How likely is a brokered convention really?

But as a thought experiment, let’s assume that Jesse Jackson had run as strongly in 1984 as he eventually would in 1988. In his first go-round, Jackson didn’t win any primaries and received 3.2 million votes. In 1988, he won 11 primaries and caucuses, receiving nearly 7 million votes.

Advertisement

If Jackson had been sufficiently organized and funded in 1984, we would have had a scenario vaguely similar to what we have today: Gary Hart winning prototypical “New Democrats” (“Atari Democrats,” we called them), Mondale running strong with “traditional Democrats,” and Jackson running well with African-Americans. In that scenario, a brokered convention would have been likely. In the same vein, incidentally, if John Edwards had stayed in through Super Tuesday in 2008, there’s a decent possibility that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama would have amassed a majority of the delegates ahead of the convention.

Similar distinctions can be drawn between today and the other years listed in Kornacki’s piece. Again, what makes this year interesting is that, for now, there are three candidates with potentially distinct bases competing for the prize. I still think that, eventually, this will winnow down to two. As I mentioned, we can’t rule out the possibility that Santorum’s strength is limited to small caucus states (especially once Romney’s spending gets going), and we can’t rule out the possibility that Gingrich’s strength in the South will eventually collapse. But we also can’t rule out the possibility that this split will continue.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos

Sponsored

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement