In August, Tampa, Fla., will become a Bermuda Triangle of conservatism.
The city will host three events in the span of a week, all centered around the Republican National Convention, which will nominate Mitt Romney as the GOP's presidential candidate. There'll be a little something for every kind of Republican.
For the establishment types, the GOP convention will be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Aug. 27-30. Conventions bring tens of thousands of visitors to a city, and the 2012 RNC will flood Tampa's streets, hotels, and restaurants with politicians, party officials, consultants, strategists, reporters, and elected Republican delegates. If you're a Romney supporter or a David-Brooksian centrist, this is the place for you.
But if you're a hard-charging social populist deflated by the coronation of a formerly pro-choice Massachusetts governor, don't worry. While that's going on, Sarah Palin is expected to have her own presence down the street, at the Channelside Bay Mall half a mile away. It's unclear what, exactly, Palin is planning, but her political group, Sarah PAC, paid the mall a $4,500 "Deposit for Space" in March, according to the group's latest Federal Election Commission disclosure, suggesting Palin will set up shop there during or before the convention.
If you like personal liberty and want to end the Fed, you'll want to get to Tampa a few days early: Ron Paul supporters are organizing a three-day festival that will end the day before the RNC begins. Paul Festival promises "Music … Entertainment … Activism" at the Florida State Fairgrounds eight miles across town. Paul himself currently has no plans to attend, a campaign spokesman told ABC News on Tuesday.
As parties go, they're certain to offer their unique ambiances, from swanky, lobbyist-filled cocktail hours to live music and piercings. What better way to ring in the general election?