Thursday, February 23, 2012

Elsewhere: More Deadlock, Post-Debate, and Partisanship in Action

Over at Plum Line today, I'm looking around at what conservatives are saying about last night's debate and making (again) the point that their reactions are part of the party deciding.

At PostPartisan, I found an great example during the debate last night of how partisanship works.

And I was on the radio today, on "Here & Now" out of WBUR, Boston's NPR station, talking deadlocked (or brokered, or whatever) conventions. They pushed me a bit for definitions, and I wound up saying (although I haven't listened, so I'm not sure whether it wound up getting included or not) that a contested convention is one in which the winner is unknown but there are enough uncommitted or unbound delegates for at least the leader to win the nomination by adding some of them, while a true deadlocked convention would be one where the the distribution of committed/bound delegates make it impossible for any candidate to win on the first ballot, at least if everyone stays put where they are. So if 2001 delegates are needed to win and the distribution is 1700 Cooper, 1000 Molitor, 400 Yount, 100 Gantner, and 800 undecided, then we have a contested convention; if it's 1400 for Brett, 1200 for Patek, 800 for Balboni, 400 for White, and 200 undecided, then it's deadlocked, because the most anyone could get is 1600.

I don't know; I'm not sure there's any utility in trying to figure out different names for different types of something that's very unlikely to ever happen. But the categories make some sense to me. As long as no one is calling them brokered, since the thing that we're not going to have is certainly not brokered, whatever else it would be if we had it, which we won't.

(Station corrected)

8 comments:

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    1. Thanks, corrected.

      I think this makes me feel a little better about my basic math error in the other post today. Or perhaps it should make me feel even worse.

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  2. This made me want to pull out my vintage powder blue uniform that is roughly four sizes too small.....

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  3. I heard some of Rush today. He was defending Santorum for being a team player.

    It is widely held in the right wing blogs that the UAW got a better deal then they would have received under a normal bankruptcy. ( I am not a lawyer so I don't have an opinion.) Romney would be applauded by most GOP audiences for criticizing a Dem for favoring unions so I don't think this shows he packed the venue.

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    1. No question that he packed the room -- you could hear it from the introductions on. Lots of Romney and (as usual) Paul people, not so much for the other two.

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  4. Angels dancing on the heads of pins, but:

    Isn't it plausible that while delegates are supporters of various candidates, many of them are party hacks first and foremost? (Probably not Paul delegates, but many delegates for the others?)

    I have never been a national convention delegate, but I have been in a position where I might have become one if I'd wanted to (i.e., been able to pay my expenses). But I have always been a Democrat first and foremost.

    So ... it seems to me that in the event of a deadlocked convention, at least, a majority of delegates would look for some other way out - changing pledge rules if need be, then looking for trusted party leaders to help lead things to closure.

    And - here comes the pitch - wouldn't that scenario amount to a brokered convention? Totally unlikely to happen, I agree, and not much like the brokered conventions of yore. But if, as I suspect, a majority of delegates are partisans first, supporters of individual candidates second, isn't a brokered (or at any rate 'negotiated') convention at least in the realm of possibility?

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    1. I think JB is saying that the convention can be "brokered" only if the delegates are in fact truly tied to the candidates and willing to take their direction. Then the candidates could negotiate with each other over which one of them their supporters would ultimately vote for.

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  5. I'm calling on the convention to draft Keith Hernandez as a unity candidate

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