Any day now, the Democratic National Committee is going to announce where it will hold its 2016 convention, and you’ve probably heard that Philly is on the shortlist. There will be winners and losers in Philly whether or not the massive convention comes to town on July 25, 2016 — and that date means it’ll be hot.
While the DNC picking our city would be a massive economic driver, anyone trying to get anywhere or do anything will probably be met with long lines filled with thousands of sweaty Democrats. It’s basically going to suck for locals. Brace yourselves.
The winners and losers:
The local economy: The 2008 Democratic National Convention was held in Denver and generated $266 million in regional economic benefit to the city and county of Denver. Restaurants and hotels broke all-time records, and local small businesses reported lines out every door for days. The Convention brought about 50,000 people to Denver, including 6,000 delegates, 18,000 national and international media, and 26,000 dignitaries, delegate family members, and other guests.
Every hotel and restaurant in Philly: When the DNC was in Denver, it contracted with nearly 100 hotels in the area which provided more than 8,000 hotel rooms. Philadelphia has about 11,000 hotel rooms — obviously not enough to house 50,000 visitors. Hotel room prices will likely surge, and restaurants downtown will also be like CHA-CHING.
Anyone using AirBnb: Eight years ago, before AirBnb was even cool, someone in Denver rented out their apartment for $1,000 a night. Godspeed.
The city: Charlotte, N.C., which hosted the convention in 2012, brought in $4.5 million in local tax revenue alone because of the DNC. Philly could definitely use that influx of cash.
SEPTA: The transpo authority is undoubtedly going to be a major winner. By 2016, the SEPTA Key electronic payment system will be here, making it easier for the thousands of convention attendees to get around. Safe to say the BSL from Center City to the Wells Fargo Center is going to be, uh, fun.
Center City parking garages: All of the people in all of their nice cars are *not* going to park on the street with us plebeians. Parking garage owners in Center City are going to be happy people.
Joe Sestak: This Democrat barely lost to Republican Senator Pat Toomey in 2010, and political analysts say Toomey is in danger of losing his seat in 2016. Sestak is rumored to be making another run for the state’s second Senate seat, and if the DNC comes to Philly, it’ll give the Democrat an important platform on which to garner support from a high-profile presidential candidate (cough, Hilary.)
Ed Rendell: Rendell has helped raise $5 million so far (with another $5M to come) to dump into Philadelphia’s bid to bring the DNC here and has been one of the city’s major champions of the push since the city announced it’d be bidding. Oh, and he’s also a former DNC chairman.
Michael Nutter: Nutter will be out of office by the time that the DNC comes to town, but if it chooses to come here, it’ll do wonders for the outgoing mayor’s legacy. It would mean that while Nutter was in office, he was able to secure major events like the Pope coming to Philly, the Forbes 30 Under 30 event (twice) and the DNC which would be the convention of all conventions.
Big Labor: There were a couple concerns made by unions that DNC would interfere with other conferences, but Big Labor is wayyyy in favor of bringing the DNC to Philly — it’d give them an opportunity to show their engaged presence in the city.
Bob Brady: Philadelphia Congressman Bob Brady is basically in charge of the committee that’s tryna make this happen. One of his main focuses now is trying to make sure that mayoral candidates are all-in in terms of working to fundraise if the DNC picks Philly. So far, he says he’s been able to do that.
The Wells Fargo Center: Where else are we going to put 50,000 people? Members of the DNC visited the site while they were checkin’ out Philly.
United States history: How cool would it be if delegates for the DNC stood in the very place in Independence Hall where delegates signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Chris Matthews (a Philadelphian) talked on his show about how significant it would be to forego Columbus and New York:
Columbus and Brooklyn: LOL BYE swing state and Brooklyn.
Locals: Unless you’re a business owner or someone who stands to make money off of all these politicos invading our personal space, you’re going to lose here. For several days at the end of July, every restaurant, bar, beer garden, Wawa, coffee shop and transportation system is going to packed full of thousands of liberals and a bunch of journalists.
SEPTA bus drivers: Hopefully dealing with 50,000 guests in July of 2016 would be easy considering two million people are expected this fall for the Pope’s visit. But all the additional traffic in the area is pretty much going to blow. SEPTA, we’ll pray 4 u.
Trendy restaurants and tourist traps: The influx of liberals in the city will be good for the people trying to make the money, but if you want to make it to Spruce Street Harbor Park or pretty much anywhere in Old City while the convention’s here? Forgeddaboutit.
Anyone trying to get a cab from Center City to South Philly: HAHAHAHA GOOD LUCK
Anyone trying to get an Uber or a Lyft: Can you say surge pricing? Uber has been known to increase its prices eight- and nine-fold during major events. Lyft has made similar moves during what it calls “Prime Time,” and could charge between 25 and 200 percent more than its typical baseline price.
Pat Toomey: The Republican Senator is going to be sweating bullets if the DNC comes to Philly. Whoever is running against him (prob Joe Sestak) is going to get a nice push from some high-profile Dems just before the November election.
Republicans in Philadelphia: I mean, duh.
Big Labor: Yes, I know they were also a winner. They want to work with the Democratic party, which as traditionally been tied to unions, but any interunion disputes or labor conflicts during the convention could spell trouble and protests.