Open Convention or Brokered Convention?

FedUp PAC StaffGOP logo Republican

It has been exactly half a century since Alan Drury’s novel, Capable of Honor, described a national convention in which the delegates upset expectations by defying the orders of party bosses and the pressure of the news media. In Drury’s best-selling story, with each delegate choosing to vote according to his own conscience, they rejected the liberal whose victory had seemed increasingly certain and instead handed the nomination to the more conservative, firmly anti-communist candidate for president.

The Republican National Convention that convenes on July 18 in Cleveland may or may not be as dramatic as Drury’s fictional one, but we can expect to see delegates under great pressure to put aside their conservative convictions and obey supposedly wiser party and media leaders. Whether they choose to reject that path and instead follow Drury’s script will determine whether Republicans have any chance for a successful November. An open convention, with delegates freely making choices until one candidate has a majority, is the only path the White House.

There can be no doubt that Republican voters are demanding major changes, not business as usual. Disgusted with the results of nominating establishment candidates such as McCain and Romney because “they can win,” Republicans have voted in overwhelming numbers for outsider candidates who are strongly opposed by Washington insiders and the mainstream media.

It appears that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will arrive in Cleveland with 75% or more of the delegates. That’s a clear mandate.

It also appears likely that no candidate will have a majority of the votes, forcing the convention to go to multiple ballots as delegates consider their second choice – especially those voting on the first ballot for Kasich, Rubio, Bush, and Carson.

The great danger is that this will provide the opportunity for the Republican insiders to turn a deadlocked convention into a brokered convention – one in which party leaders use promises, threats, and deception to line up delegates behind an establishment candidate. Such a rejection of the clearly expressed will of the primary and caucus voters would destroy all the enthusiasm and hope generated by Trump and Cruz, making the nomination a worthless prize.

The alternative is a truly open convention. Allow the delegates to freely choose between Trump and Cruz, the only two candidates who have demonstrated broad support and who represent the desire for a new direction.

An open convention offers the hope for a November filled with victories. Only defeat can come from allowing the party insiders to regain control.