Sunday, April 6, 2008

Series Update: What Would a Brokered Convention Look Like?

My series entitled "What Would A Brokered Convention Look Like?" has been on hiatus lately. "Hiatus" being the word used in media as a synonym for "about to be canceled".

The reason is simply because I can't see an honest gaming out of a brokered convention give how unlikely it seems:

  1. As I correctly predicted here, pressure is growing to knock heads together before the convention and work this out away from the convention floor. In addition to the quote I mentioned earlier from Dean, Senator Reid has come out in favor of settling this before the convention. One superdelegate, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, even floats the idea of a sanctioned back room for superdelegates to throw the nomination to someone away from the convention floor.

  2. I was also correct in that post when I predicted that those who had been committed to someone other than Clinton or Obama would not make it to the convention. Dodd and Richardson have endorsed Obama and instructed their delegates to go over to his side. Meanwhile, Edwards delegates have spat upon the democratic process in Iowa, breaking their word to scramble onto Obama's side. The Obama supporters, meanwhile, welcome these may be bad for democracy, but it's good for Obama. [Update: At a higher level, Edwards regained a delegate he had won. Score one for democracy].

  3. I freely admit that I was wrong about the superdelegates. Quite a few have chosen to break their commitments to Senator Clinton and switch over to Obama, for reasons that vary from personal neediness to approaching a cry for racial solidarity. Tells a lot about how much their word is worth.

For a brokered convention to occur, Clinton would have needed to assemble some momentum with a strong victory in Pennsylvania, perhaps even opening the door for an endorsement from Edwards. But with polls narrowing in Pennsylvania, and Obama's successful silencing of Florida and Michigan, I can't see it happening. While neither candidate will have sufficient pledged delegates, I have to conclude that Obama will have the support of the majority of votes in the convention to be the presumptive nominee at the end of this process, barring a Torricelli-style meltdown. With the only possible third choice (Edwards) being robbed of his voice, I have to conclude that a brokered convention will not happen. I earlier put the odds of a brokered convention at 1 in 3, but given Obama's tiny but consistent lead in money, delegates, and popular vote, I would now lower those odds to 1 in 20.

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