There is a whirlwind these days over the prospect of a contested Republican Party National Convention in July. A storm of controversy surrounds the possibility that none of the GOP presidential candidates will have enough delegates to guarantee nomination on the first round of voting.
As an admitted political junkie, I confess that I am salivating at the idea of a brokered gathering of GOP delegates and party leaders in Cleveland. A congregation that will generate enough hot air to make the Midwest City even warmer than usual this summer. And no one will blame global warming for this political storm.
It’s no surprise then that the national media have trotted out their political prognosticators to test which way the winds are blowing and warn us to batten down the hatches before the ensuing maelstrom.
Yes, I’m tempted to sing the Creedence Clearwater hit “Bad Moon Rising.”
Billionaire Donald Trump leads the race in the number of Republican delegates and GOP establishment paranoia is driving a desperate campaign to deny him the nomination. The only hopes to halt The Donald juggernaut lie with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Neither is an attractive alternative. Cruz has alienated virtually all of his senate colleagues and Kasich so far has failed to attract Republican voters outside his home state.
A history of brokered conventions
I remember as a child in the 1950s watching the Democrat and Republican National conventions on television. There was much more drama and intrigue then because the eventual nominee often was in doubt until the actual voting. And multiple ballots sometimes were required.
Democrat Adlai Stevenson needed three rounds of voting before he was nominated in 1952—even with support from outgoing President Harry Truman.
Although General Dwight Eisenhower won the Republican nomination on the first ballot, it was because some delegates switched sides before the first round officially ended.
In 1960, Vice President Richard Nixon captured the GOP nomination easily but after some behind the scenes machinations. And Democrat John F. Kennedy had to fend off several challengers before he was chosen by his party the same year.
The delegates should decide
If Donald Trump comes to the convention with the majority of delegates, some argue that it would be wrong to deny him the nomination.
In an earlier blog I wrote that the party leaders were acting more like Third World oligarchs in their efforts to stop Trump. True if they attempt a coup prior to the national convention.
According to current convention rules, all the delegates are obligated to vote for their declared candidate on the first ballot. If subsequent voting rounds are necessary, then delegates can change their minds.
That’s the Republican National Convention I want to see. One where the delegates elected by voters in the primaries and caucuses decide—not the party bosses.
I like that forecast.