A Brokered Convention for 2012?

By Stephanie Kutner

The 2012 Republican election season has been nothing short of amusing for those of us watching from afar. Who can forget the comedy fodder provided by the fallen Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain?  The rule of thumb during this election for any republican darling has been “Just let them speak and they’ll talk themselves out of the running,” as most of the candidates who have fallen by the wayside did. With the number of contenders narrowed down from nine to four, the race is no less chaotic than its inception. Romney has been the front runner for quite some time, having had the benefit of a very effective super- PAC. Despite Romney having the majority of delegates so far, he has a very unfavorable rating among the general electorate.  During the weeks leading up to the Nevada caucuses, Gingrich experienced a popularity surge which he then squandered during a debate; he having had virtually no retort for Romney who countered Gingrich’s attacks about his funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through blind trusts with evidence that Gingrinch had participated in the very same types of trusts. Ron Paul has a large portion of the youth vote, while Rick Santorum (a candidate whom Gingrich, in all his pomposity, urged to get out of the race before his Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado wins) is currently going head to head with Romney. As it stands now, the delegate count is:  Romney with one hundred and twenty three delegates, Santorum with seventy-two, Gingrich (who most are urging to bow out) with thirty-two and Ron Paul with nineteen.

The 2012 Republican Convention is set to be held the week of August 27th. .  We all must ponder this year’s very real possibility of a brokered convention. The winner must gain 1,144 delegates to gain the nomination. As long as this pre-existing majority does not exist, a round table style decision-making process then ensues to present eligible candidates (who do not have to have been present on the ballots) as contenders for the presidency. All pledged delegates are released and can then go on to switch their allegiance. The last brokered Republican convention was in 1948 during which New York’s Governor Thomas Dewey won the nomination before ultimately being defeated by Truman. Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush are three names that have been tossed about in the event that this should occur. One must not rule out this slim, though plausible, chance that this could all unfold in August at the culmination of a race which has seemed to thrive by sheer virtue of its unpredictability.

Whichever way this election swings, there is no denying that the chaos of this Republican race has severely compromised the party’s respectability.