Matt doesn't think much of my nightmare scenario of one or more candidate's delegates bolting the convention:
I don’t see this as a possibilty, even conditional on a deadlocked convention...While there is probably intense personal loyalty among committed delegates (the campaigns choose them), I don’t see the schism required in the paty to support bolting. When bolting has occurred in the past, it has almost always occurred over a single buring issue — the Southerners walking out of the Democratic convention in 1860 (slavery; or more specifically the defeat of platform support for Dred and a federal slave code for the territories) or 1948 (segregation). And in both of those cases, there’s a fair amount of evidendce that the bolters were acting at least plausibly rationally, in an attempt to push the election in the House of Representatives. A bolt at the 2012 GOP convetion would plainly not accomplish this, as there would be no visible way for the bolting candidate to get on the ballots.I'm going to stick up for my argument a bit. The thing is: Matt's objections are also objections to getting to a deadlocked convention in the first place. So if they really reach Tampa with no resolution, then that means that the party didn't unify around one candidate during the primaries and caucuses, and they didn't work something out during the two months between Utah and Tampa, and they didn't work out anything in the first days of the convention. If all that happens, then either the rules and norms of the game are somehow getting in the way of cooperation (contrary to what I and some others believe, which is that the rules and norms of the game facilitate cooperation), or that there really is some sort of serious schism either predating the nomination battle or caused by it.
And so the only reason to bolt would be in an attempt to wrestle the nomination away from the other candidates and for oneself. But this is obviously a high-risk strategy, and one that would probably be net-negative for the successful candidate. Now, net negative could be arguably better than not having the nomination, but party actors — particularly those whose job depends on winning the election — would be uniformly against it.
So basically, if we grant the implausible premise of a deadlocked convention...I'm going to say that all bets are off, and lots of chaotic outcomes are very possible. Including the possibility that some of the actors involved may not behave very rationally at all. For two reasons: one is the emotions of the moment, but another is that a lot of the delegates are probably not very sophisticated or experienced political actors at all.