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On A Brokered GOP Convention

With Rick Santorum's win in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, I am seeing an increase in the number of pundits and bloggers mentioning the two words that Mitt Romney likely hates to hear: Brokered. Convention.

Will Rahn at The Daily Caller talks about what that might mean:
Brokered conventions in the modern era have been exceedingly rare. The last time Republican delegates arrived at the GOP convention uncertain who their nominee would be was 1976, the year Ronald Reagan nearly snagged the nomination away from President Gerald Ford.

Reagan biographer Craig Shirley recalls how that fight came down to the Mississippi delegation — which would have gone for Reagan, but for the maneuvering of White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney — and a large number of uncommitted delegates who were successfully wooed by Ford aide James Baker.

Those efforts allowed Ford to win the necessary delegates on the first ballot. A second ballot would have allowed delegates free rein to vote for whomever they wished; odds are most have would have swung to Reagan.

“If Reagan had been successful in forcing it to a second balloting, he probably would have been the nominee because he had pockets of hidden delegate strength,” Shirley told The Daily Caller.

A brokered convention today would likely be far messier than in 1976, Shirley cautioned. A better parallel, he said, might be the Democratic convention in 1924, where no candidate was chosen until the 108th ballot.

[snip]

“There’s a scenario where if Romney has eight, nine hundred delegate votes and Santorum has four, five hundred, Romney goes to Rick and says, ‘Look, you go on the ticket with me. You’re younger — I’ve been running for five years. Help me with the first ballot nomination; I’ll make you vice president.’ That’s possible. It’s been done before.”

If no deal can be reached, however, Shirley said it’s likely another candidate would emerge on the convention floor.

“If you get those four guys in Tampa and neither has enough delegates for a first ballot nomination, and they can’t make a deal among themselves, then the nominee will not be one of those four candidates,” he said.
Political theater at its finest folks. This would be some of the best entertainment that political junkies like me (us?) might see in a lifetime.

If it does go to a brokered convention -- I will surely want tickets...