Could 2016 finally be the year of the brokered convention?! Mike Hunt Ray Rice thinks it might be, but Hanley is skeptical:
That scenario assumes the candidate isn’t determined prior to the convention. While the sheer number of candidates increases that probability, let’s remember that 1) it hasn’t happened in the modern primary era, and 2) we’re still a year away from the convention, and 5-6 months away from the first primaries (god willing and the states don’t go crazy). Candidates are going to start disappearing from any real consideration before that first convention, and then money will stop flowing to those who show poorly early on and redirect to the candidate the money likes, most likely producing a winner before the last primaries (unless all the states suddenly compress them so tightly there’s no time for that process to take place).
While recognizing the mathematical possibility of a brokered convention, I’d wager against it.
So would I. But I’d wager against it just a little bit less than usual, if Trump sticks around. Which I would also bet against, but things are not going According To Plan. And Trump has the potential – albeit a very unlikely one – to keep all of the oxygen out of the room until Iowa. He can keep the frontrunner seat warm, with little danger of other candidates being intimidated.The most important thing is that Trump will not get the air of inevitability a leader would, if he is on top. That will encourage more candidates to try to stick around because the writing won’t be as clearly on the wall. Fundraising will push some candidates out almost immediately, but it’s easy to imagine an unusual number saying “Hold on until Super Tuesday, then I’ll show them!” and nobody will know what to do because of the Trump factor. So even if we wins Iowa and New Hampshire, you’re probably looking at at least three other candidates and maybe more. (There were four enduring candidates in 2012, including Ron Paul.)
The second most important thing is that the natural nominee is somebody that almost nobody has confidence in. There was definitely a dearth of confidence in Mitt Romney, but (a) not this much and (b) there were no other viable candidates. If Bush can’t convince people that he is Their Guy – which I think is possible – there is no other logical successor.
This is especially true given the oddity of the schedule. Won’t everyone coalesce around the most popular not-Trump? That assumes any sort of consistency, and the early schedule has one state that plays to the strengths of other candidates. Scott Walker is in a good position to be the top NTC in Iowa, Jeb or Kasich in New Hampshire, Cruz in South Carolina, and Rubio in Nevada. After that all hell breaks loose on Super Tuesday with a lot of delegates proportionally assigned. This is also where Trump is likely to struggle if his campaign has been going well up to this point.
Now, most likely Super Tuesday will declare the top NTC. In 2012, it sort of set up Santorum as the primary anti-Romney, but Gingrich still hung in there. Things could drag on. Especially if it’s one of those things where Jeb kinda does well enough to hang around but not well enough to inspire confidence, leaving hope for Kasich, Walker, or Rubio boosters. And since Trump does have the air of invincibility, he can be leading and have it still be considered a wide open race. (If somebody else is leading, it’s over.) If there’s much more dithering after that, and Trump does not have a majority…
All of this is very unlikely, of course. But short of the death of a frontrunner, this is the closest to a plausible scenario I have ever been able to really imagine. The combination of Trump and Jeb with potentially low ceilings make everything more complicated. So, too, may the proliferation of candidates, but I don’t expect that to last.
And even more glorious than anything? We could go into a brokered convention having no idea at all knowing who is going to win.
My money would be on Mitt Romney.
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