A Brokered Convention for the GOP?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus
A Brokered Convention for the GOP is being discussed more and more as the Primary race gets closer to the end. Put simply a brokered convention occurs when no single candidate has won enough delegates during the Primary election cycle to have a majority leading up to the official nominating convention. After all votes are counted at the convention and no single candidate has a majority of the votes, the convention then becomes brokered. At this point big wigs within the party (this is the same for both the Republican and Democratic Party) engage in negotiations behind closed doors to reach an agreement as to what candidate will be given official recognition as the party’s nominee. Delegates from each state are no longer bound to represent the candidate who one their individual state at this point. They can recast their vote for whomever they choose. The hope is that a re-vote will lead to a clear winner.
One of the drawbacks of a brokered convention is that it has a serious tendency to make the eventual candidate weaker in the public eye. A brokered convention means that no single candidate has managed to charge up his or her party enough to gain majority support among the different states. In the general election the candidate will have to generate enough base support to stand up against the opposing party’s candidate.

Mitt Romney

Will A GOP Brokered Convention Happen In 2012?

From a purely mathematical standpoint, the chances of a brokered convention for the GOP is unlikely. Mitt Romney, despite the recent media hype over Rick Santorum, still has the delegate momentum to eventually win the GOP Nomination. There is a lot of talk among conservatives, the general public and the media about how Mitt Romney is failing to fire up the Republican base. Rick Santorum’s recent surge forward with delegate wins in various states is a good reminder of the fact that many conservatives do not find Romney appealing. Primary elections tend to get very emotional and partisan. People want a candidate who genuinely reflects their values and beliefs. Mitt Romney has struggled quite a bit to convince fellow Republicans that he is a true conservative.
In the unlikely event that Rick Santorum continues to gobble up delegates across the United States leading up to the GOP Convention, there is a real possibility that a brokered convention could occur. Keep in mind, however, that this possibility is very remote. The numbers just aren’t on Santorum’s side. More than anything, Santorum is a symbol of general discontent regarding the choices for a Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would love to have a brokered convention for the GOP nomination. A brokered convention is the only way either one of them would have a chance of actually getting nominated. The media enjoys stirring up controversies, real or imagined. In this case it is both. There is a real lack of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney. The media has also exaggerated the lack of support for Mitt Romney because it makes for more interesting headlines.

President Obama

A GOP brokered convention would surely doom whoever walked away with the Republican nomination in a general election. Barack Obama’s campaign managers would have a field day pointing out the lack of consensus support around his opponent. Brokered conventions tend to hurt the party that hosts them. If the GOP really is fractured enough to need a brokered convention it is a good sign that the Republican Party is too disjointed to present a unified front against Barack Obama.

No GOP Brokered Convention On The Horizon

Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich (and Ron Paul…yes, he’s still in the race too) would love to be caught up in a brokered convention. Of the three Rick Santorum is probably the only candidate who actually believes he has a prayer (no religious pun intended) of walking away as the chosen candidate. The most likely scenario, media hype notwithstanding, is that Mitt Romney will slowly tie up enough delegates prior to the GOP convention to avoid a brokered convention altogether.