US Democrats choose Milwaukee for 2020 election convention
Democrats have chosen Milwaukee as the site of their 2020 election convention, in an effort to win back swing voters in the American "Rust Belt" who helped elect Donald Trump.
In announcing the decision Monday, the Democratic Party emphasized it is the first time a Midwestern city other than Chicago has been chosen to host a party convention in more than 100 years.
Midwestern states -- where steel, automobile and other manufacturing industries have withered in recent decades -- were crucial to Trump's unexpected victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Many blue collar voters in struggling "Rust Belt" towns switched allegiance to vote for Trump, counting on his promises to revitalize American manufacturing.
He won the upper Midwestern state of Wisconsin, a crucial battleground home to Milwaukee, by a mere 23,000 votes out of nearly three million cast.
"Where you hold a convention is a very strong statement of your values," Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told a news conference.
"It's a very strong statement of who we are as a party, and who and what we're fighting for," he said, emphasizing the unionized working-class roots of the city.
Democrats had been considering three candidates for their convention, which will be held July 13 to 16 -- Milwaukee, Houston and Miami.
"Milwaukee is a smart choice for (Democrats)," David Axelrod, the chief campaign strategist for former President Barack Obama, said on Twitter.
"(Trump) must have the upper Midwest again to be re-elected. If (Democrats) block him there, he's done."
Weeklong conventions by both Democrats and Republicans are held at the height of the election campaign, after primary contests in each state vote on the parties' nominees.
Although the candidates are virtually certain to be known by then, the televised nominating conventions are considered crucial for introducing candidates to general election voters.
Republicans last year announced their convention would take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The southern city hosted the Democrats' convention in 2012, when Obama kicked off his successful re-election bid.
Trump carried North Carolina by 2.6 percentage points in 2016, although the predominantly Democratic city of Charlotte supported his rival Hillary Clinton that year.