Before the Democratic National Convention even gavels into order this week, it’s plagued by a serious miscalculation in choosing its host city. Charlotte, North Carolina may have seemed like a good choice at the time but this week it presents some rather troubling visuals in a city and state that are emblematic of the economic troubles upon which Republicans are seizing in making their case to replace President Obama.
By choosing Charlotte, Democratic officials clearly were hoping to recapture the party’s important victory in North Carolina in 2008. Prior to the Obama win, a Democrat had not won the state since 1976 and Jimmy Carter. But 2008 was 2008. Democrats, struggling to maintain control of the Senate as well as the presidency, face an entirely new set of circumstances.
When checking out some preconvention coverage on the network news last night, The Shad was struck by the constant presence of the Bank of America logo. Of course that makes sense. BOA’s world headquarters are in Charlotte and the president is scheduled to give his acceptance speech in Bank of America Stadium. What a great way to say you’re fighting for the middle class by keeping Wall Street greed in check. Exactly how is someone like Massachusetts US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren supposed to impart her message of “standing up to Wall Street” is such a setting? BOA was also a recipient of a government bailout.
There are other problems as well. The unemployment rate in North Carolina is around 10 percent, even worse than the atrocious national average. And on this Labor Day it’s important to note that Charlotte’s restaurant and hotel workers are not unionized. In fact, the state has the lowest proportion of union labor in the country. Ouch.
President Obama is already facing the task of countering the small bump the Republicans got from their convention. The stats and visuals of Charlotte, North Carolina won’t help.