Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
The Possibility of a Brokered Convention
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
Last week, I received a fairly interesting e-mail from Matt Kibbe over at FreedomWorks. The subject line ("BROKERED CONVENTION: Who Would You Support?") I'll admit was an attention getter.
According to the letter:
"As the Presidential race heats up, the GOP Establishment is trying to control the process and tell you that this race is all over with only few states and a miniscule number of delegates already decided. That is simply not true. It is still very likely that no candidate receives a majority of the delegates heading into the Republican National Convention. If this happens and you were a delegate to the convention, you would have the opportunity to support ANYONE, whether they are currently in the race or not."
On that note, let's grab a cup of coffee and go below the fold, shall we, because this could get fairly interesting.
Back on August 6th, 2010, the RNC adopted a revision to Rule 15b with regard to the timing of the presidential primary elections for 2012 and onward. A key element of the new primary schedule is that any contest held before April 1st is not supposed to be winner-take-all. Whether proportionately or by congressional district, in the states and territories that vote before April Fool's Day, any candidate who does well is supposed to come away with some delegates that (by the rules) should be committed to him at the Republican National Convention. 2,286 voting delegates are available this year, so a candidate must accumulate 1,144 votes to win the nomination.
With Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, and Maine now on the record in the republican presidential primary sweepstakes, the accumulated "soft total" count of elected delegates is projected thus (according to The Green Papers):
The RNC's intention behind the change to the delegate awarding rules is that the republican nominee wouldn't be awarded until late in the contest, certainly not before April 3rd (the first authorized winner-take-all contests, in Maryland, District of Columbia, Wisconsin, and Texas). On paper the concept seems very sound, as this means that the politically savvy members of the republican primary electorate will have plenty of time to weed through the field and theoretically select the best candidate to hand BHO his pink slip come this November.
Of course, the media elites note the fact that WMR has somewhere between 120 and 123 projected pledged delegates out of the 1,144 that he needs to secure the nomination (~10.58%), note that he has this number as 8 of the 56 contests in the primary campaign are complete (~14.29%), and are thus trumpeting the inevitability that Romney will arrive at convention with the nomination firmly in hand, even if that won't be locked up until the Utah Primary (June 26) is in the books.
The reality, of course, is a tad messier.
See, the word "projected" isn't there for show. According to the RNC rules, with the exception of four states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada), no state is supposed to be allowed to hold a binding contest before March 1st without being penalized 50% of their delegation. (That New Hampshire and South Carolina are being penalized is due to them violating the RNC's rule that no state is supposed to hold a binding contest before February 1st.) This means that Rick Santorum, for all the media fuss otherwise, has yet to win a state where the results were actually binding, including Missouri!
So, if we strip out all the non-binding states, and add back in the "party delegates" who've already publicly committed, then our "secured delegates" running total would look like this (using the Green Papers' numbers again):
Newt Gingrich's appeal of the Florida results may also be a factor here. According to a Gingrich campaign memo, NLG intends to challenge the results based on the Republican National Committee's rules that state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012, and will request that the RNC enforce the proportional awarding of the RPFL delegates. And if the RNC does enforce its rules, then the projected proportional awarding of the Florida delegation would look like this:
Maine's municipal straw poll caucus is also an open question right now, even though that fact isn't getting much press coverage. While the Maine Republican Party encouraged all of the municipal committees to conduct their polling between February 4th and 11th, each local committee was free to choose any date it wished. And while the state party has already officially reported the results, the truth is that 98 precincts in Maine (fully one-sixth of the state, if I have the numbers right) have yet to report. According to the Ron Paul campaign, many of those precincts are areas which are expected to heavily favor Dr. Paul, and given the closeness of the reported statewide vote totals, Maine may turn out to be a state that REP actually wins when all of the precincts are counted.
That brings up another point. The Campaign for Liberty has been training their ground crews to pick up the delegate slots that are available in the precincts after caucus events. The intention is to pick up enough delegates in those states that they can control the RNC's platform going forward into the general campaign. In nonbinding states (IA, MN, CO, and ME, among others), they also seem intent on packing as many pro-Paul delegates as possible into the national delegation.
Here's a reason why that might matter. Consider the binding requirements on the states whose primaries occur before Super Tuesday (March 6th this year):
Which is where the e-mail that I received last week comes in.
There's a link in the e-mail to an interesting preference survey that features hypothetical match-ups of potential nominees, not all of whom are currently candidates in the primary race. The final question, predictably, asks who you would vote for (of the four current primary candidates) if the election were held today. Some interesting names are up there, and as of this post, the five most popular are: Paul Ryan (72%), Marco Rubio (67%), Jim DeMint (64%), Rick Santorum (63%), and Mitch Daniels (52%). Although the first two positions haven't changed in the five days since I first saw this list, I recall that Gingrich was in third place a week ago.
Other than putting forward the point, that at a brokered convention the delegates may have opportunity to voice their disgust with the current primary ballot by nominating anyone they choose from the floor, the preference survey seems about as useful as an opinion poll that I might decide to stick over on the right sidebar. In other words, in and of itself, not that big of a deal.
But the core point, that a brokered convention has the potential to get really messy, should not be ignored. Count on lawyers from all four campaigns to be present, prepared to challenge anything that puts their candidate at a disadvantage (which will have all kinds of "Florida can't seem to get elections right" jokes floating around). Expect all manner of arm-twisting and backroom deals, especially as it might apply to delegates who are unbound on the first ballot at convention.
All of this will be in an effort to get the nomination settled on the first ballot. Perhaps this is because the Republican Party has a history of choosing its presidential nominee on the first ballot (only 10 of the 39 republican national conventions held to date have gone past the first ballot, and none of those, even at brokered conventions, have occurred since 1948), so the party officers may want to avoid the appearance of disunity. But I rather suspect that's because the Rockefeller-wing establishment is deathly afraid that if Romney can't win on the first pass, then he won't win at all.
So, how does this apply to us?
First, let's make sure we understand what a "brokered convention" is in this context. Simply put, it's a convention where none of the official candidates arrive at convention with a committed majority of the available delegates.
Second, we need to keep in mind that a brokered convention is not necessarily anything to fear. Those who don't have a proper understanding of history or those who don't want political power anywhere other than in their own hands would love to persuade us otherwise. The reality, however, is that a brokered convention provides conservatives with their best shot at doing precisely what the liberals and moderates in the party hierarchy don't want to do, namely building the necessary intraparty consensus needed to defeat the machine-style politics of the communist currently occupying the White House. The trick, of course, is to have a sufficiently coordinated strategy going in.
As an example, let's take a look at the results of five brokered conventions in republican history:
If June 27th finds us with a brokered convention on the schedule (which will make it the 17th in party history), then so be it. On that day, only the weak and the tyrants will have anything to fear.
The Possibility of a Brokered Convention | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
The Possibility of a Brokered Convention | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
Related Links+ adopted a revision
+ new primary schedule
+ New Hampshire
+ South Carolina
+ according to The Green Papers
+ RealClearP olitics
+ party delegates
+ though his alleged lead over Romney is questionable
+ appeal of the Florida results
+ Gingrich campaign memo
+ municipal straw poll caucus
+ fully one-sixth of the state, if I have the numbers right
+ notecard version of the rules for all 56 primary contests
+ interestin g preference survey
+ republican national conventions held to date
+ Also by Kevin Rex Heine