Politico: GOP campaigns prepping for Pundit Full Employment scenario

posted at 4:01 pm on February 16, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Will this be the year which makes pundits’ dreams come true? Republican presidential campaigns have begun to bet that way, reports Politico’s Ben Schreckinger. Unless the race narrows down sharply in the next couple of weeks, the delegates from the primaries may get a wide enough distribution that no candidate can win the nomination on the first ballot. After that … Katy bar the door:

As Donald Trump and Ted Cruz divide up the first primaries and center-right Republicans tear one another apart in a race to be the mainstream alternative, Republicans are waging a shadow primary for control of delegates in anticipation of what one senior party official called “the white whale of politics”: a contested national convention.

The endgame for the most sophisticated campaigns is an inconclusive first ballot leading to a free-for-all power struggle on the floor in Cleveland.

“This is going to be a convention like I’ve never seen in my lifetime,” said veteran operative Barry Bennett, who managed Ben Carson’s campaign until December and is now advising Donald Trump. “It’s going to be contentious from Day One.”

The primaries and caucuses that dot the nominating calendar and whose results drive headlines will decide whom most delegates are bound to vote for on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention. Should the first ballot fail to produce a nominee, the outcome of the convention will depend on results of the parallel primary now underway for the hearts and minds of delegates.

I’m usually skeptical about these claims, in part because people predict this outcome in every non-incumbent presidential cycle. Occasionally it almost comes true — 1984 for Democrats, although it turned out to have little drama, and 1976 for Republicans, with more drama than the outcome deserved. The last truly brokered convention took place in 1952, when Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson for the first of two losing efforts. The last president to have been nominated at a brokered convention was Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. The expansion of the primary-voting system in the 20th century and the reliance on winner-take-all delegate allocations has all but eliminated the chances of brokered conventions.

This time might be different for Republicans, if only because there are still at least three viable candidates heading into March. However, the viability of those candidates comes in part because of the proportional allocation of states in the first six weeks of primaries and caucuses. After March 14th, GOP contests switch to winner-take-all — just in time for Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina on the 15th. At that point, strong second-place and surprising third-place showings will no longer matter. Unless other candidates win states, the frontrunner will begin to far outpace the competition.

Besides, while a brokered convention sounds like a great idea to confound the establishment, the reality of a brokered convention is far different. It guarantees that the eventual nominee will have to prevail by navigating the proverbial smoke-filled backrooms of the GOP establishment (with vaping rather than cigars in 2016), and cutting the kind of deals that usually enrage the grassroots. Bloomberg’s Al Hunt reminds readers of how Gerald Ford managed to fend off Ronald Reagan’s insurgent campaign in that 1976 close call — by leveraging connections to defeat a rules fight:

Then, using the perquisites of the presidency — appointments, trips on Air Force One, small projects — Ford began to pick up delegates. John Sears, the brilliant Reagan campaign manager, realized that the challenger couldn’t win a war of attrition. With Senator Paul Laxalt, a Reagan confidant, he persuaded the Gipper to choose the liberal Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker, as his running mate. This was announced three weeks before the convention opened. …

Ford, however, retained a small but clear advantage, so while conservatives focused on the platform, Sears’s next gambit was a proposed rules change that would have required any candidate to announce a running mate before being nominated. The idea was to force Ford to make a choice that might alienate one faction or the other and swing votes to Reagan.

Delegations from Mississippi to Illinois were in play on the rule-change vote, held on the second day of the convention. But a key was the pro-Ford Pennsylvania delegation. If Schweiker could persuade his fellow Pennsylvanians to support it, it would send a message across the Kansas City convention.

But Schweiker’s longtime friend, neighbor and former campaign manager was Lewis, head of the Ford delegation in the state. With carrots and sticks, he outworked his old pal and Pennsylvania voted overwhelmingly against the rule change. That sealed the nomination for Ford.

That history shows why fights over rules, not platform planks, are likely to be decisive in Cleveland if no Republican comes into the convention with a majority for the first time in 40 years.

In other words, a brokered convention is less likely to be a grand ol’ party and more about the Grand Old Party’s control.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

tap tap

This thing still on?

Defenestratus on February 16, 2016 at 4:03 PM

first ever Bishop?

DontDroneMeBro on February 16, 2016 at 4:04 PM

I’m just checking to test if my comment shows up without having to use FB

Key West Reader on February 16, 2016 at 4:04 PM

DANG IT SO CLOSE. HERE I COME FACEBOOK!

DontDroneMeBro on February 16, 2016 at 4:04 PM

Two yuuuuge polls are due out tonight.

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2016 at 4:05 PM

In other words, prepare for the Bush/Kasich ticket.

With just as much “ugh” as the Trump/??? ticket.

Steve Eggleston on February 16, 2016 at 4:05 PM

Hello, hello?

Where’s Zuck Farkerberg?

itsspideyman on February 16, 2016 at 4:06 PM

countdown until I never come back to this website continues…

jephthah on February 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

The common sense format is still going? I’ve had so many “last posts” by this point I’m starting to feel a bit like Mark Martin. I still plan on ending with meow.

Meow.

Gingotts on February 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

Hello, hello?

Where’s Zuck Farkerberg?

itsspideyman on February 16, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Any minute now…

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Two yuuuuge polls are due out tonight.

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2016 at 4:05 PM

Polls from SC, Schad?

Doomberg on February 16, 2016 at 4:08 PM

countdown until I never come back to this website continues…

jephthah on February 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

Lose over 100 commenters with this weird little trick.

Mark Zuckerburg likes this comment.

Steve Eggleston on February 16, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Yes, Facebook will share all pertinent data with the Clinton campaign. There is absolutely nothing conservative about Salem Communications.

Dick Richard on February 16, 2016 at 4:12 PM

…Katy bar the door:

I always thought it was…

Katy…! Bar the door!

… Shows you what I don’t know.

;(

Seven Percent Solution on February 16, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Past 4pm eastern and still no FB?

jnelchef on February 16, 2016 at 4:14 PM

How to win friends and influence people- and other books Ed never read.

Dick Richard on February 16, 2016 at 4:14 PM

Last?

bitsy on February 16, 2016 at 4:16 PM

a contested national convention.

If the field doesn’t start winnowing itself before Super Tuesday that is a distinct possibility, and that will give us Bush III. That is his only hope now.

Johnnyreb on February 16, 2016 at 4:17 PM

Last?

Indiana Jim on February 16, 2016 at 4:18 PM

How am I ever going to find out how to make $79 million per second using only my computer if you guys keep using this members only comment section? My new Lamborghini awaits!

Russ in OR on February 16, 2016 at 4:19 PM

countdown until I never come back to this website continues…

jephthah on February 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

Hotair may become known as a RINO site.

And in conservative circles that means traffic will dry up.

Currently, regardless of other content, the commenters give Hotair conservative cred.

But that wouldn’t be the case anymore as Hotair is flooded with all the juvenile “Like seekers” and Daily Kos types that Facebook is known for. It wouldn’t be much better with Disqus either actually. The unique comment system that Hotair has developed is actually number 1 on the web as far as being liked (not Liked lol). If it not broke don’t “fix” it.

anotherJoe on February 16, 2016 at 4:19 PM

Two yuuuuge polls are due out tonight.

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2016 at 4:05 PM

The Drudge poll and the Breitbart-commissioned Totally Valid poll, both showing 300-point leads for Donald Trump?

KingGold on February 16, 2016 at 4:20 PM

countdown until I never come back to this website continues…

jephthah on February 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

Funny. And sad.

/very interesting … but STUPID! (Laugh-In, 1969)

LashRambo on February 16, 2016 at 4:22 PM

It would result in a GOP defeat giving us the criminal President Hillary.

rbj on February 16, 2016 at 4:23 PM

I would say the GOPe is on suicide watch but they are already dead. More like zombie watch.

Will the GOP nominate a Zombie nominee? Stay tuned!

aniptofar on February 16, 2016 at 4:27 PM

Polls from SC, Schad?

Doomberg on February 16, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Yes, and not what King Gold dreams of.

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2016 at 4:28 PM

Kinggold. So if they show a 200 point lead for rubio or bush, you WONT question either poll?? Lol! You are your own worst enemy……

Indiana Jim on February 16, 2016 at 4:28 PM

This is just like the good old days.
LGF anyone?
ha ha ha

JudyJet on February 16, 2016 at 4:29 PM

PPP poll of South Carolina: Trump 35, Cruz 18, Rubio 18, Kasich 10

PPP poll = predictable pundit perfidy

Senator Philip Bluster on February 16, 2016 at 4:29 PM

I would like to add my name to the list of people positing that it is the commenters that give this site its unique appeal. Given that, how can it be a good business decision to throw that away?

I used to count myself among those regular “contributors” but I no longer comment regularly due to my self-inflicted, suffocating life obligations! I considered the QOTD regulars my friends…I keep telling myself that I need to get back here and discuss more, but it’s looking like that will all be over if this FB decision goes through. Holding out hope!

Jackalope on February 16, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Looks like the now very old looking GW failed to pull Jebo’s pants up much in South Carolina.

VorDaj on February 16, 2016 at 4:32 PM

I thought I would log in one last time.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/16/politics/south-carolina-poll-cnn-orc/index.html

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2016 at 4:29 PM

That’s a bit different than the PPP pol. What’s up with that?

texgal on February 16, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Still rather disappointed that neither Ed nor AP have bothered to come down and talk with the great unwashed about the change. Only Jazz has had the decency to wade amongst us. Very low rent in my opinion. Good luck hawking your book to the FB zombies Ed. And AP, enjoy your anonymity while the rest of us have to leave to protect ours.

jnelchef on February 16, 2016 at 4:36 PM

jnelchef on February 16, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Ditto that!!!

texgal on February 16, 2016 at 4:37 PM

I would like to add my name to the list of people positing that it is the commenters that give this site its unique appeal.

Jackalope on February 16, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Yup. I agree also.

anotherJoe on February 16, 2016 at 4:37 PM

King gold just got rolled over into a pretzel.= “Rold Gold”.

Indiana Jim on February 16, 2016 at 4:37 PM

If HA needed my email for sign up, will zuckerturd also now have it???

Indiana Jim on February 16, 2016 at 4:45 PM

If it comes down to Trump, Rubio, and Cruz, Cruz may well throw his delegates to Rubio. Let the games begin! On the other side, wait for the howls of protest when Hillary wins, unless the superdelegates abandon her.

So, any explanation from Mr. Morrisey about the goings-on?

WestVirginiaRebel on February 16, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Good luck hawking your book to the FB zombies Ed. And AP, enjoy your anonymity while the rest of us have to leave to protect ours.

jnelchef on February 16, 2016 at 4:36 PM

!

Dick Richard on February 16, 2016 at 4:52 PM

WVR. Nope, Eds been quieter than a whore in a convent.

Indiana Jim on February 16, 2016 at 4:54 PM

sorry, but I missed the news about FB and Salem. what is this all about?

I can only imagine that the biggest AMNESTY pusher, Zuckerberg, and the RINO amnesty org have teamed up. is that it?

Senator Philip Bluster on February 16, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Cruz may well throw his delegates to Rubio.
WestVirginiaRebel on February 16, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Thereby proving all he ran for to be _______________?

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2016 at 4:55 PM

I would like to add my name to the list of people positing that it is the commenters that give this site its unique appeal. Given that, how can it be a good business decision to throw that away?

I used to count myself among those regular “contributors” but I no longer comment regularly due to my self-inflicted, suffocating life obligations! I considered the QOTD regulars my friends…I keep telling myself that I need to get back here and discuss more, but it’s looking like that will all be over if this FB decision goes through. Holding out hope!

Jackalope on February 16, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Good to see you at least one last time. I’m sure Salem sees Facebarf commenting as both cheaper and a way to rid Hot Air of a bunch of cranky principled Conservatives and Trump supporters who don’t serve Salem’s political agendas. I don’t think Salem gives a sh!t about the identity of the site; Salem has been trying to move the site to the left and get it more in the RINO zone

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:05 PM

Good luck hawking your book to the FB zombies Ed. And AP, enjoy your anonymity while the rest of us have to leave to protect ours.

jnelchef on February 16, 2016 at 4:36 PM

I imagine it’ll be for sale through Amazon. Do they still allow reviews?

butch on February 16, 2016 at 5:09 PM

Still rather disappointed that neither Ed nor AP have bothered to come down and talk with the great unwashed about the change. Only Jazz has had the decency to wade amongst us. Very low rent in my opinion. Good luck hawking your book to the FB zombies Ed. And AP, enjoy your anonymity while the rest of us have to leave to protect ours.

jnelchef on February 16, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Jazz is a mensch.

The treatment of the membership here by Salem is contemptible. I’ll be avoiding all of Salem’s outlets going forward.

Allah has made his contempt for the membership here abundantly clear but I expected better from Ed.

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:09 PM

Senator Philip Bluster on February 16, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Salem apparently thinks it can improve it’s bottom line by switching to Facebook commenting and the staff of Hot Air desperately wants to no longer need to monitor the comments.

It’s also pretty clear that the powers that be want to rid themselves of a commentariat that has too many TEA Party principled Conservatives and too many Trump supporters to suit Salem’s agendas and is too often critical of the main bloggers.

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:16 PM

There has been a sizable time gap now between posts. The end?

DontDroneMeBro on February 16, 2016 at 5:22 PM

Allah has made his contempt for the membership here abundantly clear but I expected better from Ed.

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:09 PM

I didn’t. It has been obvious for a long time that Ed is just an ambitious hack interested in getting his name out there as much as possible, and promoting the Ed Morrissey brand, as if that is ever going to be anything at his age. He has no ideological right-wing bones in his body. He craves the establishment spotlight. He just wants to be part of the mainstream media complex. He wants to be Meghan McCain without hair.

My prediction is his ambitions will not come true. There are too many guys like him barking up that same tree. And better looking.

HugoDrax on February 16, 2016 at 5:23 PM

It’s the final countdown!

ledbylight on February 16, 2016 at 5:24 PM

If HA needed my email for sign up, will zuckerturd also now have it???

Indiana Jim on February 16, 2016 at 4:45 PM

I was wondering the same at the “going away” party last night.

leftamark on February 16, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Drudge headline: “HotAir commenters revealed to be pussies.

MT on February 16, 2016 at 5:28 PM

Dinner time switch-a-roo??

DontDroneMeBro on February 16, 2016 at 5:28 PM

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:16 PM

thank you for the info.

I guess we are just expendable nuisances to the powers that be.

Senator Philip Bluster on February 16, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Not going out with a bang…more like a helium balloon out of gas.

OilPatch on February 16, 2016 at 5:33 PM

I honestly wasn’t going to post here any more after all the goodbyes last night, but this is a must view over at RS. Pro-life from Ted Cruz. Powerful stuff.

James Moriarty on February 16, 2016 at 5:36 PM

I guess we are just expendable nuisances to the powers that be.

Senator Philip Bluster on February 16, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Yep. The great unwashed masses, desperately in need of guidance from the elite punditry and not sufficiently respectful of their great wisdom and their rank in the social pecking order.

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:37 PM

So Long Hot Air

gh on February 16, 2016 at 5:45 PM

This is just like the good old days.
LGF anyone?
ha ha ha

JudyJet on February 16, 2016 at 4:29 PM

I have to admit it’s been pretty fun here while we wait for the end.

Yep. The great unwashed masses, desperately in need of guidance from the elite punditry and not sufficiently respectful of their great wisdom and their rank in the social pecking order.

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 5:37 PM

It’s a problem across most major journalism/news/opinion sites these days, and Hot Air is just the latest victim of it. An increasing number of writers and pundits don’t want to be criticized, don’t want to have to engage with or listen to their audience at all, and would just prefer to shut them up entirely.

They’ll use a handful of “mean” or “troll” commenters as an excuse to shut up ALL the critics instead of just getting a mod to ban real troublemakers.

Doomberg on February 16, 2016 at 5:45 PM

I’m usually skeptical about these claims, in part because people predict this outcome in every non-incumbent presidential cycle.

True, it requires a perfect storm. This year seems just crazy enough that it might happen. I’d still guess we’re talking ~10% chance, though.

Tlaloc on February 16, 2016 at 5:53 PM

Doomberg on February 16, 2016 at 5:45 PM

They could easily have addressed the issues they had with the old comment platform and unruly commenters without going full Facebook. There are a number of commenting platforms out there that would allow people to log in without signing up for Facebook, giving up their anonymity, compromising their security and having Zuckerberg sell their data to the Democrats and everyone else. I log in to most sites for commenting with my Twitter account.

The obvious inference is that Salem wants to rid itself of a commentariat that has it’s roots in Michelle Malkin’s followers. We are apparently not the demographic they want to attract.

There may be other factors that would provide an alternative explanation but Salem and the site’s management haven’t provided one. Ed would not answer when I asked him specifically on Twitter why they chose to go full Facebook, knowing that decision would drive out many of the long time members.

novaculus on February 16, 2016 at 6:20 PM

They say this every 4 years. It never happens.

ArthurMachado on February 16, 2016 at 6:42 PM