The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced on March 11 that its 2020 convention will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 13 through 16.
The pick is an attempt to reach out to middle America, which mostly voted for Trump in 2016, including previous Democrat strongholds of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“This is the first time the Democratic party has held a national convention in the Midwest, outside of Chicago, since 1916,” wrote DNC chair Tom Perez in a March 11 email to DNC members, quoted by Politico. “This choice emphasizes the importance of the heartland and the strength of a diverse community working together.”
The convention, where the Democrats’ 2020 presidential candidate is to be announced, would make use of the Fiserv Forum, a new 714,000 square foot arena built with $250 million from the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team.
The DNC stated on Twitter that the city of 600,000 “is more than equipped to be a great host for this event.”
Democrats are anticipating a sprawling presidential field with twelve people already in the race and several more expected to jump in.
In the last addition to the lineup, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced March 4 that he is entering the race. Hickenlooper joins a crowd of contenders who enjoy more name recognition, such as self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Several other prominent Democratic candidates are backing Sanders’s socialist policies such as the “Green New Deal” and “Medicare for All.”
Other candidates who have not yet jumped in the race, but are reportedly considering a run, include former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
The DNC decided to split its first primary debate over two weeknights this summer and has capped each debate night at 20 candidates.
On March 6, the DNC made waves by announcing that Fox News will be barred from hosting any of the debates, citing a recent New Yorker report saying the Trump administration gave the network more access than others. Fox has been known as right-leaning and its founder is a long-time acquaintance of President Donald Trump.
Trump responded in a March 6 tweet: “Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!”
Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2019
The DNC has loosened the criteria for qualifying for the debate stage. To be included in the first two debates, a candidate must either reach 1 percent in three public opinion polls or raise money from at least 65,000 individual donors, with at least 200 of those donors originating from 20 different states.
If more than 20 qualify for the debates, candidates who meet both the opinion poll and fundraising criteria will be given preference.
The lineup for each evening will be chosen at random, the DNC said.
The first debate will be broadcast by NBC, MSNBC, and Spanish-language channel Telemundo. The second debate will be shown on CNN.
Reuters contributed to this report.