The Democratic National Committee announced on Monday that its 2020 convention will be held in Milwaukee, a major city in the crucial swing state of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes were narrowly won by Donald Trump in 2016 and helped secure his victory in the Electoral College, handing him the presidency. But with Democrats now in control of the governorship, the GOP's prospects of carrying the state in 2020 are dwindling.
The Badger State's Republican Party issued a blistering attack on Milwaukee Monday afternoon.
Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin blasted the city for having "a long history of socialism."
Ironic, considering Milwaukee hosted the Wisconsin Republican convention ahead of the midterms in 2018.
“No city in America has stronger ties to socialism than Milwaukee,” Jefferson said in a statement. “And with the rise of Bernie Sanders and the embrace of socialism by its newest leaders, the American left has come full circle. It’s only fitting the Democrats would come to Milwaukee.”
Jefferson warned supporters about Milwaukee's "three socialist mayors," Hillary Clinton, and that the Green New Deal would somehow eliminate cows in Wisconsin.
"The people of Wisconsin are far more practical than today's socialist-embracing Democratic Party gives them credit for," Jefferson said. "We'll get to reap the economic benefits of a convention, while they show the state up-close why this bunch should never be trusted to run the country."
Mind you the GOP's track record since 1980.
Why the hostility, anyway?
While it is true that Milwaukee's past does include an embrace of socialism, the term meant something far different a century ago than what Republicans assign to it today.
"The socialists of that time had a surprising amount in common with today’s Republicans," The Washington Post explains. "They supported low taxes and opposed public debt. They believed in a 'pay-as-you-go' form of governance and they had an entrepreneurial streak. They built public parks, public schools and a public water system, the last innovation earning them the nickname 'Sewer Socialists.'"
Good luck getting Republicans on board with sweeping social programs.
“The socialists here were the ones carrying the flag of reform in reaction to the miscreants in office,” said John Gurda, a Milwaukee historian. “They had the same kind of energy as the capitalists."
In fact, the Post notes, Milwaukee's socialist mayors are ranked as the best in the city's history.
"Daniel Webster Hoan, elected in 1916, was the city’s second socialist mayor, presiding until 1940," Reis Thibault writes. "Historians, Gurda included, consider Hoan Milwaukee’s best leader. Time Magazine featured him on its cover and wrote that, during his administration, 'Milwaukee became one of the best-run cities in the U. S.'"
Gurda also emphasized the strategic importance of Wisconsin for Democrats in 2020.
“We’re a swing state,” Gurda said. “It makes perfect sense. Hillary Clinton was loudly and roundly criticized for not appearing here. In a small way, it’s amends.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez agrees.
“Where you hold a convention is a very strong statement of your values,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “A very strong statement of who we are as a party.”