Brokered conventions: everyone is talking about them, but no one seems to be able to agree on them.
A brokered convention happens when none of the candidates running for president garner enough delegates (51% of the delegates, or 1,237 delegates for Republicans this year) to move on to become the presidential nominee.
Essentially what happens is that all the party delegates get together, submit a ballot based on who they want to vote for, and continue this process until someone wins the majority of the delegates.
They are allowed to change their position as the convention continues, but it's a bit trickier since the 1960s when primary rules were reformed, making it much harder for party elites to sway votes and broker deals.
The last brokered convention happened in 1948 when New York Gov. Thomas Dewey went up against Robert A. Taft for the nomination. After three rounds of ballots, Dewey won the nomination with the majority (although it was all for naught, as he didn’t win against Truman).
With the way that the primaries have been running so far, many political analysts are hoping and praying that an all-too-rare brokered convention could be in the works as a way to stop Trump from winning the nomination. These hopes, however, are ill-advised and unlikely to come to fruition.
Bob Cesca of Salon perfectly explained how the GOP has created this Trump-vortex with their own ignorance, recklessness, and idiocy:
The only reason, and I mean only reason, why the GOP contest appears to be heading toward inevitable disaster is because the party has spent the better part of 16 years elevating slack-jawed folksy ignorance and too-often-racist, hateful, duplicitous bumper-sticker screeching over reasonable and rational policy ideas. Donald Trump is merely applying what’s worked on AM talk radio and Fox News Channel to his unorthodox campaign strategy — adding to the mix an eye on reality-show temper-tantrums and general villainy. The Republicans built this, and it could destroy everything the conservative movement has sought to achieve since Barry Goldwater’s catastrophic defeat in 1964. The party is ultimately screwed no matter how it handles this fracas.
Cesca is right: although most rational members of the GOP probably realize that they are heading towards disaster, unable to stop Trump in his tracks any more than they could stop a speeding locomotive, and although many are probably aware that their chances of winning the presidency—no matter the candidate—are slim to none, there is still something inherently terrifying that an embarrassment like Trump could garner as many delegates as he has so far.
That means that while the chances of a brokered convention happening are slim to none, few would oppose it if the opportunity did present itself in the hopes that it would stop Trump right in his tracks. Still, this is a speeding locomotive that the GOP has put into motion for nearly two decades—if they think a brokered convention is going to save the party, they may as well just brace for impact now.
Regardless of how impossible a brokered convention is, what would happen if there was one? Would it be the way to stop Trump?
There are a few possibilities. Although it is still possible (and more likely) that Ted Cruz will get more delegates than Trump before a brokered convention even takes place, Trump could potentially run off with his popular vote and become an Independent should it come to that, leaving room for any of the candidates to become the GOP nominee. This would also split the party in two, making it even more likely that a Democratic candidate would win the presidency.
Another possibility is that Trump loses the brokered convention and his supporters are so furious that they either refuse to vote or vote Dmocrat (although his supporters seem unlikely to vote for someone like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders should Trump lose the nomination).
The most likely of all scenarios, should a brokered convention actually take place, is a complete lack of trust from GOP party supporters since it allows delegates to ignore popular vote and go with their own preferences. Those who align with the Republican Party might finally get fed up with the corrupt and broken system of politics that they completely turn their backs on GOP leaders.
No matter what happens at this point, this is sure to be a defining year for the GOP.
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