2016 Democratic National Convention


Delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention will gather the week of July 25, 2016, to nominate a presidential candidate for that years's election. The Democrat most likely to seek the nomination is former U.S. Sen. and onetime Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Related Story: 2016 Republican National Convention Will Be Held in Cleveland

The 2016 presidential election is being held on Nov. 8. Here are a few things you need to know about the 2016 Democratic National Convention, including where it's being held and how much it will cost taxpayers.
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It's Being Held in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Skyline
A view of the skyline of Philadelphia, Pa., circa 1985. Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

That's right: The City of Brotherly Love, home to the Rocky statue and the gut busting cheesesteak, will play host to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

In fact, the Democratic National Committee announced it had chosen Philadelphia by posting a short video on Facebook that showed Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz grabbing a cheesesteak from a refrigerator and plastering a sign reading "Philadelphia" on the front of it.

Chris Matthews, a Philadelphia native who hosts Hardball on MSNBC, was along with Rendell among the most outspoken national figures trying to bring the convention to the southeastern Pennsylvania city.

"By gathering in iconic Philadelphia, Democrats could lay claim to not just the flag but what it stands for. A week there, sparkling with American values, could produce the kind of inspiring national convention we’ve missed in recent years," Matthews wrote in The Washington Post in weeks leading up to the announcement.

The last time Philadelphia hosted a presidential nominating convention was in 2000, when Republicans gathered to choose former Texas Gov. George W. Bush.  

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It Will Cost the Democrats About $84 Million

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has estimated the 2016 Democratic National Convention will cost about $84 million. Chip Somodevilla Collection: Getty Images News

Throwing what amounts to a giant weeklong party for political insiders and fundraisers isn't cheap. Its costs tens of millions of dollars. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who served as mayor of Philadelphia, estimated the 2016 Democratic National Convention would run about $84 million.

The responsibility of raising that money falls on a host committee, which will tap corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to cover the cost of the convention. "We're confident that we can raise that," Rendell told members of the media in February 2015, when Philadelphia was announced as the host city.

That $84 million figure excludes, however, the cost to host cities of providing security for the convention. Taxpayers are on the hook for those costs. 

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It Will Also Cost Taxpayers Millions of Dollars

2008 Democratic National Convention Picture
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, wife Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and Joe Biden walk off stage after Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at Invesco Field at Mile High at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Getty Images News

So we know how much the convention itself will cost. But what about the extraneous costs for security, traffic control and infrastructure improvements leading up to the event?

It's likely to cost taxpayers upwards of $70 million.

Taxpayers directly contributed $18,248,300 million to the Republican and Democratic national committees, or a total of $36.5 million, to hold their presidential nominating conventions in Election 2012. They gave similar amounts to the parties in 2008.

Related Story: Who Pays for Political Conventions?

In addition, Congress set aside $50 million for security at each of the party conventions in 2012, for a total of $100 million. The total cost to taxpayers of the two national party conventions in 2012 exceeded $136 million.

Party officials like to deflect criticism of those costs, however, by pointing to the economic impact on cities that host national conventions. In recent years they have said host cities have seen as much as $200 million injected into them because of the conventions.

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Very Little Politicking and Very Much Partying Will Occur

1948 Republican National Convention
Members of the Michigan delegation at the 1948 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., jump to their feet and cheer as Thomas Dewey's landslide victory as Republican nominee for president is announced. Al Gretz / Keystone / Getty Images

Let's face it: Modern political conventions hold little to no news value. Yes, the party will nominate its presidential candidate, but given the way primaries work nowadays the selection is always a foregone conclusion by the time the convention rolls around.

The likelihood of either major party allowing a brokered convention in the era of television and the Internet is zero. No presidential nomination has gone beyond the first round of balloting since 1952. Since then presumed presidential nominees secure enough delegates for the nomination months before the party conventions.


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The Media Will Trot Out the Typical Stereotypes About Philadelphia

Actor Sylvester Stallone played boxer Rocky Balboa. Frederick M. Brown Collection: Getty Images Entertainment

Actually, that started the day Philadelphia was announced as the host city. Writing for BillyPenn.com, a new site for millennials, Anna Orso snarked

"Philadelphians eat cheesesteaks for every meal, play the “Rocky” theme song on repeat and live inside the Liberty Bell. I mean, basically, right? The 2016 Democratic National Convention is coming to Philadelphia in 2016 (!) and that means Philly is ALL OVER the national news. Clichés! Yay!"

Even one of its members of congress, speaking of the reasons Philly was the right choice, spoke of cheesesteaks wit wiz, Rocky, Love Park, the Schuylkill River, soft pretzels, Boat House Row and water ice.


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Murse, Tom. "2016 Democratic National Convention." ThoughtCo, Feb. 18, 2015, thoughtco.com/2016-democratic-national-convention-3367647. Murse, Tom. (2015, February 18). 2016 Democratic National Convention. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/2016-democratic-national-convention-3367647 Murse, Tom. "2016 Democratic National Convention." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/2016-democratic-national-convention-3367647 (accessed December 12, 2017).