Brokered Conventions

Brokered, Also Referred to by Some as Contested Conventions

Note: Some “experts” argue that there is a difference between “brokered” and “contested” conventions. However even if you do debate the exact definition they are both conventions that begin without a candidate who has earned enough delegates in the primaries to be the nominee.

After the second “Super Tuesday” primary elections on March 15 it seems the majority of the “talking heads” on all the news programs used the words “angry electorate” and “revolution” when analyzing and discussing the primary results to date. I actually wrote about this in my recent post, “The Quiet Revolution”.  They also talked about the current primaries not being like anything in our history on both sides but especially the Republican. They also used terms like “uncharted territory”. Based on everything I have seen, heard and read they are correct in every way! As I explained in my recent posts this has been building up for a long time. Any attempt to nominate anyone for the general election other than the nominee with the most primary votes by either party will result in the “quiet revolution” becoming very loud and the absolute destruction of that party, especially the Republican. That  could result in that party losing the White House, US Congress, US Senate, the Supreme Court and various state and local elections.

This is only likely to happen on the Democratic side if Hillary is indicted. If either party convention does become brokered it could result in more candidates entering the race on third or even fourth party tickets.This would result in no candidate winning a majority in the general election, which means the President would be chosen by the US House of Representatives and the Vice President by the US Senate. I will write about this in another post.

There are some “experts” who still argue that Trump cannot win in the general election with a wide variety of talking points to back up their prediction. Some also say that if he is the Republican nominee it will result in the Republican Party losing the US House and Senate, and then the Supreme Court becoming liberal, even if he does win the general election. Their reasoning behind this is that many of the people voting for him will not vote for the Republicans up for re-election. I personally believed this myself until recently. I now think this may not be the case. I do not like or support Trump for a variety of reasons. However as I wrote in my recent post, “An Open Letter to Mitt Romney, Meg Whitman, Meghan McCain, et al” , if he is the Republican candidate with the most primary delegates we must ALL fully support him.

The following was posted by Tom Muse on “about news”

A brokered convention occurs when none of the presidential candidates enters their party’s national convention having won enough delegates during the primaries and caucuses to secure the nomination.

As a result, none of the candidates is able to win the nomination on the first ballot, a rare event in modern political history that forces delegates and party elite to engage in convention-floor jockeying for votes and multiple rounds of balloting to reach a nomination.

Brokered Convention History

Brokered conventions have become rare since the 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, no presidential nomination has gone beyond the first round of balloting since 1952.

Since then presumed presidential nominees secure enough delegates for the nomination months before the party conventions.

Nomination conventions of the past were lively and unscripted, where party bosses negotiated for votes on the floor. Those in the modern era have become humdrum and anticlimactic, as the nominee has already been chosen through the lengthy primary and caucus process such as the one happening now. According to the late New York Times columnist William Safire, writing in Safire’s Political Dictionary, brokered conventions of the past were “dominated by factional party leaders and favorite sons, who dealt directly or through ‘neutral leaders’” or power brokers. As the state primary or caucus system has taken over, the outcome has become rarely in doubt,” according to Safire. “ … The convention then becomes more of a coronation, much like what usually happens when an incumbent president is a candidate for renomination.”

Why Brokered Conventions Are Rare

One of the most significant developments of the 20th century helped to make brokered conventions a rarity: television.

Delegates and party bosses did not want to expose viewers to the ugly machinations and brutal horse-trading of the nomination process.

“It is no coincidence that brokered conventions ended after networks began to televise them,” political scientists G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young wrote in 2007.

The 1952 Republican National Convention, though settled on the first ballot when Dwight Eisenhower beat Robert Taft, “appalled thousands who watched it on TV. Since that time, both parties try mightily to orchestrate their convention as a political love feast – lest they antagonize viewers who will be voters in November,” according to Madonna and Young.

Most Recent Republican Brokered Conventions

For Republicans, the most recent brokered convention was in 1948, which also happened to be the first televised national convention. The top contenders were New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, U.S. Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio, and former Minnesota Gov. Harold Stassen.

Dewey failed to win enough votes to win the nomination in the first round of balloting, getting 434 votes to Taft’s 224 and Stassen’s 157. Dewey inched closer in the second round with 515 votes, but his opponents tried to create a bloc of votes against him.

They failed, and on the third ballot, both Taft and Stassen withdrew from the contest, giving Dewey all 1,094 delegate votes. He later lost to Harry S. Truman.

Republicans came close to having another brokered convention in 1976, when President Gerald Ford only narrowly won the nomination over Ronald Reagan on the first ballot.

Most Recent Democratic Brokered Conventions

For Democrats, the most recent brokered convention was in 1952, when Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson won the nomination in three rounds of balloting. His closest rivals were U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell of Georgia. Stevenson went on to lose the general election that year to Eisenhower.

Democrats came close to having another brokered convention, though, in 1984, when Vice President Walter Mondale needed the votes of super delegates to beat Gary Hart at the convention.

Longest Brokered Convention

The most ballots cast in a brokered convention was in 1924, when it took 103 rounds of voting for Democrats to nominate John Davis, according to Madonna and Young. He later lost the presidential contest to Calvin Coolidge.

Article was updated February 22, 2016 by the author and the part posted here was edited by me for relevance and clarity.