Saturday, May 26, 2018
Politics

What happens if Republicans face a brokered convention, explained

In election after election, generally (but not always) well before the voting starts, pundits start wondering about the possibility of a "brokered" party convention.

For the casual observer, that term is meaningless. But from the perspective of those who enjoy chaos and tumult (the media), it's a not totally accurate shorthand for an enticing prospect: a presidential race so close and so hard-fought that even on the night that the balloons are supposed to drop, no one knows whose head they'll land on.

A "brokered convention" is a convention in which the delegate (that is, voting attendee) votes of each of the states and territories don't add up to more than 50 percent for any one candidate. There is no clear winner.

Could a delegate split happen?

For the most part, there's a strong link between the number of votes candidates get during the presidential primaries and the number of delegates they earn. If you get the most votes, you get the most delegates, and if you get more than half the delegates, you get to run against whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

But it is much, much more complicated than that.

First of all, the Republican Party, which allocates delegates by state, uses a complex calculus to do so.

Every state and territory gets a delegate spot for its Republican National Committee representatives and state chair. That's three in total.

Each state then gets three delegates for each congressional district.

Each state then gets more delegates for a variety of triggers.

Okay. So let's say we've got some combination of Donald Trump winning a number of states and Ted Cruz winning a number of states and Marco Rubio winning a number of states, and the convention in Cleveland is looming. Now what?

If after all of the voting no one wins, the delegates will keep voting until there's a majority. And that's where the deliberations come in.

For a campaign, then, the goal after a candidate fails to hit 50 percent is to cobble together enough votes to hit the 50 percent mark.

It can get messy, fast.

There's one more wrinkle. The RNC's Rule 40 establishes the rules to be eligible to be nominated. To do so, candidates have to present signatures of support from the majority of delegates from eight or more states. In other words, the most candidates that could be considered eligible for the nomination is six. The fewest candidates that could be considered eligible for the nomination is … zero.

What if Trump and Rubio and Cruz and Bush and Christie and so on each win seven states? There's no one eligible to be nominated.

This is unlikely, and the party could change the rules, as needed. More likely — albeit not a whole lot more likely — is that three or four candidates split the delegates on the floor of the convention, and campaigns spend hours cajoling and browbeating and promising and praying in the hopes of getting 50 percent-plus-one in order to head to the general election.

What happens in the general election, once the Republicans have nominated someone who would probably be considered invalid by a large part of the rest of the party, is a speculative, not-gonna-happen question for another day.

Comments
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

WASHINGTON — A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a s...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

I may have cracked the code. Found a way to sell doing the right thing. Discovered a method of persuasion in certain matters of fairness, conscience and the greater good.Like giving our fellow Americans a second chance.When morality-based arguments d...
Published: 05/26/18
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18