years than has Milwaukee.” Even more illuminating, after 108 years of Democratic rule Milwaukee is the single most segregated city in the country for renters and third most segregated overall.
Wait, how can this be? How can a place governed by Democratic policies not be the utopia that Democratic promises indicate that it should be? This disconnect is the very heart of why Milwaukee is so perfect a city to host the Democratic National Convention, as the city would stand as perhaps the most concrete example of liberal policy failures at a time when the 2020 presidential nominee would be making even more utopian promises.
As the Democratic nominee would invariably promise to incarcerate fewer criminals, overhaul America’s education system, and end the nation’s “school-to-prison pipeline,” voters would see a century of Democratic leadership resulting in Milwaukee’s sky-high violent crime rate and a public school system so dysfunctional that it boasts just a 59.7% graduation rate and includes “one of the lowest performing comprehensive public high schools in America.”
As the Democratic nominee would invariably promise to better America’s economy by “spreading the wealth around” and “making things fairer,” voters would see a century of Democratic leadership resulting in Milwaukee’s 28.4% poverty rate more than doubling the national rate of 12.7% and Milwaukee’s median household income of $36,801 totaling at just a little more than half of the national median household income $59,039.
As the Democratic nominee would invariably promise to improve race relations and make America a better, more tolerant place, voters would see a century of Democratic leadership resulting in a place that is, “by many measures,” the “toughest U.S. city for blacks.”
Why is Milwaukee so perfect for the Democratic National Convention? Because Milwaukee is the inevitable result of Democratic leadership; Milwaukee is what happens when Democrats govern with unchecked and unbroken control for more than a century.
And it’s about time the rest of the country saw it.