Skip to comments.Divided GOP may have to throw away the convention script
Posted on 03/18/2012 2:23:05 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
For the first time in a generation, Republicans are preparing for the possibility that their presidential nomination could be decided at their national convention rather than on the campaign trail, a prospect that would upend one of the rituals of modern politics.
.....as Romney struggles to win the hearts of conservative voters and hold off a challenge from Rick Santorum, party leaders, activists and the campaigns are for the first time taking seriously the possibility that neither he nor anyone else will get to that total.
In that case, the nomination would be decided by the more than 2,200 delegates -- from obscure local officials and activists to national figures...
..campaign and party lawyers are dusting off their party rulebooks, running through decades-old procedural arcana,....
Party officials also are bracing for the possibility of a prenomination clash between the party's establishment and members of the Tea Party movement,...
"It's more likely than anything since '76, there's no question," ....
..Gingrich's team is expected to hold...-- if only to keep Romney from reaching a majority.
...RepublicanNationalCommittee has alerted the Committee on Contests to be ready for action, preparing for the possibility of courtroom-like hearings run by lawyers who could decide whether the nomination is settled before party members take their seats in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Yet the question of whether the race spills over into the convention has opened a new battleground among campaigns in the complicated system of allocating delegates in state and county party gatherings that follow the primaries and caucuses.
....The burden of avoiding a convention fight largely rests on whether Romney can overcome his rivals in the pending contests.
..."They may be planning on a contested convention, but it's irrelevant because we're going to get to 1,144," said the Romney campaign's chief counsel,..
(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...
The LDS issue cuts several ways.
I recently heard a pollster/commentator saying that about 26% of Democrats would never vote for a Mormon. I would guess that most of these are hard-core liberals who hate the Mormons because they support socially conservative positions on issues like homosexuality. These people are unlikely to vote for any Republican candidate, so they don't change much either in the primaries or in the general election. A few of them may be voting in GOP primaries for Rick Santorum in order to stick the GOP with a weaker candidate, but their influence is small.
The same commentator said that about 18% of Republicans say that they will never vote for a Mormon. Many of these are regular voters, and if they follow through on this assertion, their actions could have some impact. How big their impact and in which election remains to be seen.
So far, they aren't having a huge impact in the primaries. They have probably been the difference in Missouri, Colorado, and the southern states. I'm torn between amusement and disgust to see fundamentalists who call Roman Catholics "Mary worshipers" suddenly flock to Rick Santorum in an effort to derail Mitt Romney. Apparently, the LDS faith is below Catholicism in the hierarchy of religious bigotry. Even so, their influence alone will probably not be able to prevent Mitt Romney from winning the nomination prior to the convention.
In the general election, Republicans who refuse to support a Mormon may or may not give the election to Obama. As you mentioned, Mr. Romney's LDS faith may help him in a few states. Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana shouldn't really be swing states, and any GOP candidate should win. If Mr. Romney gets a little higher or little lower percentage because of religious identification, the result will be the same. Arizona is another state that should be safely Republican, but if Mr. Romney's faith will help matters, I'm glad for the help. Nevada is a swing state even though the state has only three electoral votes. Getting back those votes is important. In addition to help from LDS voters, Mr. Romney should do well because he has campaigned there frequently for the past two or three years. I can't see Illinois, Hawaii, or California being swing states under any conditions, so the issue is moot there. Oregon and New Mexico are states where Obama may have some vulnerability. In both states, his approval has been around 45% for a while. If his approval stays low, Mr. Romney runs a good campaign, and LDS voters turn out more heavily for him this time, maybe we can swing one of those states. Colorado is another important swing state. Mr. Romney has campaigned there quite a bit, and I'd be thrilled if a strong LDS turnout helped him. The problem in Colorado is that the big evangelical businesses around Colorado Springs may have some of those Republicans who refuse to vote for a Mormon. If they fumble Colorado for us, the GOP will have a hard time winning. I worry somewhat about North Carolina and Virginia. These are important swing states, and some fundamentalists in these states may refuse to vote for Mr. Romney. If they fumble the election in those states, we'll have a hard time replacing those electoral votes.