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One of the items cited in this morning's Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a piece by Dan Balz about the continuing stalemate in the Republican nomination contest.  DemFromCT comments:

"Republicans will rally around the winner... they always do, but perhaps with John McCain/Bob Dole enthusiasm."

Now, there's no doubt that the quote represents the odds-on likeliest outcome.  Large portions of the base don't like Romney, just as they didn't like McCain or Dole (and for the same reasons -- too moderate!!!).  But at the end of the day, just as in these past cases, they will likely yield to the blandishments of a combination of lack of alternatives still standing, electability, and deference to the authority structure within the movement and party.

But it's always worthwhile thinking about a wider range of possibilities.  And there are factors at work this year that make it more likely than most years that their side won't have the nomination locked down before the convention.

First a word about terminology.  "Brokered" convention is only a useful descriptor because it's the common usage for the situation in which no candidate has a lock before the convention opens, and there is no other descriptor in use out there.  But such a convention probably couldn't be successfully brokered, and would end instead in deadlock.  That likelihood is one powerful reason that the parties lately have consistently given one candidate a lock prior to the convention, because the alternative would be catastrophic.  This tacit understanding is arguably a big driver of the "momentum" we observe that gets one candidate a lock prior to the convention.  A point is reached at which people in the party pick one candidate to unite behind, even if this candidate is not their first choice, because they understand that it's unity prior to the convention, or a debacle on e-day.

Well, for one thing, that dynamic of momentum probably won't work so well this year, or rather, it will have some competition.  The Rs this year may prove to be in an analogous position to the Ds in 1860.  That year, a significant faction within the party actually wanted a deadlocked convention, or at least they valued deadlock over giving Douglas a smooth ride.  They wanted to humiliate and weaken the obvious consensus, establishment candidate, Stephen Douglas, even if they couldn't get the nomination for a more reliable Slavocrat.  Heightening the contradictions was of equal, maybe greater, importance to them than having their side get the nomination.  

Any of that sound like the Tea Party?  Do the Fire-Eaters of 1860 have any better analogy since 1860 than the rather sizable contingent of Congressional Rs who seemed to want a repudiation of US debt as an end in itself?

The Rs have always had their extreme wingnuts, and it isn't clear that they're more extreme this year, at least in their beliefs and ideology.  But, on any number of fronts, they seem much more willing to act on those extreme beliefs.  That "Yes, we can!" message seems to have gotten through to them, if less so to our side (Well, you could argue that disparity has lessened since OWS has kicked in.).

That's the difference between the Tea Party we have this year, and those prior years when we had the same radical winger elements of the R base, but they lacked a movement, they lacked any sort of organization or focus of potential organization and action apart from the regular party structure.  They had no alternative in 1996 and 2008 but rally in the end behind the RINO establishment candidates.  This year they have an alternative.  The Tea Party has already taken over many state party organizations.  

Suppose this standoff between Romney and Anybody Else persists into the early primary season, and it becomes reasonable for people to conclude that no candidate is running away with the nomination.  Why wouldn't the True Believers, at least and especially in those states where Teabaggers control the party, go the route of lining up delegates committed only to some "favorite son", who may or may not be one of the nutbars now running against Romney, if only to retain leverage to extract concessions from Romney at the convention, but quite possibly, to unite behind a "real" R when Romney fails to get a first-round win.  

And, of course, once it seems at all possible that there won't be a lock this year, and the Baggers start arming themselves for a brokered convention, then all factions of the party will jump into this process of trying to get in delegates with an eye to controlling the nomination.  The fundies, for example, though usually willing to settle in the end and fall in line for someone the other factions insist is more electable, will not have a line to fall into, the more it seems that Romney isn't going to get to 51% of delegates, and other factions like the Baggers are organizing to make sure of that.    

The "moderates" within the party will have this added reason to pursue lining up moderate delegates, that they will flatter themselves that a brokered convention is the only way to get someone electable nominated, someone to sub for the flawed and failed Romney.  Trying to get a "moderate" into the primary circuit will just expose them to weeks and months of ideological attack from the Right that, as we have seen, even a Rick Perry is vulnerable to.  If the primary route is the only way to get the nomination, well, they just have to go that route or give up.  But if a brokered convention seems at all possible, then it becomes the clearly preferable route.  Better to foist their moderate White Knight on the party at the last minute as a convention dark horse after Romney fails to win on the first ballot, because there won't be time for their crazies to do the oppo research to discover in their past some horrible secret vice such as a momentary show of half-way reasonableness towards brown people.

We actually have potential power brokers on the R side this year, which the parties haven't had for decades, since the old party and city machines died off.  I doubt that these people would actually be able to broker a deal and get behind a compromise candidate.  The ideological divide is arguably steeper, but more importantly, if we do have these competing factions of "moderate" and floridly crazy delegates and their power brokers, the very newness of that situation will mean that the leaders won't feel they have any room for compromise.  They will have to be unyielding in order to establish the coherence and stability of their separate sources of authority within the wider party and movement, and their personal leadership within those factions.  Maybe after the new arrangment has been around a while, they would be able to settle into the compromises needed to broker deals, but not this year.

Sure, all these hypothetical dynamics will probably fail to materialize.  Things generally do work out this year the same way they did last time at bat.  Well, until the year they don't, and then they start happening according to a new pattern.

Has this seemed so far to be the kind of year when the old rules of politics fail?  

Originally posted to gtomkins on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 06:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Pukes may just reflexively unite (18+ / 0-)

    behind one candidate, with Romney being the general favorite, but once in a while History plays a more random card, and it's possible the GOP could have a nasty, highly divisive convention floor melee between two or three candidates.  

    Which would be fine with me.  

    If Cain is unable to hold first-tier status and Perry does not rebound, the fundie nutbag base is going to have to settle for Romney, whom they can't stand.  

    If they eventually do unite around Romney, it sure won't be out of love.

    •  The Baggers are the wild card this year (27+ / 0-)

      The fundies always cave because they understand that they are seen as extremists in the wider society, and that they can't be purists because the R candidate has to appeal to a whole lot of very worldly people to get to 50%+1 votes.  That doesn't conflict at all with their self-image because the whole point of fundamantalism is precisely that the Godly are always only a tiny, embattled minority working in an ocean of worldly sinners.

      The other long-standing factions of R extremists may not have quite the same long tradition to fall back on in explaining why their various pure visions can't be realized in whole and immediately, but all of them have some sort of mythology in place explaining why only the select few are right thinkers, therefore Right thought has to be realisitc and make compromises in a democracy.

      My idea, agree with it or not, is that the Tea Baggers don't fall into that pattern.  They seem to have no fear of appearing extreme themselves, or insisting that their party follow them off the cliff into previously unthinkably extreme positions.  They laugh at the idea that SocSec is the third rail of American politics.  The Rs under Gingrich shut down the govt before, but at that time they were all in it purely for the hostage-taking.  The Rs of that time didn't want the govt shut down, they just wanted whatever concessions they could get n exchange for letting the govt start back up.  But many of the Bagger Congresscritters actually wanted a govt shutdown as an end in itself, and said so to open mikes.

      The baggers may be no more extreme in their beliefs than the fundies, or the Men's Hair Club for Growth, or any of the other factions that make up the R zoo.  But they sure are more extreme in their actions.  Guys and gals who don't turn a hair at the prospect of causing the US to repudiate debt can't be relied on to fall in line behind some RINO just because their moderate RINOs, whom they detest even more than they hate us, announce that only a RINO can win the general.  Sure it could happen, they might end up acting in no more  assertive fashion than the fundies or the rest of the zoo animals, but I wouldn't bet on it.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 07:28:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see the distincitons you make (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DaleA, highacidity, Kimball Cross

        among the Republican "faithful."

        Agree also on the differences in lengths of traditions per faction.  That seems especially true in the history of the Iowa caucuses.  

      •  It may also be (5+ / 0-)

        that the authoritarianism on which the repubs depend has gone feral at last.

        They all defer to authority until that power is seen to have weakened, then they rush off looking for the next authority to submit to.

        But when that authority is not yet clear they cast about grabbing at anything that might be it.

        In a way it doesn't matter who is in the mix when the mass craves to be told what to think. When there are enough voices all claiming to be that authority they suffer some kind of cognitive overload because they have foregone the will and the ability to think for themselves. Right now they need to be able to listen, evaluate and distinguish among alternatives for themselves and it is the absence of those very qualities that makes them republicans in the first place.

        I think you are right, if not now, then soon, this party is begging to splinter into a dozen shards. If they don't do it in the lead-up to the election, then the bloodletting after it will be the coup de grace.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 01:11:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is the 'mix' ripe for a demagogue? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          I have to think that if Rick Perry wasn't didn't have a C- brain or if Herman Cain was white, and either had the gift of oratory that Obama obviously has, we'd be in serious trouble.  Perhaps on an historical scale, given authoritarian government's penchant for causing international trouble.

      •  Tipped for the line (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gtomkins

        "Men's Hair Club for Growth". LOL!

        If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

        by MikePhoenix on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:12:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not really a joke (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MikePhoenix

          These two groups have a membership that overlaps tremendously.  The main difference is that the group that Toomey used to head also has a lot of Grecian Formula guys and toupee guys in addition to its hair growth guys.

          We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

          by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 09:25:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Baptists won't want a Mormon. (5+ / 0-)

      When Wall St. money starts flowing to Perry, it'll be his.

      "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

      by Mogolori on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 10:02:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Republicans didn't do themselves any favors (5+ / 0-)

      at their last debate spectacle.  They looked real bad - the lot of them.  It was exceedingly difficult to identify the adult in the room.

      I refuse to believe that Corporations are People until Texas executes one.

      by thenekkidtruth on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:06:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No. This is a phony controversy. (12+ / 0-)

    The strategy is to have a new front runner every few weeks, to make it look like a horse race and to parade the supposed diversity of the party.

    It's Romney, always has been Romney, and will be Romney.

    This is all about dominating headlines while the President is out trying to get just a fraction of the attention for jobs.

    I am waiting in my car, I am waiting in this bar, I am waiting on your essence. - Lucinda Williams

    by Bensdad on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 07:35:12 PM PDT

    •  No one is crazy enough to act that crazy (17+ / 0-)

      I'm usually all for the most cynical and paranoid explanation of events, but I think your idea is just too neat and pat to hold up as an explanation for the R process so far this year.

      If this were all an act, surely they would have hired better actors.  I haven't been able to stay with any of these debates for long, despite the expected entertainment value of one or another of them saying something really awful.  They must be really, really excruciating for anyone who actually believes in the other side's cause.

      And if these things were just theater, surely they would pack the halls with a better audience.

      Sure, you might see some benefit for their side from having many different other candidates than Romney each have their 15 minutes as the front-runner.  But whatever credit they're going to get among black voters, say, from Cain's rise, is going to be lost, perhaps with interest, after Cain's equally meteoric fall.  And for that dubious benefit, they have to subject their "real" candidate to months of very public electile dysfunction, the very humiliating inability to seal the deal with the R electorate.  Presidents are supposed to project calm command and mastery.  You really think they would purposefully put their real nominee in room after room with this bunch of ADD rejects from the normal kids' kindegarten homeroom?  If they did that, perhaps for contrast, they surely wouldn't let their guy get tomato sauce rubbed into his hair on live TV every week or so by the special needs kids.

      I agree that Romney is probably going to be their nominee.  But the heartfelt desire of their base to deny him that nomination is obviously not at all fake.  No reasonable person would set out to fake that reluctance if it didn't really exist, in hopes of gaining the very dubious benefit of running a flavor of the week parade of frontrunners.  That's assuming that "they" could pull this off even if they wanted to, which they don't.

      In some ways it's comforting to imagine that this craziness we're seeing this year has some ulterior explanation, that it's all the doing of some stringpuller somewhere.  Malevolent order can be less terrifying than facing the prospect that there is no order behind the chaos, that the other party really has jumped the tracks this year, and is completely out of control.  At this point, I have to vote for total loss of control, chaos, as more likely an explanation than devious stringpulling.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 08:14:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Eh, it sells cornflakes (5+ / 0-)

        to have it look like a race. If the press doesn't get a up-set at every confrontation, they have to manufacture one.

        Stop looking at this as serious electoral politics.

        Look at it as a season on the WWF circuit.

        They use the same caliber of actors, and the same ( near as I can tell) audiences. Plotlines make about as much sense.

        And Oh! does the money flow.

      •  Be as cynical as you want (6+ / 0-)

        Seriously.  22 Presidential debates, promoted by Fox and CNN? If this isn't a way to dominate the news cycle and blot out the real stuff, I don't know what it is.

        All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

        by Dave in Northridge on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:52:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not only that. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bensdad, gtomkins

          The ridiculous chain of fake debates is a way to get the pastiche of conservative policy bumperstickers in the public mind and give them a sheen of legitimacy. By the time the election rolls around, voters will be looking at the difference between a couple of conservative policies thinking that's all the choice there is and progressivism will vanish yet again.

          On, #Wisconsin! On, #Wisconsin! Stand up, Badgers, sing! "Forward" is our driving spirit, Loyal voices ring.

          by Mr Bojangles on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 12:41:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  On the other hand (0+ / 0-)

            It seems equally plausible to me to say that this never-ending parade of crazy vs crazier is establishing that the full spectrum of ideas that the Republicans have to offer only stretches from Insane to Demented.  They're busy establishing their brand, these debates are clearly marked "Republican".  

            They're only defining the Republican spectrum of thought, not the nation's.

            We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

            by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:41:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Making it up in volume (0+ / 0-)

          According to the old joke, his accountant pointed out to the hapless merchant that he was losing $1 on every item of a certain product that he sold.  "Don't worry!", was the reply, "We'll make it up in volume."

          Having 22 debates would be a great idea for them, if each one did their side even a little good.  But since they all make their side look like horses' rear ends...  You don't make it up in volume, you just dig the hole deeper.

          Again, if this were all an act, the act would be better staged and produced.

          We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

          by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:30:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The TeaParty has painted the GOoPers into a corner (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, Idaho07

        This is entirely new territory, and they just are not that resourceful.  Remember, Rove's bag of tricks only work when there is a cooperative audience.

        Education is an expensive luxury. Intellectual curiosity is free.

        by mojave mike on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:54:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Dark, Bensdad, gtomkins

        for the most part, although I feel that you're being overly harsh on ADD and special needs kids, who are pretty wonderful to work with, generally speaking.  I'm not sure how one might diagnose the occupants of the stage at the Republican debates, but it goes far beyond anything I'd call a learning disability!

        I'd say these prospective candidate "kids" weren't paying attention in kindergarten, when the teacher  explained the rules about sharing and being kind to one another.  They're still in the "ME! MINE!" stage, even when they know they're on camera.

    •  Bensdad - You're giving the GOP WAY (0+ / 0-)

      TOO much credit.

      •  Bush v. Gore... (0+ / 0-)

        ....George Bush, George Bush re-elected in 2004. George Bush trashes the economy and then hands it to Obama.

        Am I really?

        I am waiting in my car, I am waiting in this bar, I am waiting on your essence. - Lucinda Williams

        by Bensdad on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:17:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting. You're usually quite rude to me. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm surprised that I have to rec this.

      "It's Romney, always has been Romney, and will be Romney."

      Romney still is among the top in polling, and he still has Cain's money several times over, with the ability to self-finance even more.

      "Hahai nō ka ua i ka ululā'au" -- Hawaiian proverb.

      John Boehner? The sleaze bucket who hands out bribes from big tobacco on the House floor?

      by Nulwee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 09:41:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sure, if there were no primaries (6+ / 0-)

    but the "Republicans" are an authoritarian-loving people. Once a trend starts in the primaries they'll all follow.

    Plus, they're all cash driven. If a candidate starts to look like what they'd think is a winner, the money will dry up for everyone else.

    Having said that, a lot of the crazies are holding a grudge against the Repub establishment for nominating McCain and are vowing to fight 'til the end. Good for them! Bring a fight to the convention floor. That'd be great.

    oh, a sidenote...I put "Republicans" in quotes in the first sentence because, in a way, the current bunch is not Republican but Conservative and, thus, is a 3rd party right now!

    "Things are never so bad they can't get worse" - Dallasdoc

    by Shahryar on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 07:37:39 PM PDT

    •  No one doubts the power of the big Mo (6+ / 0-)

      Just to repeat what I said in the original post, yes, the likelihood is that the Rs will behave this year just as they have for every year in the very many years since we have had a convention open without the nominee already locked.   But the reason we have gone for so long without a single brokered convention, when they used to be not at all rare, is not at all clear.  And if you can't isolate that reason, if you don't know the factors at work, you can't have any real confidence that these factors haven't changed since the last time we did this.

      I don't disagree that the Rs can be said to have authoritarian tendencies as compared to the Ds.  But that is clearly not the explanation for the phenomenon of parties tending to fall in line at some point in the primary season, and unite behind one candidate before the convention, because the Ds do this as well.

      We describe the force that creates this eventual coalescence around a given candidate as "momentum".  Voters in the party tend to be drawn to the candidate who seems to most likely at the moment to win.  But giving it a name doesn't really explain it.  I think part of the explanation is as I mention in the main post, that there is anxiety that a convention without a lock won't be able to broker a nominee, because the parties don't really have power brokers any more to do the brokering.  But that's just a conjecture, and I wouldn't claim it's the whole explanation for the big Mo.

      Again, not to repeat the main post, but to perhaps capsulize my idea, the Tea Party may be immune to momentum because they don't want party unity, or rather, they value insisting on their way over party unity.  Their desired end state is not that everyone in the party come together to sing Kumbaya behind some RINO who notionally, because he stands for nothing, has some better chance at defeating Obama.  They don't believe in centrism, despite all the MSM types who try unceasingly to flatter them with the idea that they are centrists.  I think they might prefer to heighten the contradictions even if that isn't the conventional way to win presidential elections.  They despise the conventional way.  They might even prefer to lose, if only they can lose in a spectacular way that will bring down the whole rotten structure.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 08:36:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The baggers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eztempo

        may be immune to momentum because they don't understand its function as you explain it.

        Part of that is that they don't do history. These people are Year Zero types for whom the whole of previous history is a nullity and, incidentally, for hom the future is already written in their favour so it doesn't matter WHAT they do, the outcome is assured.

        Baggers may be the apogee of the entitlement society.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 01:17:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Brokers" are there...among the establishment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gtomkins

        When you say, gtomkins, that "the parties don't really have power brokers any more to do the brokering" I have to respectfully disagree -- though you are certainly pointing to a real phenomenon in the Republican Party, I think.

        The new(ish) power brokers -- Karl Rove, Dick Armey, Jim DeMint is trying to horn in -- will be joined by the old guard:  Grover Norquist,  Haley Barbour & the cast from Geo. H.W. Bush's days, plus "W"'s fundraisers and wake-followers, and more.  Hell, the Republicans have no dearth of power brokers willing to step into the vacuum should there be no clear "consensus" candidate coming from the primaries.  Problem is, none of 'em are so dominant as to put the fear of God ($money) into the others.  Rove is offset by the the easy money of the Koch faction, and DeMint and the Baggers feel they're untouchable because of their "grassroots" supporters (and 'social-issue' State committee fifth columners).  

        As you say, "the Tea Party may be immune to momentum because they don't want party unity, or rather, they value insisting on their way over party unity."  I'd guess that the dedicated Tea Partyist would rather destroy the Republican Party than have it nominate yet another "sell-out to liberalism" like McCain or Dole.  And the Establishment may just be willing to allow them a disastrous turn a la' Goldwater in 1964, simply to regain unchallenged control of the Party for 2016.

        It's going to make for a (potentially) interesting convention.

        •  What they broker (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo

          I was referring more narrowly to brokering convention votes.  That requires a different sort of stringpuller than the power brokers we have had more recently, these Roves, and Norquists and their ilk.  

          Your Rove doesn't succeed by leading any sort of troops, he isn't the head of any sort of machine that can deliver a city's or a state's voters or delegates.  Rove succeeds by leading leaders around by the nose, by cajoling and conning big politicians and big donors rather than leading an army of political foot soldiers.  Not that the generals Rove leads by the nose are less sheep-like than old-time ward heelers.  The latter seem to have been less susceptible to flattery and grandiose visions of their own place in the universe.  

          The folks who are picked to attend conventions these days aren't really picked with the idea of packing the halll with organized groups that will respond to some broker's strategizingf and orders.  The ticket to the convention is used as a sort of reward to donors, hard workers, and people the local or state party wants to flatter.  They aren't used to being led, and no one knows how to lead them.  I'm sure everyone involved would grope towards ad-libbing something that might allow a non-lock convention to be successfully brokered, but I am sure not optimistic about things going well on a tight schedule over a series of amateur nights.

          Whoever might emerge as brokers and leaders, and which groups might get the hang of being good followers first, I can't say I think it likely to be the Roves and the Norquists being the early leaders.  It would take a different skill-set for one thing, but the big problem early on is that loyalty and trust will be the rate-limiting step.  Roves and Norquists derive their ability to broker among the powerful from their reputations for slipperiness.  Even if they were naturals at delegate brokering, they have long reputations for slick practice to live down.

          We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

          by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:06:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  repubs are authoritarian... (6+ / 0-)

      but they have different and competing authorities this year. And there appears to be no consensus in who will win or who should cave.

      It could be a remarkable game of chicken.

      Mere passive citizenship is not enough. Men must be aggressive for what is right if government is to be saved from men who are aggressive for what is wrong. - Robert M. LaFollette

      by stcroix cheesehead on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 06:26:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bachmann says she's wont drop out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimball Cross, gtomkins

        She says she's going all the way to the end. i believe Cain has made a similiar statement. To be honest, the best thing the fringe could do if they want to take out Romney is for Cain and Perry to unite and run as a unit. Say that they will come as a pair. Cain has the grassroots support, Perry has the cash.

        •  Pawlenty also said the same thing for 5 minutes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          forester, eztempo

          Education is an expensive luxury. Intellectual curiosity is free.

          by mojave mike on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:55:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The difference (6+ / 0-)

            Is that Bachmann's is purely a vanity campaign at this point. She has to stay in because she is Michele Bachmann. If she drops out, she's done. The money dries up, the cameras go away. She has to stay on the stage until they yank her off with a crook because once this run is over, she's finished as a national level politician.

            •  Does this mean she doesn't run for her Congress (0+ / 0-)

              seat?  So we'll be done with her one way or another after next year's convention (unless, somehow, shudder, shudder, she actually is on the ticket to come out of the convention)?  At that point, however, she'd probably do her own bus tour and play like Sarah Palin, though I'd rather she just go Galt.

            •  Bachmann will become the next Harold Stassen (0+ / 0-)

              ...of the Republican Party.

              Now that she's tasted the adrenaline of a national run, she's never going to give it up.  She'll become even more pathetic than Ralph Nader, in that she has none of Nader's self-awareness.

        •  That would require (0+ / 0-)

          compromise, collegiality, collaboration and all those other co- words that are anathema to the authoritarian mindset.

          Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

          by Deep Dark on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 01:18:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They all potentially have the cash (0+ / 0-)

          In the post-Citizens United World, all it takes is one lone billionaire fanboy or fangirl to keep even the most mercurial presidential bid alive.

          One element contributing to the overall dynamic of "momentum" was undoubtedly that, once a candidate's prospects even started to slide, the big money guys, being more informed, would jump ship in an even more lock-step, group-think manner than the voters.  And you used to need big blocks of big money guys and gals, because no one of them could bankroll the whole operation, you needed a big group.

          The unravelling of momentum, once started, would acquire its own momentum.  The more possible a brokered convention looks because Romney fails to clinch it early, the more potentially valuable it becomes to control a few delegates.  And the lone billionaire does that by shelling out a comparative pittance to keep his pet wingnut in the game to the bitter end.  The returns on that investment, just in terms of deals wangled in exchange for votes even if the wingnut doesn't stand a real chance of becoming president, would be potentially enormous.  Not that there aren't all sorts of nutjob billionaires who might finance a fellow nutjob candidate to the bitter end even if there were no RoI at the end of the rainbow.

          We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

          by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:18:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Very much doubt it at this point (5+ / 0-)

    it will most likely be Romney and they will choose to gag a little when they vote just as they did for McCain, or else one non-Romney will become ascendent eventually and they will all rally for that candidate over all the others.  Of course nothing is impossible as the outcome, but a brokered convention seems very unlikely barring unforeseen developments.

    •  the scary thing is....Veep (5+ / 0-)

      just like McCain felt he had to choose that woman, Romney will have to pick some nut. I believe it will be Rubio but it could be even worse. "Ha", I hear you saying, "worse than Rubio? How could that be?" I don't know but I don't doubt that the Republicans are capable of finding a truly horrible VP candidate.

      "Things are never so bad they can't get worse" - Dallasdoc

      by Shahryar on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 07:52:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not taking bets (6+ / 0-)

      If I were betting, as I say in the original post, I probably would put my money just where you say to put it, on Romney getting the nod, and after only the usual level of drama queen posturing by R crazies over having to compromise their sacred principals in favor of electability, etc.

      My whole point is that the Baggers don't seem to be cut from the usual mold of R extremist faction that talks big and bold, but when it comes down to a need to commit to equally bold action, gags and falls in line behind the RINO.  Their Congressional contingent has actually put their careers on the line with action backing up bold talk, to the point that I'm not at all sure they will revert to usual politico behavior in the nomination process.

      And once one faction fails to fall in line as usual, even the habitual gaggers and followers will revolt.

      Again, no one can put odds on changes in behavior whose causes we don't understand, but merely describe.  But just as we had brokered conventions on a frequent basis at one time, then that changed for reasons no one could explain, to no brokered conventions for generations, we could as easily revert to brokered.  Conventional wisdom bets that this year will go by the same rules as last year, and usually wins that bet.  But if it sticks with that bet indefinitely, the odds approach infinity to one that it will lose one day.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 08:53:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, I think they will end up with Newt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phillies, forester

    The baggers like him. I read Freerepublic every day. Right now, they are saying Cain/Newt, Newt/Cain.

    I actually think Newt is a scary candidate. He is articulate, has been around the block and can sound reasonable.

    Sometimes there is so much writing, you need a bigger wall.

    by pucklady on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:15:29 AM PDT

  •  Doesn't matter, they are evil and will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, NamelessGenXer

    pick someone evil.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:19:11 AM PDT

  •  T&R (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC

    even though I think a brokered convention is an unlikely outcome.

    Romney will win the nomination. He's got the MSM and establishment behind him. But I do believe that there will be tepid enthusiasm for him, and that Obama will be returned.

    Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit.

    by cultjake on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:23:22 AM PDT

  •  This is the brokering phase (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forester, Kimball Cross, gtomkins

    Among other things, the early primary calendar guarantees that the one who raises the most money wins the nomination. What really both parties have done is exchange the July-August of Year 4 system of hashing out a nominee at the convention, in part based on beauty-contest primaries in a small number of states, with a year three brokering in which debates and straw polls are used to impress donors, but also when donors make decisions  that will lock up who has the funds to do enough media and GOTV quickly in January, February and March.

    It is really a fluke that the Dems had a real contest last time. But the GOP really never wanted to replace having nominations decided behind the scenes, and this system I've described simply replaced the convention system.

    It's still brokering.

    Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

    by textus on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:45:29 AM PDT

    •  All those intermediate steps (0+ / 0-)

      There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.

      The problem with the idea that anyone designed the current way of doing things (I'm not going to call it a system, because I really don't think its features are at all systematic.) is that it leaves so many hard-to-control steps in between where you locate the brokering -- very early and among the money guys and gals -- and what still has to happen to win the nomination, x number of votes on the convention floor.  If you're even a little bit off in your calculation of the margin in some primary, you're off by dozens to hundreds in delegates.  And that's in primary elections whose unpredictable turnout make them much harder to predict, even the day before the election, much less back some time in Year 3 when they're lining up their early money.  Caucuses are even harder to control, more subject to centrifugal forces and the luck of who can be attracted to these even lower turn-out events.

      If there were any intelligence at work here that wanted to take the nomination decision out of the conventions' hands and place it anywhere else, they would have done a better job of it.  I see this as analogus to the so-called, and wrong-headedly so-called, Imperial Presidency vs Congress.  I think it much more realistic to see the process of power passing from Congress to president as that of an abdicating Congress than a grasping president.  We have abdicating conventions, abdicating parties, and their powerlessness has left a vacuum that has been filled by a willy-nilly non-system.  Of course non-systems favor the wealthy.  The less the Republic's affairs are managed by public institutions like legislatures and conventions, of course the more inertia throws them into the hands of the back-room boys and girls.  

      If this wasn't the work of inertia and entropy, if it had been a mechanism commissioned by the people with the money, the work would be more intelligently wrought, less Rube Goldberg-like.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:40:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, it does. Re your final question... (3+ / 0-)
    "Has this seemed so far to be the kind of year when the old rules of politics fail?"

    ...I honestly can no longer visualize a compromise GOP candidate behind whom a majority of the party can coalesce.  The best hope was Romney -- but I believe that hope disappeared on Tuesday night with Romney's unintentional admission that he'll do whatever he can to get elected.  Many people have pointed out that Mittens seemed to have a lid on his support -- I believe that Tuesday night soldered that lid onto the kettle.

    Your insight re 1860 is an excellent one -- the Tea Party wants to flex its muscles and to underscore its differences with mainstream politicians.  The other analogy is 1912, when TR broke with the Taft Republicans.  I think that a similar scenario is highly possible 100 years later.

    And surely the name Tea Party is at least as ludicrous as the Bull Moose Party?

    "Slip? Upset? In Utah! Trail, no! M. Romney? Odd! Elder, an A.M.C. man, a Red-led doyen! Mormon liar that unites pupils?"

    by Obama Amabo on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:49:14 AM PDT

  •  Nice diary. Thanks. It sounds like you're speaking (0+ / 0-)

    not writing.

    I'll tack to a tangent: the debates have been an audition for the corporate funders and the billionaires. Romney is the one most like themselves so he has already won the nomination.

  •  Never happen (0+ / 0-)

    Party unity is one thing the GOP is really, really good at, and they know it and they are counting on it. We could, frankly, take a lesson from them.

  •  No Convention Dark Horse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pademocrat

    It is highly unlikely that the delegates would line up behind someone who hadn't been running up to the convention. Because of how the GOP allocates its delegates, it is very easy to get to the 50%+1 mark in delegates early on. The problem for Romney is that that the earliest states are basically a wash for him. He will lose Iowa and South Carolina. He'll win New Hampshire and Nevada. What will be interesting is what happens after those states. If Romney doesn't finish 1st in New Hampshire and Nevada, I don't see how he keeps going. Right now he has momentum because he seems inevitable. When he starts losing contests, that will fade

  •  What the baggers will soon discover (5+ / 0-)

    is exactly who is paying for all their free bus rides and box lunches.

    •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimball Cross

      The Baggers may do what they are told because that is what they want, to be told what to think and do.

      If so, we will be able to pretty much see the moment when they all shift in lockstep to the new truth.

      The more I think about them, them more I hear echoes of Maoist China and Animal Farm

      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

      by Deep Dark on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 01:49:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but (0+ / 0-)

      In this new Citizens United world, it is much easier for a much smaller set of rich people to buy up the franchise and start picking up the Tea Party tab, even if the original patrons don't like the direction the Baggers are taking.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:44:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Jeb Bush will emerge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cazcee, drmah

    As the "adult" in the GOP.  He may begin edging out and into the debate soon, altho not as an official candidate until as late as possible.  There is still a lot of big money in the Bush family rolodex, and Citizens United money that hasn't yet found a GOP candidate. After the GOP Klown Kollege has done its thing with these demeaning "debates", Jeb is going to look like JC to both the Tea Party and the right wing business community. He's an experienced ex-governor of a big state, very conservative socially, very pro-business. I've never understood why he wasn't one of the primo GOP candidates to begin with. Granted, his last name is Bush, but the AMerican public has the memory of a fruit fly, so he should be able to get beyond that unfortunate association in about a week of active campaigning.

  •  R's have it easier than D's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross

    since R's don't have "fair reflection" and needn't have proportional primaries.

    They'll either all jump behind Romney at the convention, they'll punish a line jumper or they'll switch rules midstream to work to a definitive outcome.

    Number 1 thing I do not want to hear: "Are you satisfied" (uttered by Chuck Todd).

    by AZphilosopher on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:41:03 AM PDT

  •  Follow the Money (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forester, Idaho07, drmah

    Tea Baggers are not who will decide the election.  As we have seen over the last couple of weeks, the Tea Baggers are going to vote for the wack job who can take down Mittens.

    Once the other not-Mittens start to run out of funds, they can rally about the last man standing.  (It is going to be Perry, he has the money.)

    After Super Tuesday it will be Mitch vs. Other (Perry) and the establishment will make sure there is one winner.  They may not get their favorite, but know that a brokered convention is an auto-win for Obama and will settle on Perry.

    That being said, the brokered convention is more likely this year than any year in a long time.  (Obama - Clinton was never going to happen, with just 2 candidates the party elders will make sure it won't.  Don't forget the Super Delegates, that is why they are there.)

    Great dairy!

    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

    by Edge PA on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:20:25 AM PDT

  •  I've been saying this for weeks - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40

    Koch brothers are keeping Cain alive to split the vote so no-one goes to the convention with enough delegates. Cain isn't electable, the right hates Romney and Perry is, well, missing in action. He however is the one I fear the most - total empty suit & with a billion dollar warchest. Who else is there? I keep wondering.

  •  Food for thought..... (0+ / 0-)

    The clock is ticking.  As we approach the actual primaries, and the front-runner(s) have not expanded their base of support, panic will ensue.  The hail-mary's will begin.  GOoPers always seem to be caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.  This time, it's serious.  The only option will may to lurch further to the Right.  Pledge to bomb Iran; pledge to incarcerate Liberals; pledge to end taxation completely (0-0-0); you get the picture.  In other words, do a Goldwater.  Remember how that worked out for them?

    Education is an expensive luxury. Intellectual curiosity is free.

    by mojave mike on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:49:38 AM PDT

  •  If it's Perry. . . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, forester, Kimball Cross

    then, you know there will be no Presidential Debates next year.  Can you imagine:  Obama - Perry

    You could never call it a Debate, even if they decided to put the two together on a platform and ask them both questions.  Perry would never be able to answer a question!

  •  Excellent analysis and, yes, I'm also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV, Kimball Cross

    one of those who've been saying this for weeks. I think the odds are that Mittens gets the nom BUT I think the odds are only 50-50.  You are totally on the money when you say that the "wild card" is the Baggers.  As you say, they have no fear of looking or being too extreme. They just don't care; their level of nilism is extreme.

    Even if there isn't a brokered convention, Mittens will be very weakened by the time he gets the nom.  The people here who say that Mittens will be a formidable opponent to POTUS might be correct if it weren't for the fact that Mittens has to fight off HIS OWN SIDE first.  Once he goes over the finish line, he gets to fight off our side as well and he just isn't that strong of a candidate.

    T&R'd for a really quality diary.

  •  Brokered? maybe - BroKEN? Unquestionably nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    diffrntdrummr

    For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

    by dagnome on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 10:40:20 AM PDT

  •  my hunch is that huckabee could emerge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Kimball Cross

    from just such a situation.

  •  Well, of the top 2, both are a huge problem. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson

    Since they don't care for the Half black man they have now, the white GOP won't want Cain and the Evangelicals won't want Willard. Since most of the GOP is white and so called Christian, it won't be these 2. A brokered convention is very possible.

  •  Isn't The Convention Next Year? -n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins
    •  Excellent point (0+ / 0-)

      And the stongest objection anyone has yet raised to my post.  Yes, it is way too early for rational people to be thinking seriously about the conventions.

      But we can't help it!  We don't think and argue about politics to live, we live to think and argue about politics!

      We're not rational.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:50:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's hard to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins

    ...how the R's can get any broker than they already are.

    On, #Wisconsin! On, #Wisconsin! Stand up, Badgers, sing! "Forward" is our driving spirit, Loyal voices ring.

    by Mr Bojangles on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 12:30:50 PM PDT

    •  A truly vile pun (0+ / 0-)

      At the risk of violating the proprieties of comedy, whose best jokes were all told before the pyramids were built, is it original?

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:52:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For the record, I have my marker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    down on predicting a massive floor fight at the republican convention, here.

    This will be short.  I am putting my marker down on a prediction. At the Republican convention, there will be a massive floor fight between the moderate and tea-party wings of the republican party.  Romney is going to end up with the most delegates, but not a majority of the delegates.  It will then turn into a fight amongst the tea party delegates as to which of the crazies (Bachman, Perry, Palin, etc) gets their vote.  In the end, Romney will be passed over by the combined votes of the crazies.

    For the record, I made my prediction on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 12:22 PM PDT.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 12:56:34 PM PDT

  •  A "deadlocked" convention is how Christie gets in. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    If the Tea Partiers insist upon holding out through the primaries, and they deny Romney a lock before the convention opens, there's going to be a serious "Draft Christie" movement on the floor and I wouldn't be surprised to learn the signs are already printed up.

  •  no (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    ...there is no Republican convention scheduled this year...however, there may well be a deadlocked convention next year, if things continue down the path they are going in now...So far in this presidential election cycle, the Republicans have had different winners...Michelle Bachmann in the Iowa straw poll, then Herman Cain in another straw poll (was if Florida?), while the leader in the national polls has also changed...Mitt Romney was at the top of the heap, then Michelle Bachmann, then Rick Perry and now Herman Cain...

    ...once the momentum gets going during the primary season, especially with the Republican Party's preference for "winner-take-all" primaries, it's possible that the stampede will all start going in one directly after the first three or four contests...

    ...although, it does seem quite possible that someone wins Iowa, someone else wins NH, someone else wins SC and someone else wins FLA...if that's the case, the contest could go on for a long time...which would be ideal, in terms of forcing Republicans to split up their resources and energy for a long time...

    ...if there is a deadlocked convention (i.e. nobody has a majority of delegates) by the time the convention rolls around, my guess is that the Bush's pull out another one by putting the fix in for Jeb.

  •  Republican primary rules make this unlikely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Kimball Cross

    Remember, most GOP primaries are winner-take-all, or something very close to it.  Romney doesn't have to have overwhelming support.  Once he ekes out a few slim victories with a plurality, he'll have built a near-insurmountable lead in the delegate count, and that'll be all-she-wrote.

    There has been some talk about making Republican primaries more proportional, but from what I understand, they're half-assing it, and the winner's slice will still be huge.

    ------RM

  •  Brokered convention? Maybe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Kimball Cross

    But it's far too soon to say yet.
    I've been thinking that a deadlocked convention may be a possibility, but, as has been mentioned, the Repubs' primaries are winner-takes-all.

    There are a lot of wild cards right now:
    - Palin's implosion left a reverberating shock wave in the Teabaggers and the far right. I believe she was truly the White Knight they hoped for, even though she peaked early. Given that the convention is still a long way off, by then, rested and refreshed, Palin may be agreeable to being drafted. Sign From God and all that. She remains a wild card to me for sure, at least for some months to come.

    - The Kocks very seldom tip their hand, and neither do some of the other Big Money outfits. Lord only knows what hanky-panky they're up to, but I'm sure they're viewing things in a longer term than the noisemakers are.

    - There could be a timely agreement between a Prez/V.P. between 2 candidates if one of them agrees to take the V.P. slot. I can see the possibility of Romney & Cain doing this down the road, or a couple of other possible pairs.

    - No one knows yet what OWS is going to produce in the months to come. While the Repubs haven't caught on to it yet, I think it's a possibility they could jump on the wagon. If so, anything is possible. OWS is gaining remarkable strength, remarkably fast. The Teabaggers did the same in '08, and that model of fighting the old guard is still very popular in the right wing.

    - illegal immigration is going to fly home and roost in the next election. While the Repubs are the black hats right now, a lot of Hispanics are conservative in their ways, and they could be the big swing vote for either party. There is still enough time for the Repubs to turn their present stupidity around on this, and Obama has failed to live up to his '08 promises regarding immigration.
    But if the Democrats make a hard sustained push for immigration reform, they would go our way. There is nothing like genuine fear to motivate a potential voter base, and the Repubs are handing that issue to us, big-time.

    I think any/all of the above could produce a deadlock or a brokerage, or could just as easily create a quick convention.  I also think that if a fractious convention happens, there could be a lot of disenchanted Repubs who just stay home, as the Dems did in 2010.

    Right many are called, and damn few are chosen.

    by Idaho07 on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 03:01:36 PM PDT

  •  The power brokers and old white boys (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    are letting the clown show run its course so that no one is looking behind curtain #3.

    What is behind that curtain is somebody like Jeb Bush, someone who is a total neonazicon with a good cosmetic job so he looks like a nice guy.

    Somebody like that can beat Obama, they could our raise Obama and get moderate and virtually all the conservative votes except for the most wingnuttyest of the farthest right.

    They will not let one of the clowns own their party for the next two to four years.

  •  If Republican convention is brokered I want the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins

    popcorn concessions.

    •  Go for the gun concession (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah

      I am predicitng that, not only will it be a brokered convention, it will be the first and last convention in which delegates are allowed to bear arms on the convention floor.  Hell, they may REQUIRE delegates to carry.  Just to show everybody their undying fealty to the NRA, and because it will give Ds fits and paroxysms.  If it's good enough for churches and bars, both locales that red states have opened to open carrying in the last few years, it's plenty good enough for the convention.

      Of course it will end badly.  But before the End, before the grand wingnut apocalyptic shoot-out that both caps the convention and pops its cap, the gun concession on the floor will do land office business.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 09:02:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I expect one candidate or another to eliminate (0+ / 0-)

    his rivals (note) on or soon after Super Tuesday and coast to the nomination.

    (note) - I said "his" because I'm sure the winning candidate won't be Michele Bachmann.

    For relevant sci-fi and fantasy, go to http://www.betty-cross-author.net/

    by Kimball Cross on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:59:34 PM PDT

  •  No (0+ / 0-)

    The Far Right will go nuts as Perry implodes over the coming months, and nominate Romney. Romney after all is the next old white guy and the Republicans always nominate the next in line.

  •  Not going to be brokered. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins

    Republican allocate their delegates in a less proportional manner than Democrats do.  Some states are winner-take-all.  Others are winner-take-all at the district level.  

    This means that the candidate with a plurality wins everything.  If Mittens gets 26%, Perry gets 25% and the rest of the field split 49% in chunks all under 25%, Mitt gets everything.  

    Remember that the blue states send forth Republican delegates, even if they have few Republicans representing them in Congress.  These are Romney votes.  Democrats crossing party lines to defend a "RINO" against the Koch minions will probably vote for Romney if they favor a continuation of the Republic should Obama lose in 2012.  

    That means Romney will be chosen in 2012.  Angry Tea Partiers will do as they're told, especially the ones whose real objection is to the President's skin color.  

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 05:37:55 PM PDT

    •  I think a third party spoiler is possible (0+ / 0-)

      If it's Romney especially, I think a third party run (Bachman-Santorum, say) is quite likely.

      "The majority of a single vote is as sacred as if unanimous." - Thomas Jefferson

      by cartwrightdale on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:10:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but (0+ / 0-)

      It works the other way, too.  In state A, Romney takes 26%, Perry 25% and Romney gets 100% of delegates.  But next door in state B, it's Perry who gets that 26% and gets 100% of delegates.  Winner-take-all amplifies a small lead only if that lead is consistent from state to state, and if there are only two candidates.  Romney could easily be the overall top vote getter of all 50 states taken together, but if he gets bad regional breaks, could easily wind up with not a single delegate, if he is second everywhere, but first in no state.  That's how the Dems lost the 1860 election in an EC landslide, despite getting 60% of the popular vote.

      But this is a many candidate year, and there are huge regional differences.  And those blue states Romney is more likely to carry, get penalized in their delegation size for not voting red last election.  Perry and other wingnuts will benefit from winner-take-all in states with outsized delegations.

      Look, if momentum kicks in as it has for generations, it doesn't matter if there's winner take all or proportional allocation of delegates, the candidate with the momentum wins a lock.  The Dems and their proportional have had a lock every bit as often lately as the Reps and their winner take all.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 09:17:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It'll be Richard Nixon on the 17th ballot. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins

    But, boy, bringing him back will be very expensive.

  •  Pointless even to speculate. (Yet.) (0+ / 0-)

    Every campaign (in either party) with no incumbent spawns the same speculation. Polls this early are meaningless.

    The only sensible answer until around February or March is: "probably not, but it's too soon to draw any firm conclusions."

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:39:27 PM PDT

  •  i certainly hope so (0+ / 0-)

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:15:35 PM PDT

  •  Romney will win in a walk. (0+ / 0-)

    But his total primary votes will be small.  Remember, Hillary Clinton regularly got more votes than McCain in primaries.  In other words, you can look at total primary votes as a barometer of enthusiasm.

    To Dare is to Do!...Tottenham Hotspur slogan

    by randyhauser on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 12:45:21 AM PDT

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