Check Out Old School

Interesting, the debating process among presidential hopefuls, we must be playing “pin the tail on the donkey.”  When Romney wins a primary or collection of primaries, the target is on his back and Santorum wins the next echelon, then the target is on Santorum’s back and Romney emerges.  Are we on the verge of the first brokered convention since 1940?

For most of the party nominating process over the last seventy years, even in close races, all but one candidate drops out, usually for lack of funds, and the delegates are released and most go with the frontrunner that emerges, goes to the convention, and wins on one ballot.  But suppose there are at least two hanging in there to the day the front doors of the convention hall open for business?  Gingrich claims he can get funding and Santorum received a key endorsement with funds to keep his campaign going.  Romney is the wealthiest candidate in the history of this country.  Suppose Romney and Santorum can keep at it with Gingrich playing a spoiler role?

These are not baseball standings, ladies and gentlemen.  Even if you are in first place to stay, you still need 1,144 delegates to win.  If no candidate reaches that magic number, no one goes to Tampa, Florida to partake in an inevitable formality.  If there are not enough uncommitted delegates to put any one candidate over the top, which can happen if none of the final four drop out (or even if Ron Paul is the only one to drop out) and their respective delegation is not released, the only option is the convention has to be open; this means caucus and primary results are discarded and all delegates can vote for anyone they want.  Since the old school power brokers have not been used in all these years, each state’s Republican committees would have to conjure one up on the fly.  Furthermore, they would not be limited to the current field.  Bachmann, Perry, Cain, could get back in albeit Herman Cain is right now as much as a marked man as that other guy named Cain you read about in the Bible.  Sarah Palin or Chris Christie, who did not get in at the get-go, could conceivable get in.  This could get interesting, ugly, or both.

It took the G.O.P. ten ballots to nominate Warren Harding in 1920; in 1912, it took the Democrats one-hundred sixteen ballots to nominate Woodrow Wilson, who was not even in the race before the convention opened.  My father who earned a living covering state and national politics for The Bridgeport Post back when it was a real newspaper would be in Seventh-Heaven, but would not know how long he would be detained in Tampa.

All things equal, Mitt Romney would have an advantage in a brokered convention since his is both the RNCs choice and Tea Party and other conservative and conservative groups are backing him on the basis he is most-likely to beat Obama in the general.  The afore mentioned would have to be convinced Rick Santorum or a Johnny Come Lately true conservative could beat Obama before that would change.

I consider Rick Santorum to be the loose cannon in this process.  The key is he cannot drop out of the race.  He can stay in as long as he can fund it.  We will know more after Super Tuesday on March 6.  If it tips toward one guy, most-likely Romney, expect Romney vs. Obama in November.  A divided Super Tuesday can make it interesting, if Santorum can survive financially after March 6.  Stay tuned, America!

 

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