All the Talk of a Brokered Convention….just talk, talk, talk….
The reality. There are no such things as real political “brokers” embedded in the parties any more…..therefore no brokered convention.
Pre-1976, when the primary/caucus pattern now in place became the dominant one, powerful local officials—mostly governors, mayors, key figures in state and national party leadership—arrived at conventions in substantial control of blocks of delegates- votes in their pockets to do with as they willed. They used them as poker chips at a big stakes table.
Most delegates had been chosen by local power-holders and were often beholden to those power-holders for their jobs or livelihoods. In other words most were either government employees or part of organizations linked to government (like unions, contractors, developers, etc.)
When the governor or mayor told his delegates how to vote, based on the deals made or the promises extracted or the payoff pending, they saluted and did as they were told.
Those conditions no longer apply. The vast majority of the delegates arriving in Tampa will have been elected by a democratic process in primaries or caucuses. Most will be aligned to candidates NOT to local or national bosses (whether political personages or big money backers) or even to the Party. They will also tend to be more ideologically oriented than those earlier hand-picked convention goers.
So, let’s suppose there is general unhappiness about the likely nominee who has yet to attain the number of votes that will make him the nominee, who would have the clout to order a delegate elected on a Gingrich slate that the time has come to switch to Jeb Bush? Nobody.
No…if there is no clear majority nominee, the convention would become a venue in which individual delegates would feel themselves empowered to make their own decisions individually or in special interest groups- often aligning with an ideology. They may also be influenced by local business leaders or by Fox News or by a call from, say, former President Bush, or Sarah Palin. Or they may not.
But if a handful of party leaders gather in some hotel room (smoked filled or not) and agree amongst themselves on a candidate, the question will be: who will make the delegates listen?