Skip to comments.Brokered convention could energize base, boost nominee, say some insiders
Posted on 03/18/2012 6:25:40 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
A brokered convention is more plausible this year than it has been for a generation, as the fight drags on for the Republican Partys presidential nomination.
The scenario leaves many GOP insiders petrified of the damage the party could suffer. Yet some dissenting voices insist there would be a silver lining to the cloud. They hold out the possibility of a convention of such drama and intrigue that it would energize party activists and mesmerize the broader public.
It could turn into a free-for-all, and be somewhat unseemly, and no-one wants that, Keith Appell, a Republican strategist who is not aligned with any candidate, said. But if it is done in a fairly orderly way, it could be a good thing. It would be exciting, and it would be something of a new experience for most people in terms of conventions.
A brokered convention takes place when no candidate has secured enough delegates over the course of the primary process to clinch the nomination outright. The ultimate decision is then made on the convention floor, with delegates who are not legally bound to a particular candidate being the target of fierce persuasive tactics.
Republicans have not experienced such a scenario since 1976, when incumbent president Gerald Ford narrowly held off a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan.
To become this years GOP standard-bearer, a candidate needs to secure the support of 1,144 delegates when the party meets in Tampa in late August.
Different organizations have different tallies of where the delegate fight now stands a fact that is itself testament to the byzantine complexity of the rules but the most widely accepted estimate is that of The Associated Press.
The AP currently gives Mitt Romney 495 delegates to Rick Santorums 252 delegates. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, according to the organization, have the support of 131 and 48 delegates respectively.
Romney has a decent shot at reaching the magic number by the time the primary process ends in Utah on June 26. But aides to Santorum and Gingrich no longer bother to disguise that the essence of their strategy is to frustrate Romney. They, too, have a credible chance of meeting their goal.
The prospect causes tremors along the whole Republican spectrum.
Mike Huckabee, who was the favored candidate of social conservatives four years ago, told Fox News this weekend that a brokered convention would amount to a train-wreck and a disaster for the Republican Party.
Last week, Vin Weber, a Romney supporter and a much more establishment figure than Huckabee, told CBS News: If the Republican convention is a mish-mash of conspiracy theories and backroom dealings and competition back and forth...were going to start out in a deep, deep hole for the general election against President Obama.
The fear that a brokered convention would gift reelection to Obama may be Romneys trump card. It is virtually certain that he will have more delegates than anyone else after the primary process ends. He could then appeal to super-delegates to commit to him before the convention begins, arguing that they would be averting chaos by doing so.
But not everyone is convinced that a brokered convention would spell doom for the GOP. Last month, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin told Fox Newss Sean Hannity that she wouldnt be afraid of such an outcome and that it would perhaps be very good.
Conservatives, especially those most trenchantly opposed to Romney, now have a vested interest in arguing that a brokered convention would be fine and that the element of uncertainly might actually deliver a boost.
Some respected GOP consultants agree with them.
Conventions are just hideously boring these days and have become more so, gradually, over the course of my lifetime, Republican strategist Curt Anderson told The Hill. A brokered convention, he added, could make for an actual event that would interest people.
(Anderson worked for the ill-starred presidential campaign of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, but is not aligned with any candidate still in the race.)
Keith Appell also held out the possibility that a new candidate could come forward at the convention, presenting themselves as a unity choice, capable of bringing together supporters of both Romney and Santorum. Names like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and even Palin herself have been mentioned.
Some say this outcome is especially a long shot. But Appell argues that, while a brokered convention remains unlikely on balance, if it were to occur, the entry of a last-minute candidate would be a very real possibility and that is going to add to the drama, to the allure, if that happens.
Appell added: It could be utterly fascinating. We dont know for sure who will win, or will someone new be nominated?
Still, even if some Republicans share Appells view, those who are happiest about the possibility of a brokered convention are Democrats. Many Obama supporters view the idea with outright glee.
Democratic strategist Chris Lehane told The Hill that he believes a brokered convention is highly unlikely.
But if the Republicans want to have a brokered convention something that would arrest and dissipate any sense of momentum that they would otherwise expect to get coming out of that convention then Im all for it, he said with a laugh.
I will offer my help, pro-bono, to make a brokered convention possible.
I think a brokered convention would excite the party as well as the base and the tea party...two groups who dispise Romney. If Romney is the nom the Republican Party is possibly done.
I see two possible outcomes that might save the day.
If Santorum and Gingrich get enough votes between them to prevent Romney from winning on the first ballot, then they can strike a deal between them, presumably with the one having the most votes getting the nod.
If Romney wins, because Santorum and Gingrich have split the conservative votes, then I think we need to abandon the GOP and agree on one candidate that we can write in. That won’t be easy, because the conservatives are a splintered majority. The best choice would be Sarah Palin, but who knows if we can agree, or if she would want to leave the GOP and found a new party.
This would NOT be the usual third party spoiler, if it is managed right. It would be the death of the GOP and the birth of a new party, like what happened 150 years ago. But it’s not easy to bring something like that off. The GOP-e engineered a third party win for their favorite in Alaska, and she actually won with write-in votes. But that was tightly organized and corruptly bought. This is going to have to be a real revolution—and revolutions are not easy to control and unify.
I think it would either need Sarah as the candidate, or Sarah as the organizer, pulling everyone together to unite behind one write-in candidate, maybe Gingrich or Santorum, whichever of the two has the most votes by convention time, with the other as VP.
I think it would energize the whole country. Candidates would be nominated and seconded from the floor and then each candidate would give a 30-minute prime time speech to convince the delegates why they would make a better president than Obama and why they should get the nomination.
It would be a ratings bonanza and the topic of water cooler conversations all over the country.
I agree as long as its was not Mittens .
It would energize me because...dang I don’t want to vote for Mitt Romney.
Palin is the ONLY big wild card in the deck right now.
And, she's the unifying force of the conservative wing of the party.
From the Article: “Republicans have not experienced such a scenario since 1976, when incumbent president Gerald Ford narrowly held off a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan.”
cut to conversation between consultants
How bad do you think it’s gonna be?
Pretty goddamn bad. Probably all the conservative Families will line up against us. That’s alright —
this thing’s gotta happen every thirty-five years or so — forty five years — helps to get rid of the bad
blood. Been thirty-five years since the last one. You know you got to stop them at the beginning,
like they should have stopped Reagan in 1980, They should never’ve let him get away with —
that. They were just asking for big trouble. You know, Karl, we was all proud of you —
getting W elected. helping his father, too.
It would certainly make things more interesting. You’d need to get to a second ballot.
I don’t think it would hurt the Republicans. It might generate interest.
A brokered convention that a conservative was named from would give charge to the party. But if Romney won the base would be even more dispirited than they’re already are now, if that’s possible.
That’s what would put so much at stake and be fun.
When Intrade predicts the next depression or tsunami, ping me.
Ping me when you understand how Intrade works.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.