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February 08, 2012 11:38 AM Broke Convention

By Ed Kilgore

Naturally enough, the Santorum Sweep last night, compounding all the other signs that this Republican nominating contest is becoming an endless game of Hot Potato, is reviving excited chatter about the whole mess going to a “brokered convention,” one of those old-school chaotic events where confused delegates are herded by shadowy Powers in some hitherto unimagined direction.

Much as I’d love to see one of these anachronistic conventions—particularly in the GOP—the honest truth is that it will take a lot more than signs of conservative reluctance to get on the Romney Train to produce a convention where someone has failed to nail down a majority. I’ve got a column up at TNR that goes through the case against a “brokered convention.” It’s certainly possible the issues Republicans have with their damaged presidential field will cause serious problems through the convention and on to Election Day—though I’m personally pretty sure they’ll turn out for just about anybody this November. But a “broke convention” isn’t the same as the “brokered” variety, and it remains a very remote contingency.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • T2 on February 08, 2012 11:46 AM:

    quite simply...nobody likes MItt Romney. Not the Republicans, not the Dems. In politics, I'd consider that a problem.

  • John Robert BEHRMAN on February 08, 2012 11:48 AM:

    Is the GOP Presidential nomination in convention by majority or supermajority vote of delegates?

  • cmdicely on February 08, 2012 12:31 PM:

    Naturally enough, the Santorum Sweep last night, compounding all the other signs that this Republican nominating contest is becoming an endless game of Hot Potato, is reviving excited chatter about the whole mess going to a “brokered convention,”

    I am having trouble seeing the "Santorum Sweep" -- in which Santorum won a grand total of zero delegates -- as meaningful in any way.

  • CDW on February 08, 2012 12:31 PM:

    The goper establishment in each state will make sure there is a hot button issue on the ballot to GOTV.

  • Ron Byers on February 08, 2012 12:56 PM:

    When I saw the headline I thought the post would be there wouldn't be enough money left in Republican coffers after all the superpac attack ads for the Republican party to put on an actual convention.

    Mitt Romney's problem is as said above, nobody really likes him. He really, really does look like the guy who fired you. A feeling of smug superiority just oozes from his being. I have no idea how he ever thought he could hide his personality, but he can't.

    Sadly Mitt is the most electible of the bunch.

  • Danny on February 08, 2012 1:30 PM:

    "though I’m personally pretty sure they’ll turn out for just about anybody this November"

    I'm not so sure, that's what people thought when Reagan and Nixon ran, too. I mean, there are clearly some very motivated conservatives out there. But looking at the primaries so far, it seems to be mostly the southern revanchists.

  • gdb on February 08, 2012 1:44 PM:

    If the weak recovery disappears by November (e.g., due to EU economic collapse), the 2012 election will be between two major cndidates that would normally be unelectable. A real downer.

  • OKDem on February 08, 2012 1:49 PM:

    It is technically correct but disingenuous to say there were no delegates at stake in CO or MN. By the same specious logic there were no delegates at stake in Iowa!

    The caucuses chose delegates to county assemblies who send delegates to a state assembly. This is why it is so important that Romney won zero counties in Minnesota. He may well be shut out of delegates entirely and at most 6 out of 36. In CO it looks like he will have no more 12 out of 36.
    http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/MN-R#0207
    http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/CO-R

    Does anyone seriously think the the MO county caucuses are going to give Romney more than his 25% vote? Mitt did win a single county.

    Romney was skunked plain and simple.

  • OKDem on February 08, 2012 1:54 PM:

    "Mitt did NOT win a single county" in MO. Sigh.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 08, 2012 1:59 PM:

    When all else fails, I say the GOP settle the nomination process with a spirited game of musical chairs...

  • Ken D. on February 08, 2012 2:57 PM:

    All of the legendary brokered and multiple ballot conventions occurred under a two-thirds rule, which obviously created very nice deadlock possibilities. Since a majority rule came in during the 1930's, only three major party conventions have gone more that one ballot for the presidential nomination, most recently in 1952. None went more than five ballots, and none chose anyone not originally a top contender or were anywhere close to being brokered. Times have changed, and it is highly unlikely that we will ever see another multiple-ballot convention.

  • Doug on February 08, 2012 7:55 PM:

    The Republican Party may not end up with a brokered convention, but I'm still of the opinion the convention will break the Republican Party.
    Even if (when?) Romney gets the nomination, what's going to happen to all those who aren't just "notRomney" Republicans, but rabidly "notRomney" Republicans? Those whose waking moments are dedicated to the triumph of the "Cause"? I'm particularly thinking of those now supporting Ricky and the Goldbug? Some of them will end up supporting/voting for the Romneybot, but ALL of 'em?
    No way.