While political conventions are supposed to be a high point of democracy, they are also the high point for the local sex trade. This year’s RNC will be no exception. The local strip clubs and other purveyors of flesh are gearing up in anticipation of their own stimulus package, courtesy of the Republicans. While such behavior is not consistent with the family values platform preached by most Republicans, it is exactly the sort of behavior we have come to expect from the right and the left. After all, looking for some action while at a convention is a bi-partisan sort of thing.
One interesting study was conducted by Baylor University to determine the impact of the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions on prostitution. The researchers used the “Erotic Services” ads in Craigslist (which is no more) as well as Eros.com. What was hardly surprising is that the Republican convention was linked to a 29-44% increase in such ads while the Democrats were linked with a 47-77% increase. Lest one think that the Democrats are more inclined to visit prostitutes than Republicans, the numerical increase in ads was about the same. The difference in percentages was due to the fact that Denver (where the DNC was held) had fewer such ads before the convention than did Minnesota. As such, there seems to be a bipartisan balance when it comes to prostitutes.
One obvious weak point of the study is that it was based on data culled from ads. The increase in ads does indicate that sex workers expected an increase in business, but it does not directly indicate that prostitution actually increased. However, the increase in ads certainly does serve as reasonable indirect evidence for an increase in prostitution connected to the conventions. In any case, the idea that men going to political conventions sometimes seek out prostitutes certainly seems to be intuitively plausible.
It is, of course, a black mark on our society that we have prostitution and even worse that our political conventions are considered bonanzas by sex workers (or, more accurately, the people who “manage” them). The fact that the sex trade is so frequented by political folk might explain why so littler is ever really done about it.
What is, however, interesting is that both parties seem to be equally prone to engaging in what can be regarded as morally dubious behavior. While both parties do some preaching of virtue, the Republicans make a point of claiming to be the family values folks and talking about religion. However, the reality seems to be that while the Democrats and Republicans are different above the waist (in what they say), they are basically the same below the waist. Of course, this should surprise no one.