Skip to comments.Don't Pin Your Hopes On A Brokered Convention Saving the Day
Posted on 03/08/2012 11:55:48 AM PST by libertarian neocon
I've noticed a lot of talk and a lot of hope being pinned on a brokered convention as possibly our last best hope to keep Romney from being nominated. My advice: don't bet on it. Oh sure, Romney might very well be denied enough delegates to ensure the nomination before the convention (all it probably takes is Newt or Santorum dropping out and endorsing the other) but I fail to see the possibility of him not being nominated in Tampa in such a scenario.
Based on both his hard bound and total delegate lead, it seems very likely that he will remain the leader going into the convention whether or not he gets to the magic number of 1144 delegates. For those of you who haven't sunk into the weeds (there actually is a nice short and sweet primer here), hard bound delegates are the delegates that are legally bound to vote for you at the convention, at least on the first ballot. For those that aren't hard bound, as a candidate you can never be sure you are going to get their vote. For example, CNN is currently counting 7 delegates for Romney, Paul and Santorum because of the results of the Iowa caucus and are including them in their total delegate count (note that other sites will sometimes have different totals). But the actual delegate allocation doesn't even exist yet. What happens in Iowa is that the caucuses pick delegates for county conventions who then pick delegates for congressional district conventions who then pick delegates for the state convention, which is set for June 16th. So we won't even know what the Iowa delegation will look like for another 3 months and it wouldn't surprise me if either Romney, Paul or Santorum end up with many more or fewer delegates than they were initially supposed to.
Anyway, back to my point, if you calculate the number of delegates that either Newt or Santorum would need from now on just to catch up with Romney you will see how difficult it would be. On a hard bound basis, I calculate that there are 1,206 delegates to be chosen and Romney currently has a lead of 219 delegates over Newt and 232 over Santorum (he is behind Newt because of his wins in caucuses that don't have hard bound delegates). So from here on out, Newt would have to beat Romney by over 18 points and Santorum needs to beat Romney by over 19 points just to catch up with him (to get the nomination each would actually have to get over 87% of the hard bound delegates from now on). I don't really see either beating Romney 60-40, especially when you have states like New York coming up, a big state where Romney is currently leading by 15 points. On a total delegate basis the numbers get a smidge easier, at least for Santorum, who needs to beat Romney by 16 points to catch him (Newt needs to beat him by 20 points). So as you can see, barring an epic meltdown, it seems very likely that, even if he is not the official nominee, Romney will at least be the leader and possibly be very close to the magic number of 1144.
At that point, the brokers at the convention will have to decide one of two things, twist enough arms and make enough deals to get Romney over the top or go with someone who isn't running (I don't think the brokers will ever favor a Newt or a Santorum at the convention, especially if they are behind Romney in the delegate totals). And to get Romney over the top might not even be very hard at all. First, there will be the Ron Paul delegates. I actually agree that there is something fishy going on between Romney and Paul. It probably won't take much additional cajoling to make Paul delegates suddenly vote for Romney. Second, all those unpledged delegates will be linked to the establishment in one way or another, otherwise they probably wouldn't be delegates in the first place. And if the establishment can do anything is make promises and collect on favors. And given the unattractiveness of the alternative, they will be promising a lot.
Now, to the alternative. What about picking some consensus candidate who is not Romney and running him under the GOP banner? There are two major problems with that. First, the calendar. The GOP convention is supposed to start on August 27th, just 10 weeks before election day on November 6th. That is 10 weeks to fundraise for the campaign and introduce the candidate to America. That will make first impressions and first interviews that much more important and unfortunately people's first impressions will be of backroom deals and questions of fairness from the press. Instead of the economy or Obamacare or Iran being the main issue, it's going to be "what exactly was the process whereas you were selected to be the GOP nominee despite doing zero campaigning over the last year and a half and having received zero actual votes from GOP voters". You can see it now can't you? It would be a public relations disaster. And let's not forget how pissed off all the Newt, Santorum, Romney and Paul people will be that after all their hard work, a usurper, who had zero vetting and participated in zero debates, got the nod. 10 weeks might not be enough for their wounds to heal and vote for the nominee.
The second major problem is that there isn't a wonderful, magical Republican who can come in, unite the establishment and the Tea Party (as well as economic, social and foreign policy conservatives), be credible with the media and with enough national exposure already to hit the ground running. They just don't exist. Sarah Palin? No way the establishment will go for that. They hate her as much, or even more, than they hate Newt. The two of them make the establishment batsh*t crazy, which is why we love them but unfortunately, that doesn't lead to a nod at a brokered convention. Jeb Bush? I think a good number of the party will bolt on having another Bush carry the GOP banner. It just stinks of elitism and dynasticism. Like we are some banana republic or hereditary monarchy. Paul Ryan? While eloquent and with national exposure, he is also just a Congressman with zero administrative or foreign policy experience, who has had some questionable votes in the past which will upset many in the Tea Party. He voted for both TARP and the auto bailouts for heaven's sake. Chris Christie? Please. He is pretty much a guy who thinks like Mitt Romney but pretends to be a Newt Gingrich. He is very questionable on global warming, abortion and he has raised fees. Plus, he has only been Governor for a total of 2 years at this point. Mitch Daniels? While economically conservative, there is a lot of question as to what he actually thinks about social issues and foreign policy issues (he wants a social "truce" and might be a Dick Lugar foreign policy Republican). I do realize that pretty much all of these candidates would be better than Romney, but would the brokers at the convention think that they will be a better candidate than Romney given that they are unvetted, have zero dollars in their _____ for President fund and all have their own flaws that would have to be papered over real quick? I don't think so.
Now I am not saying you should give up. Personally, I would still rather see a brokered convention than a Romney walk to the nomination simply because at least there would be a chance, albeit minuscule, of something good happening. I just won't get my hopes up.
I’ve had my say and Newt took Georgia, but Romney will still win the Primary overall.
Ive had my say and Newt took Georgia, but Romney will still win the Primary overall.
I feel your pain though I am a bit jealous. I’m in NJ and my primary isn’t until June 5. And there is no chance of him winning here.
Good analysis. Thanks for posting.
Still trying to figure out how we got here...Romney? His "Romneycare" will sink us faster than an Italian Cruise ship...It's just pitiful.
Not necessarily. If Ron Paul and Newt would step aside....a conservative may have half a chance to disrupt Romney’s march.
Why do it now?
“Still trying to figure out how we got here...Romney? His “Romneycare” will sink us faster than an Italian Cruise ship...It’s just pitiful.”
Lol on the Italian cruise ship. I think we got here because of HW Bush effectively taking over the party after Reagan left. If only Ron had chosen Jack Kemp for VP, things could have been different.
Yeah, but for the same reason the GOP would rally strongly behind him.
Also, Mitch is a social conservative despite how twisted the "social truce" remark became in the media.
“There is plenty of time to give up and assume the fetal position.
Why do it now?”
Just because Super Tuesday was our last best hope of defeating Romney. You could certainly have seen a scenario where he would only have won VT and MA and that would have been majorly embarressing for him and would have cost him quite a few delegates. Instead he won six states and the math just looks exceedingly difficult for anyone other than him. And Im not assuming the fetal position. Ill still trash him every chance I get. I hate liberals. Of both parties.
You overlook one other scenario. That is Rick/Newt combined get more delegates than Romney. In that scenario, the one behind, currently Newt, would throw his support behind Rick (or vice versa). Now when it comes to the 2nd ballot, why would it have to be Mitt? There would be a very good argument to say that Mitt is toast. He outspent his rivals and couldn’t close the deal. And if he couldn’t close the deal with his money advantage in the primary, he won’t stand a chance against Obama where he won’t have the same advantages. Now that is just pointing out the obvious weakness in Romney. And considering how much the guy at the top of the ticket affects races nationwide, why wouldn’t the establishment want to dump Mittens? And on top of that, you will have the Conservative wing screaming as loud as they can that it must not be Mitt. All in all unless Mitt gets over 50% of the delegates I don’t see any good reason he should be the nominee. He is doing rather poorly considering he saturates the airwaves against his rivals while they can’t fight back.
In this sense, Rick seems like a much stronger candidate. “Hey guys look at me. I almost won a bunch of states spending 1/6 the money Mitt did.” Or Newt, depending who comes out on top.
Of course the last 4 brokered conventions the republicans had, they lost the general election. Luckily, this time around the incumbent is weak.
If it were only possible for Newt and Santorum to selectively drop out - get their name OFF the ballot - in different not-yet-run states, garnering their resources where each had the best chances, enabling wins for one or the other in those states and then jointly holding the edge at the convention.
“You overlook one other scenario. That is Rick/Newt combined get more delegates than Romney. “
You are right, if they join forces it does become easier. They probably still wouldn’t get the nomination outright (they still need 80% of the hard bound delegates from here on out to do that) but they only need to outperform Romney by about 11 points to at least have a lead over him.
Even then though it will be an uphill challenge for the simple reason that the brokers dont play nice and never like the conservative candidate. In 1952, the brokers actually stole delegates from Taft to give to RINO Ike (he was literally a RINO as he wasnt sure which party to even join not that long before 1952). In 1976, the MS delegation betrayed Reagan despite the fact that it was Reagan country. In 1980, the brokers were pushing for a Reagan-Ford co-Presidency, which would have been a disaster.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that delegates should be weighted.
For instance, who cares how the delegates from California, New York, or Massachusetts vote? The ‘Pubbies are NOT going to get those states or their electors.
Same is true for Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi - they’re going Republican, no matter what. Even the GOP will have a hard time blowing their advantage there.
But the swing states like Ohio, which are still in play and where the election will really be decided, their delegates should have the most weight.
Being a conservative and from Georgia, I hate that idea, but even Romney is better than Obama (I hope...).
Perhaps it would be wiser at this point to focus on pressuring Romney to pick a conservative VP as heir-apparent. Otherwise, it’s Jeb in 2016 with no serious opposition.
Well, shoot, let’s just give up then and quit trying and accept Mr. Inevitability, A.K.A, Mr. Progressive Liberal, A.K.A., Mr. Lie my butt off as our candidate.
“Well, shoot, lets just give up then and quit trying and accept Mr. Inevitability, A.K.A, Mr. Progressive Liberal, A.K.A., Mr. Lie my butt off as our candidate.”
Honestly, he will NEVER be my candidate. I’m done accepting whatever garbage Democrat-lite that the establishment tries to shove down my throat. He is to the left of Dole, Bush and McCain, and there is no way I will vote for him.
“Perhaps it would be wiser at this point to focus on pressuring Romney to pick a conservative VP as heir-apparent. Otherwise, its Jeb in 2016 with no serious opposition.”
Well if it’s a brokered convention he probably will end up picking Santorum in order to unite everyone.
Not gonna happen, unfortunately.
Rick's not gonna drop out. Why should he? He's out-polling Newt pretty much everywhere.
Newt's not gonna drop out. He doesn't seem the type to want to take the backseat to anyone.
So they'll both continue splitting the conservative vote. At close of businessTuesday, March 13, Romney will have a much bigger portion of the 90 Mississippi/Alabama delegates in his column than he would have had facing a single conservative, and the delegate math will make it even more unlikely that Romney will be stopped.
There is little doubt that democrats are fueling Rick especially in places like Michigan and Ohio. It was a fact if you look at their blogs. The democrats really relish either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. They fear Newt Gingrich. Is fairly plain for anyone who has followed politics for half a century like I have. The democrats have been setting up Romney for over a year. In the last couple of months they have pivoted to Rick Santorum to hedge their bets. Either one and it is a easy walk for Obama. Newt would kick butt, and they know it.
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