A Brokered GOP Convention?

As Allahpundit noted, my God, it’s full of page views…so, what the heck, I’ll look over Sean Trende’s analysis, too:

… in truth, I’m actually hopeful about this year’s campaign, because I think it could be unlike anything we’ve seen in a very long time. I think the Republican Party really could wind up with a brokered convention – that is, a race where no candidate receives a majority of the delegates by the end of voting. In fact, it might well be the most likely outcome, if only because no particular outcome is particularly probable.

This race is intriguing not just because of one possible outcome. It is interesting because it is difficult even to formulate a workable theory of the race. Charlie Cook uses a brackets metaphor, while Jim Geraghty and Larry Sabato think of the race in terms of tiers, but all of these have problems. Instead, I see a race that is largely chaotic. It is one where an unusually large number of candidates have perfectly plausible paths, if not to the nomination, then at least to lengthy runs deep into the balloting process.

This is because 2016 really is the deepest GOP field in a very, very long time. In fact, it isn’t even close…

It is, indeed, that. In fact, in terms of talent, the GOP has an embarrassment of riches. Contrast this to the pathetic state of the Democrats – to-be-69 year old Hillary; and if the Democrats pass on her they’ve got the intellectual and achievement powerhouses of Biden, Warren and O’Malley to choose from. None of the Democrats can hold an intellectual or achievement candle to even the weakest GOP contenders. The bad news is that the Democrats are still favored to in in 2016, even if worn-out, hacktastic Hillary is the nominee. But, still, there is that chance the GOP can win, so the GOP contest is worth winning and thus we see the large field of contenders. Will it wind up brokered? One is wary of disputing someone like Sean Trende, but I’ll say there isn’t a snowball’s chance in heck of it happening.

To be sure, Trende is right in that each of the contenders represents a certain segment of the GOP base and as the total vote is widely divided, even someone commanding relatively small support could battle far into the primary process and the sum total of all this is that no GOPer obtains a first-ballot, nominating majority and thus a brokered convention. I just don’t think it will work out that way.

The reason I don’t is because there is Scott Walker, and to a lesser extent, Bobby Jindal. Both are successful governors who battled the left and won. Both are youthful (especially compared to the Democrats), energetic and have great biographies. Both, as far as can be told, haven’t so much of a touch of scandal behind them and neither of them bear strong and public connections to the Establishment money-bags of the party. While both have plenty of good points for both Establishment and TEA Party to like, they also neither frighten overmuch the Establishment nor disappoint overmuch the TEA Party base of the GOP. Both are credible with social conservatives without being tied to positions which can turn off independent voters. They can credibly run as anti-government outsiders while being enough on the inside to garner support from low-information-voters who don’t want a war against government, per se. Each of them is a potential Reagan in the sense of being able to bridge the gaps and form a grand coalition for victory – with Walker having the better shot at this due to his epic battle against – and victory over – the forces of the left. In the end, one of the two men seems likely, to me, to slip in and start winning enough early victories to start an avalanche of support to fall their way in time to secure the nomination on a first ballot.

There are a lot of people in the GOP contest – and one must have at least some sort of egoism to even desire to be President, so a lot of GOPers who can’t win the contest will stay in when they really shouldn’t. A lot of money will be spent – and ink spilled – as various forces and factors try to take control and impose their will. But in men like Walker and Jindal, we have the sort of leaders, I think, who can impose their will upon the throng…just as Reagan was able to do in an equally fractious time (people forget that Reagan was despised by many in the GOP). And I think that either man can beat Hillary, or whomever the Democrats nominate. Not easily. Not in a walk over. But the trick can be done – because both men can unify the disparate elements of the GOP while retaining more than enough cross-over appeal to make an aged Hillary representing a corrupt and worn-out Establishment a loser.

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2 thoughts on “A Brokered GOP Convention?

  1. Cluster February 1, 2015 / 10:18 am

    Now that Romney is out, my vote is up for grabs and it definitely won’t be Bush. Right now I would have to say I am leaning towards Walker but am really interested in watching this campaign process unfold. I await the debates between Walker, Jindal, Christie, Perry, Rubio, etc. and kind of hope Kasich jumps in.

    On the other side of the aisle. How pathetic is it that it appears Hillary will have no primary opponent. No one is even challenging her so far. And she has spent the last couple of weeks “fine tuning” her message, or probably trying to find a message. After all these years in public life, you would think that she would already have a message but that is the state of the current Democratic party. Policies shaped by focus groups, not principles.

    • Amazona February 1, 2015 / 4:50 pm

      I guess it might be kind of interesting to see these guys debate, but as all I care about at the presidential level is an unswerving commitment to compliance with the Constitution and commitment to a strong national defense (including strong borders) the rest of it is just noise.

      I say that because this commitment to the Constitution means that the new president will not legislate from the Oval Office. It means that his personal position on all sorts of issues is pretty much irrelevant, because the president does not make the laws. What’s a candidate’s stance on abortion? I don’t care. His role is not supposed to be making rules on abortion so his position is irrelevant. Ditto for gay “marriage” and so on. Immigration, yes—to a point—but that would mostly be a commitment to signing good immigration bills and getting out of the way of a Justice Department which is really involved in law enforcement instead of social engineering.

      So a lot of rhetoric about who is “for” this and “against” that is just noise to me, unless the this and that are within the boundaries of presidential authority. These “debates” however, do give the Left all sorts of things to use to build attacks on these people. It would, theoretically, be possible for all the potential candidates to agree to avoid attacking each other and limit their discussions to details about how each of them would like to see any specific problem addressed, and to outlining what they see as the most important priorities for the country, but beyond that it is nothing more than posturing and bravado and doing the Left’s work for it in showcasing the various candidates’ weaknesses. Unless, of course, the “debates” are limited to outlining various successes in business and/or government, to lay out resumes.

      The thing we tend to forget is that a campaign is supposed to be a job interview, not The Dating Game. Off the top of my head, watching a few episodes of “Let’s you and him fight”, otherwise known as the debates, would tell me nothing more than how a potential president might come across as a speaker, interacting with other world leaders, and so on.

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