As businessman Donald Trump continues his seemingly inexorable march towards the Republican nomination at least two rival campaigns are said to have drawn up plans for a brokered convention to stop what they believe will be a catastrophic scenario in the fall contest should he ultimately prevail what is a brokered convention.
A ‘brokered convention’ is used to decide the nominee in a US presidential race when none of the candidates has secured enough delegates to swing the party nomination ahead of the first official vote at the nominating convention. What this does is open up the possibility of negotiations, horse-trading and backroom deals, rather than the pure numbers game that it otherwise is. For the Republican establishment, desperate to stop businessman Donald Trump from clinching the nomination and practically ensuring disaster for the party in the Fall election, one of the options on the table is to try and force a brokered convention at its national convention, scheduled for July 18-21.
A brokered convention is extremely rare, and according to a post on the popular American political web site realclearpolitics.com, some 85% of Americans were not even born the last time either party had one. For Democrats, that was in 1952; for Republicans, even earlier, in 1948. Since then, and for about a half-century now, conventions have become largely ritualistic, devoid of much power in deciding the party’s candidates, while the primaries and caucuses have assumed the role of the real deciders — with nominees reaching the convention having already got the delegate votes required to win the nomination.
One of the stratagems the Republican establishment has been reported to be considering is to force, this year, a return to the earlier system in which the convention chose the nominee, hoping, thereby, to trip Trump through sheer politicking. Earlier brokered conventions have seen several rounds of bruising political battles — the longest, according to the post on realclearpolitics.com, being the 1924 Democratic Convention that saw 102 rounds of ballots before nominating John W Davis.
On February 26, CNN reported that the Marco Rubio campaign had told donors that it was working towards creating the grounds for a possible brokered convention. As of February 29, however, Trump, with 82 delegates, remained way ahead of both Rubio (16) and Ted Cruz (17), and it was not clear how a brokered convention might be forced. A big round of primaries and caucuses is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 1.