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What’s So Bad About a Contested Convention? 4-6-16 PDF  | Print |  E-mail


                                                                                by Dave Gunn


What’s So Bad About a Contested Convention?


     With the Ted Cruz victory in Wisconsin, the likelihood of a Republican Convention that does not choose a nominee on the first ballot has increased.  It is still possible for Donald Trump to gain enough delegates to come into the convention with the winning majority.  However, the probability is low.  Less likely is that Ted Cruz will have a majority on the first ballot.


     The last contested Republican nominating convention was in 1976.  Since then, the primary rules have been crafted to provide a sure nominee early, so that the convention is more of a coronation and televised infomercial for the party – both parties.


     To hear some political pundits tell it, a contested convention would be something akin to Armageddon.  It would fracture the party, and possibly be the end of the Republican Party.  My thought is: If that is all it takes to kill the Republican Party, then it should die.  If the Republican Party cannot endure the principles of a republic – representative rule – it has outlived its usefulness and conservatives should seek another vehicle for their political efforts.


     What would happen if no candidate gets the majority of delegates on the first ballot?  They would have to compete for delegates on the second ballot.  All the pledged delegates would be released and free to support whom they will.  Each of the three remaining candidates would have to persuade their pledged delegates to stick with them, and then persuade other delegates to come over to their side in numbers large enough to gain the majority.  If no candidate wins a majority on the second ballot, they would go on to a third ballot, and so on until a candidate emerges with the majority.


     Now it is possible, if the convention becomes deadlocked, that the delegates could turn to someone other than the three remaining candidates as a “consensus” choice.  However, this would have to be the decision of the majority of the delegates elected to represent the Republicans of their states.  So while I would rather that it not come to this, it would be an exercise in true republicanism.


     Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, Socialist Bernie Sanders has won again in Wisconsin and continues his momentum, closing the gap between him and Madame Hilary.  If you take away the establishment Democrat Party super-delegates, the race would be close.   However, the game was rigged from the beginning, and the only hope Sanders has of gaining enough super-delegates to give him the nomination is for Hilary to be indicted, which might just happen.



[Dave Gunn is the nom de plume of Dr. David E. Gonnella, Pastor of the Magnolia
Springs Baptist Church in Theodore, Alabama.  The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the church or its membership.]