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.