RNC Comes to Pittsburgh?

RNC Comes to Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh is one of four final candidate cities to host the Republican National Convention in 2024. 

The news has stirred up quite a controversy among regional politicians. Ed Gainey, the newly instated mayor of Pittsburgh, is supportive of the possible arrival of the RNC. Others, however, disagree with the mayor’s openness towards the right, motioning to stop the RNC from coming to Pittsburgh. While the distraught response from Pittsburgh’s left leaning politicians is fully understandable, an appearance by the RNC would reinvigorate the region’s political landscape, bettering the lives of residents.

It is undoubtable how dominant the democratic party is in Pittsburgh. The city has not had a republican mayor since 1934. However, the very prominent presence of republican voters in and around the city cannot be understated. In the 2020 election, Allegheny County, the only county in Western Pennsylvania to go blue, went 60% to Biden and 40% to Trump. For a county that houses the second most populous city in the state, that is not a very convincing win for Biden. In fact, it is less convincing than Biden’s performances in Wake County, North Carolina (Raleigh), Leon County, Florida (Tallahassee), Travis County, Texas (Austin), along with many other cities in red states.

So what explains this overwhelming dominance if the populous is similarly split politically? Whether because of laziness or a preconceived notion that no right-leaning politician can win: local republicans simply do not try. In the last mayoral election, Tony Moreno ran as the republican candidate, however, he originally ran as a democrat, only switching after losing the democratic nomination. Western Pennsylvania is one of the swingiest parts of one of the most important swing states, and yet the Republican Committee of Allegheny County (RCAC) does not even submit their own candidate. This lack of even trying is absolutely pathetic, but worse for us, its effects permeate far beyond Pittsburgh’s republicans.

Because of the lackadaisical attitude from the right, Pittsburghers have had to endure years of mediocre democratic leaders. During his time in office, Bill Peduto was generally liked, however, failed to complete many of the promises he preached in his campaigns. He promised to transform transportation, bring people back to the city, and make the region greener. By the end of his time as mayor he built three expensive and unnecessary light rail stations, failed to increase the population, and got the city featured in a National Geographic documentary. In addition to the promises he did not keep, Peduto bungled his response to BLM protests and failed to address the increasingly problematic gentrification that is occurring across the city. All of these issues had to be endured by the people of Pittsburgh, all because the democratic party knew they did not have to deliver to win votes in the next election.

But if the RCAC was able to function as a competent organization, much of the meh we as citizens have come accustomed to would change. With genuine competition between the parties, our regional government would not only have to talk the talk, but actually walk the walk. Real, substantial change could occur, and a wider variety of voices would be accounted for. We might even see the population reverse its over 70 year downward descent, a long standing sign of the city’s  decline. All of this is possible if the Republicans could finally step up, if something could reignite the long lost flame of the region’s conservatives. And that spark, that tiny little shock of light to start it all, will be the RNC.

Bring the RNC to town, we need it.