Monday, April 9, 2012

Ready For A Brokered Convention?

SOUTHERN POLITICAL REPORT | Butler Derrick | April 9, 2012
As the Republican primaries begin to come to an end, pundits and politicians are bandying about thequestion of a possible “brokered convention.” At themoment, there is no clear front-runner. It is unlikelythe nomination process will come to this; however, it isvery possible there will be some strong trading of delegatesfor both the presidential and vice presidential nominees.

State delegations in whole or on a percentagebasis are either bound to vote for the candidate carryingthe state or as they are split within the state.

Delegate voting rules at the national convention arecontrolled by the various state parties and fall intoseveral categories. Some states release delegatesfrom their commitment after the first vote.This means they may vote for whom they choose asthe presidential nominee if their candidate is not chosenon the first vote. Other states release after the secondand third votes. Some hold their delegates in perpetuity.

If the candidate does not make it the first time, it can be anyone’s nomination. The nominee can be one of those now running or someone who is completely new to theprocess. For instance, if Romney could not getenough votes on the first vote, then what is known as a“white horse or dark horse” may be entered into themix.

The Democratic nominee for president was electedon the 109th ballot in 1928. In 1976 RonaldReagan came within a hair of getting the nomination.White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney and GeraldFord’s aide James Baker are given credit for wooingenough votes to Ford on the first vote to give Ford thenomination. It is generally agreed that, if there hadbeen a second vote, Ronald Reagan would have beenthe Republican nominee in 1976, not 1980.

If Romney does not make it on the first ballot,he will not make it. There is a movement in theRepublican Party that is referred to as “anyone butRomney.” This group will go into action if there is asecond ballot. They might get behind Santorum orGingrich, but probably Santorum.

Getting the nomination and the presidency are two different animals. Primary voters are the more engaged voters — Republicans to the right and Democrats to the left. In the general election, we witness voters who did not participate in primaries and generally do not wear aparty stamp on their forehead; they vote moretoward the middle. This key group, of course,includes the famed independent voter.

Romney will do well with independents, because as hard as he is trying to be a far right conservative,he is, in my opinion, at heart a moderate, practical manwho will not stray too far from the middle. Of thosewho remain in the race, I think he would run thestrongest race against President Obama.

Romney will probably make it on the first ballot.The real deal-making and horse-trading will be forvice president. If Romney gets the nomination, he isgoing to need someone on the ticket who appeals tothe religious far right and the more conservativebranch of the party. Santorum seems to be theobvious choice, but you don’t know the personalchemistry. Ron Paul may try and swap his delegates togive his son, Ky. Sen. Rand Paul, the nod. Had he beenyounger, Ron would have done better; his ideas weremostly “on the money.”

The GOP should worry about a third party candidacyby Ron Paul. I took a very limited poll among some of my Republican friends — yes, I do have some — on who would be a good “whiteknight or black horse.” Former Gov. Jeb Bushplaced, but “The Donald,” as in Trump, won.

The Republican Convention will be held inTampa, Fla., the latter part of August. The weatherwill be hot outside and the convention even more so inside.

Politically speaking,five months is a long time.We shall see.

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