08 july 2014
Cleveland’s last shining moment of greatness — a pro sports championship, no less — is half a century old and peeling like an old bleacher seat.
But a new glimmer of hope — or two — may be dribbling into town.
With the Republicans agreeing Tuesday to hold their convention in Cleveland in 2016 — and with superstar LeBron James at least talking to his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers — the Twitterverse and the social mediasphere are abuzz with all things Cleveland. It’s almost as if the city that arguably gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll — and where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame proudly sits — is totally rocking and rolling in a rare moment of national glory.
Cleveland’s got a sports empire primed for a rebound. It’s got an economy arguably on the mend. And now, It’s got the kahuna of conventions coming to town.
Never mind that the city of Cleveland — and most of northern Ohio — is as passionately Democratic as southern Ohio is Republican. All that matters to the Republicans is that Cleveland is in Ohio. And no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning in Ohio. So by pitching their 2016 convention tent in Ohio, Republicans just might be trying to tip the state in their direction.
That won’t be simple. Just ask the folks in Tampa, where the Republican Convention set up shop in 2012. A lot of good that did. Obama even took Florida in his 2012 re-election — though it took four days after the election to figure that out. So now, the Republicans head to Cleveland with high hopes. But the city’s got a Rust Belt reputation that it can’t quite live down — much as it tries to.
Never mind that the very spot where the last moment of greatness took place — Cleveland Municipal Stadium — isn’t there anymore. It was demolished in 1996 to make way for a new stadium. But on Dec. 27, 1964, the Cleveland Browns brought an utterly unexpected NFL football championship to the city by pulverizing the Baltimore Colts and its legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas, 27-0.