The Brokered Convention


Conservative Belle has a scoop that is worth paying attention to:

While I’m not able to divulge the names of my sources or my connection to those individuals, I have learned some interesting information about the RNC. The fate of some GOP candidates may rest completely on a discussion which takes place this week among the RNC Executive Committee and the delegates for the GOP National Convention.

here is a lot of discussion about a brokered convention. It could be a real possibility, with multiple possible scenarios unfolding.

any states have rebelled against the RNC rules and scheduled their primary elections earlier this year – Florida being one of them. The committee members warned them months ago not to do this as they may lose their delegates at the national convention. I was told last night that the final decision will be made this week. While the Republican National Committee voted 121-9 to impose the penalties and remove half of their delegates, Chairman Mike Duncan does have the power to overrule that decision. He has indicated he will not do that. There is still a possibility that all or none of them will count, and some states have indicated they bring litigation against the RNC if only half of their delegates are counted, regardless.

Which states are we talking about and how will they matter?

Florida – 114 delegates
Michigan – 60 delegates
Wyoming – 28 delegates
South Carolina – 47 delegates
New Hampshire – 24 delegates

She was wrong on the call, slightly, which she updated with the actual rules.

On pages 12 & 13, Rule No. 16 (Enforcement of Rules), section (a), paragraphs (1) and (2):

There appears to be two choices. The delegates can be reduced by 50% (paragraph 1) or by 90% (paragraph 2).

On page 14, Rule No. 16 (Enforcement of Rules), section (e), paragraph (2) [Emphasis mine]:

After the Republican National Committee members are excluded from being part of the offending state’s delegation to the national convention, the state party shall determine which of the state’s remaining delegates (and corresponding alternate delegates) are entitled to serve as the state’s reduced delegation to the national convention.

Which means the States could decide to sit down any of Rudy’s delegates and put Fred’s up. Or any other number of combinations. Brokered convention here we come…..

Even funnier will be when the States GOP leadership decide to sit down Ron Paul’s delegates and then watching the Ronulans go absolutely batty… that will be a blast!

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A brokered convention would be a broken convention!

The states can get by that by banning parties and individuals labled as part of that party from the general election. The states could put that clause in the requirements for getting on the ticket for the general election.

Imagine if Florida would automatically go to a non Republican party if the RNC threatened Florida. The RNC would not threaten Florida like that in the first place. The DNC wouldn’t want to threaten states either like they have during this primary election.

Curt, thanks for the nod. Each state certainly has different methods. I’m going to look into Florida’s just since it has the most delegates.

Gregory, could you please tell me which Secretary of State in any of those 5 states who would be dumb enough to do that? It seems that kind of election ban could be deemed as disenfranchisement, discrimination, and/or would have to pass legislative muster (or at least a referendum) first.

Yes, interesting situation. It’s far from clear *which* delegates would be the 50% that got eliminated. Even as fractured as the field is this year, though, I still think it’s unlikely that we’ll see a brokered convention – let alone one where this particular division of delegates is a decisive point. But it’s fun to speculate!

The other thing is that if the Republicans are still hashing it out by the convention, while the Dems have already effectively settled on a candidate, it will give the Dems a bit of a head start on campaigning. Not good.

I would clarify a couple of points. First, no delegates to the GOP convention have been chosen, other than the 168 national committee members who are automatic delegates. Even though Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan have already held their Caucus/Primary Elections the actual delegates will be chosen at a later date. Second, while there may be discussion at this week’s RNC Winter Meeting in DC, the by laws that were passed by the 2004 convention clearly states what the penalty was for moving a primary before Feb. 5th, so any discussion DC meeting would be moot. Third, states may be rebelling but it is not against the RNC, it is against the rules that those states passed as part of the 2004 convention. Fourth, every state party has by laws that dictate how delegates are to be chosen for the national convention. I would be very wary of saying that a state party could decide to exclude delegates from a certain candidate even if they won a percentage of the vote in the caucus/primary that would entitle them to delegates to the national convention.

Our sources at the RNC and at the Committee on Arrangements have said that it would be highly unlikely and unprecedented that a state that was penalized delegates would exclude all delegates from one candidate as Conservative Belle suggests. What is more likely, the remaining delegates would be assigned to candidates based on the percentage of vote the candidate received in the caucus/primary.

the will be in DC this week for the RNC meeting and if anything unusual develops, we will post it at

I have to agree with Mike on this one. A brokered convention is a broken convention.

Besides, if the RNC were to stand down delegates committed to one candidate in favor of another, that’s inviting a political disaster. Also, remember the RNC is still under the nominal control of Bush loyalists. Now, how would that look considering the President is committed to the spread of democratic process?

The primaries are between the states and the leaders of both parties. It’s the state’s job to determine how a candidate gets on the general election ballot (generally there has to be a number of legitimate signatures to put somebody on the ballot) and when the primaries are to be held. The primary rules are set by the parties to determine the candidate to get the signatures to get on the general ballot

The states want their say on any presidential nomination (in fact any government election), so even if it is a party rule that punish’s a state’s actions (it’s the state law to move the primaries) the states could strike back by making it part of the requirement to get on the general election ballot.

Let’s say Florida put in the law that in order to be on the ballot for the general election, you need 10,000 signatures and the candidate’s party, if any, try’s to punish the state of Florida’s voters the whole party gets dropped from that general election. If it was the Republican party that tried to limit the delegates, Florida would then drop all the Republicans off the general ballot including any senators running (state and federal), any governors running and the winner of the primary for president. Those people wouldn’t even be allowed to be listed as independent or as a write in candidate. The impact would devastate the Republican Party that the Republican Party wouldn’t even try it. Even a small state could have a massive impact in the U.S. Congress especially since both the House and the Senate are fairly split between Republicans and Democrats.

I believe the states could and are allowed to place such requirements to get on their ballots. I also believe that every state would have enough impact to scare both Democrats and Republicans from trying to pull any stunts like they have with this year’s primary. If the states are willing to move their primaries they are willing to inflict the pain on anybody that tries to punish them for doing so.

I don’t know enough to really discuss this, but wouldn’t any such action by a state subject that state to legal action for changing the rules when the present rules for election had already come into play? Like the Fla election in 2000? In other words, if the state wants to change the election rules they’d should have to do it in a non-election year, shouldn’t they? If the election process has already begun, I’d think they’re stuck with the election rules they have till that election is over…