Could There Be A Brokered Convention?

Posted by | February 19, 2012 21:58 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Political junkies like me love the idea of a brokered convention.  What used to be quite normal hasn’t happened in my lifetime.  Of course, in 2012, I also dread it, as it would allow the GOP to nominate a stronger candidate than any of their current meager crop (such as Governor Jeb Bush or Governor Mitch Daniels).  Jill Lawrence and Alex Roaty say I shouldn’t be worried.

But two factors weigh heavily against such a convention-floor scenario: math and history.

Convention drama is a favorite subject of many political junkies. But there hasn’t been much since 1980, when Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy argued for an open convention that would have allowed him to wrest delegates away from President Carter. Even the bitter, drawn-out primary fight in 2008 between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to yield any excitement by summer. “We’ve had this conversation in one party or another for forever, and it never comes to fruition,” said David Norcross, a former general counsel to the Republican National Committee.

Beyond that, the candidates who run the primary gauntlet will arrive at the convention with hard-won delegates they likely will resist handing over. They could find allies in the party’s activist wing, wary of the Republican establishment foisting upon them a candidate whom they don’t find acceptable. That resistance to top-down politics makes any convention strategy a long shot. “In America, we draft beer, ballplayers, and, in time of war, soldiers,” said Bill Greener, a GOP strategist. “We don’t draft and men and women to be president.”

Earlier this week, I argued that Rick Santorum still had a small chance of getting the nomination. If a brokered convention is unlikely as well, then we are still looking at GOP nominee Romney.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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