Thursday, February 11, 2016


This is not a post about Marco Rubio -- I've done enough of those lately -- although Rubio figures prominently in it. His campaign is not the only one talking like this:
... Marco Rubio suddenly faces a path to his party's presidential nomination that could require a brokered national convention.

That's according to Rubio's campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, who told The Associated Press that this week's disappointing performance in New Hampshire will extend the Republican nomination fight for another three months, if not longer....

"We very easily could be looking at May -- or the convention," Sullivan said aboard Rubio's charter jet from New Hampshire to South Carolina on Wednesday. "I would be surprised if it's not May or the convention."
This echoes what former senator Judd Gregg, a Jeb Bush backer, told The New York Times immediately after the New Hampshire primary:
Former Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said Republican voters would either coalesce behind a single challenger to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz after the South Carolina primary or risk a free-for-all stretched out over 50 states. “We’ll know after South Carolina,” said Mr. Gregg, who is a Bush supporter. “I mean, if four people come out of South Carolina, we’re into a brokered convention.”
I know, I know: These are backers of two candidates hanging on by their fingernails. But it's conceivable that the two of them might persist, and make some headway, while Ted Cruz and Donald Trump also fight it out. Would Establishment donors keep funding Bush and Rubio in the desperate hope of forcing a brokered convention? Could they pull that off?

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, it turns out that the blowout in New Hampshire was actually a tie:
Hillary Clinton is expected to leave New Hampshire with just as many delegates as Bernie Sanders, even after he crushed her in Tuesday’s presidential primary.

Sanders won 15 delegates with his 20-point victory Tuesday while Clinton won nine.

But Clinton came into the contest with the support of six superdelegates, who are state party insiders given the freedom to support any candidate they choose.
I still think Hillary Clinton is the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, just as I think it's going to be Trump or Cruz on the first ballot for Republicans. But what if Sanders gets close, but not close enough? Could Clinton win just on the basis of superdelegates?

Chris Hayes thinks that possibility would set off a wave of outrage:

These are highly unlikely scenarios -- Clinton put over the top by superdelegates and Bush or Rubio (or Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or...) picked by a brokered Republican convention. But they're theoretically possible. Maybe they add up to the across-the-board political system failure we deserve.


Charon04 said...

If you look at the actual rules that govern the GOP side's so-called "proportional" primaries, many or most are likely to eventuate as winner-take-most" or even "winner-take-all" in terms of actual results when delegates are allocated.

My prediction: the GOP settles on either Trump or (less likely) Cruz pretty fast - Jeb or Rubio or brokered convention or whatever are unlikely fantasies.

Or course, there are legal precedents/case law that say that a citizen at birth by statute and not de solis is "naturalized" and not "natural born." So perhaps there might still be some popcorn worthy fun if Cruz prevails.

Ten Bears said...

While it is the Republicans that have proven they can only "win" by cheating, preloading "superdelegates" who've declared for the establishment candidate before the contest has even begun certainly sounds like stacking the deck to me. You know: cheating. Which is how Republicans "win".

I don't know Steve, but I think you may have just conceded my long aired point: Clinton will be the next president and all of this is naught but a facade to leave the rubes feeling as if they were somehow participant.

Unknown said...

I've been assured elsewhere in the blogosphere that the ability of the DNC superdelegates to thwart the popular will of the party - which is the reason they were created, after all - exists solely for its deterrent value and that the organization would never be foolhardy enough to risk its destruction by actually employing it. In other words: they are exactly like nuclear weapons.

If this is true, it seems an odd way to run a democracy. But in any case, can we be truly be that certain of the prudence of Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

Feud Turgidson said...

But 10 Bears, if we think of the quadrennial preznit selection process as having a sort of 'passion play' subtext of the nation coming together in as much agreement as it can muster to annoint the one most broadly acceptable self-debasing Great Pumpkin who's succeeded in convincing the broadest constituency of their 'sincerity', can it not also be argued that what's going on in the GOP camp is about as much participation as we have reason to hope for?

There's nothing necessarily WRONG with the nation waking up the morning after election day in broad general agreement that we did the expected thing. It may be BORING to consider, but, as we're learning, it's not a certainty that the process of getting to the boring outcome is itself boring - just kinda scary.

flipyrwhig said...

Whipping up paranoid fears to feed social media and blogosphere about the slimy depths to which Hillary Clinton is capable of sinking to win seems like a helpful thing for Team Bernie to spend its first day after New Hampshire doing.

Russell Laverty said...

Many of these superdelegates are Democratic officeholders who have a personal interest about who will be at the top of the ticket, so it seems reasonable for them to have more power over the choice.

Davis X. Machina said...

Sanders would certainly play hob with Hofstadter's three-legged head-of-state, head-of-government, head-of-party theory of the American presidency, considering he couldn't be head-of-party...