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Misleading Chatter about a “Brokered Convention”

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Man's hand down the ballot against the American flag

Commentators in mainstream media have begun speaking obsessively about a so-called “brokered convention”—acknowledging the possibility that no candidate will come to Cleveland with a majority of first ballot votes.

This is a misleading term, since there are no potential “brokers” who could dictate the outcome. The candidates themselves won’t exercise strict control of their delegates after the first ballot, and it will be up to those delegates to reach some consensus on a nominee who can unite the party. If Donald Trump comes to the convention with more delegates than his rivals but less than 50 percent, it still means a majority of delegates and the voters who selected them preferred another candidate—and could even turn to a surprise pick who remained untarnished in the bruising primaries.

Instead of the term “brokered convention” it’s more appropriate to talk about a “contested convention” or an “open convention”—which would be exciting and maybe even revitalizing for weary, wary Republicans.


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  1. David Nagle  •  Feb 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    When Trump dumped on "W" before the SC primary I believe he was trying to prove his theory about shooting someone in Times Square and still holding onto his followers, AND IT WORKED! Can anything stop this train wreck?

    • Franco  •  Feb 26, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      Who would you prefer to "stop this train wreck"?
      Who is your candidate of choice that will guarantee victory?

      • David Nagle  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 6:12 am

        Trump has already proven that no candidate can guarantee victory. He's appealing to the lowest common denominator of republican voters. Ted Cruz is just too slick for my taste. I don't trust him. My wish is that Marco Rubio finds a path to victory. He beats HRC in most national polls unlike Trump who loses in all. And Trumps negatives are much too high. How can he win with numbers like that?

      • Ken Howes  •  Mar 9, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        There is no candidate who would guarantee victory. For one thing, any close election can be stolen by the Democrats, who have turned vote fraud into an art form. But Trump would almost guarantee not only defeat in the presidential election but disaster in the congressional elections. Rubio has tanked lately. Bush is out. Cruz has no strength outside the evangelical community. Kasich isn't trusted by Tea Party conservatives (though I like him). There may be someone, though, who could step up. Maybe Tim Scott? John Thune? John Cornyn?

  2. Franco  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 7:32 am

    So, you acknowledge that no candidate can guarantee victory, correct?
    And, you bring up a valid concern… However, how does a candidate win, when he can't secure a single victory in any state?
    I would be fine with Rubio, but he needs to earn the nomination, and so far he has shown no ability to do so.

    • David Nagle  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      We'll see what happens Tuesday

    • Jason  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Unfortunately nobody but Trump has shown that really (Iowa is essentially meaningless at this point). Trump is only winning because the rest of the field is so fragmented. Unfortunately it will probably remain that way and this clown will prevail. Unless Carson gets out (I think he's a good man but he is hurting the party and by extension the country right now and seriously he has no chance at this point). Kasich needs to drop also as his path is so unlikely it isn't worth the risk if he truly cares for this country). Then Rubio and Cruz need to get in a room and cut a deal, flip a coin, whatever. If Cruz wins Rubio gets Sec State, If Robio wins, Cruz get Supreme Court. We must stop Trump. He will lose to Hillary and probably take down the Senate at the same time. Not to mention the Supreme Court. He will set back the conservative movement for a quarter century.

  3. Kpar  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I think that Cruz is the true conservative, I would be OK with Rubio, and will vote for the Donald if he is the nominee, because for all my doubts about him, I have NO doubts about Hillary or Bernie.

    • David Nagle  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      I agree. I will support the GOP nominee. ANYBODY BUT HILLARY!

    • David Nagle  •  Feb 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      I don't believe Cruz is a true conservative. I agree with Michael. Cruz is for Cruz. I believe if Cruz had a guarantee of being elected POTUS as a liberal democrat he would switch parties in a New York minute.

    • Ty  •  Mar 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      This so called "contested" convention idea has practical problems.

      1) Why assume that if 60% of republican voters who went against Trump coalesced behind other candidates, Trump could not pick up enough of them to move to 51% of delegates?

      2) Even if the party did rally behind another candidate at the convention, what would happen to the Trump voters and Trump himself? Do you think they will go gently into that good night and support the republican nominee? Talk about a fifth column… it's looking like at least two fifths of the column are against the others for the structure of the building, and if they bolt, if Trump bolts and goes third party for "not being treated fairly" by being denied the parties nomination after getting far more actual votes than any other candidate then it's a doomsday scenario for the general election.

      3) Say it all works out at the "contested" convention. The forces of true conservatism and real scottsman unite and defeat the dark lord Trump, who would they rally behind? Out of the possible candidates, Cruz and Rubio are the strongest among republicans (Kasich is the strongest in the general but won't go anywhere in that party based on the center of mass of hollowed out thought). Between Cruz and Rubio, who would be more likely to take the crown in a contested convention? The best general election bet would be Rubio… but Cruz has won FAR more delegates than Rubio. Rubio just barely won a single state in Minnesota, the Walter Mondale state. Break out the champagne! But because of his relatively weak performance among conservatives, Cruz would seem to be a stronger choice among republicans.

      4) IF IT's Cruz, the election is still over, but perhaps that would be the best of all possible worlds. The republicans are going to lose 2016 regardless of whether they field Trump/Rubio/Cruz. The key question is what will be the consequences of each loss.

      -Trump Loss – he was never considered a "true conservative" and as such this was nothing more than a blip and a clown show to the conservatives in the party, business as usual, just prevent the Trumps from gaining steam earlier.

      -Rubio Loss – He is the more establishment conservative, and as such, the conservatives will blame the loss on not electing a "REAL" conservative like that blow hard with the obvious FAKE rage shtick Mark Levin keeps railing about (seriously, some of the talk audience eats that fake crap up like it' serious, god they are dumb). No lesson will be taken from this loss aside from conservatives being even FURTHER dug into the position of not electing a "rhino."

      -Cruz Loss – This is my personal favorite. Cruz has the LEAST chance of winning the general election, his loss would be the largest blowout by FAR as the VAST bulk of a nation rejects that smarmy lying weasel. He's like a more popular Alan Keyes without the frog voice and less charm. Cruz is the true champion of the ultra conservative "stupid wing" of the party, the wing that thinks they are faltering because they are not being conservative ENOUGH, that they are where they are because they chose NOT to continue lighting themselves on fire with more government shutdowns. The champion that would literally rather see the nation BURN than raise a single tax ever, make a single compromise ever.

      WHEN he loses, and the scale of the loss and devastation is fully realized, the lie and excuse that this brand of conservatism never had its day and chance will be burned away by the white hot reality of the Cruz failure in the general election. This is the ONE crucible that could have the power to generate some true soul searching among conservative ranks, no more hiding behind conspiracy theory and supposition (I am being a bit optimistic here, but I am an optimist).

      A cruz loss is the one thing that could lead to the salvation of the republican party, and it needs salvation. Not because it's not conservative enough, because it is infected with a large cancerous tumor that prevents it from some of the more reasonable compromises when it comes to governance and solving problems. This NEEDS to be burned out, and the funeral pyre of the Cruz campaign is the one spectacle that might have the power to achieve this.

      • Jason  •  Mar 3, 2016 at 3:32 pm

        You're right that this election is lost even if we do stop Trump. He will go third party and divide republican vote if he is denied the nomination at a contested convention. I think he likely will even if he is defeated in the actual delegate process. At the very least his supporters will sit out. I do think however that Rubio and possibly even Cruz could have united the party had not Bozo entered the race. He appeals to and plays on the fears of the worst elements of the party: people who are worried about the changing demographics of our country and see it as the source of the cultural rot they perceive all around them, the less overtly racist disaffected who see themselves as victims of an assault against traditional Americans, especially white Christians, and of course unrepentant and unashamed bigots. All candidates have people who support them for the wrong reasons but I'm genuinely surprised that so many in my party apparently fall into this category. I've spent much of my life arguing against the idea that people who hold traditional values are not bigots but are making principled argument. Sadly many are following a bigoted clown and this makes that argument hard to support.
        Trump's popularity has exposed this sad truth and will haunt the GOP for decades, assuming it survives at all. Rubio and Cruz's bombing away at Trump now is too late. Perhaps if they had done this earlier it might have mattered but now that the nation has seen millions supporting this fraud, the worst accusations made by liberals about republicans, Christians, and conservatives will seemingly be validated. Instead of taking on Trump early however the other candidates laid low expecting Trump to implode on his own and hoping to pick up his supporters. Shame on them. Not for not fighting but for even wanting those supporters.

        Now it is lost. And much more than an election. The domino effect of Hillary Clinton in the White House will likely be a democratic Congress, the permanence of Obamacare, and the full liberalization of the Supreme Court with its horrid implications for the rights of unborn children, religious liberty, and gun rights, just for starters. Add in the expansion of social programs, rising debt, and truly open borders.

        I don't trust anything Trump says as I believe he has no intention of following through on his outrageous promises ( which is mostly a good thing). Even if he were serious I cannot and will not vote for a fraud and a huckster. Not because he is an incompetent boob and a undignified ass (which should be enough) but because he is a bigot, a liar, and a bully. I will sit this one out and hope the country can hold on through four years of Hillary. Maybe in 2020, if the Republican Party somehow survived, we can get serious about winning an election and saving our country instead of having so much fun giving the esthe middle finger while whistling to the graveyard.

      • Curt  •  Mar 4, 2016 at 1:53 pm

        Wow, Ty. I actually totally agree with you.

  4. John  •  Mar 2, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Republican winning strategy
    Donald Trump could, hopefully, turn out to be a great president, if elected. However, we should not allow him to be the Republican candidate by default. As it stands now, the majority of voters are NOT for Trump. They are against him by voting for other candidates. He has more support than any other single Republican candidate; but to be fair, there should be a runoff election between the top two candidates, while giving them EQUAL time in debates, to see whom the voters actually prefer. That would NOT be a brokered convention then but an appropriate decision made by actual voter preference.
    Another possibility would be for Carson, Kasich and Rubio to throw their support to Ted Cruz, a proven and trusted conservative, who could win against Hillary and who leads the opposition to Trump. However, it would take a great deal of character and unselfishness on the part of Carson, Kasich and Rubio to do that. Are they up to the challenge and personal sacrifice?
    John T. Stone
    1146 S. 17th PL
    Cottonwood, AZ 86326-8904
    (928) 592-3527

    • Jason  •  Mar 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      I like your ideas Mr. Stone. I disagree however that Trump might be a good president. I'm sure we'll never know though because he won't be elected,

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