Will there be a brokered convention?

February 12, 2008

A brokered convention is in no way inevitable


The question of whether the Democratic contest will be settled before their convention in Denver is an extremely pertinant one. Many people have pointed out that as it will be very difficult for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to get a majority of delegates on pledged delegates alone, Superdelegates at the national convention will decide things. However, I believe that this is incorrect for the following reasons:

1. Hillary is likely to end the primary season with a clear mandate – Provided Hillary can keep Obama’s margin in Virginia in single figures and avoid any other unexpected defeats, I predict she will surprise everyone and wrap up the nomination with solid wins in Texas and Ohio. This momentum will give her the mandate to pressure Barack Obama into accepting a place on the bottom of the ticket.

2. If there is no candidate with a clear mandate the Superdelegates will move decisively to one candidate – Although Hillary Clinton will hang on by her fingernails as long as she thinks she has a chance (which is why she must be considered the favourite for the nomination) even she will throw in the towel if enough of her superdelegates move into Obama’s camp. Howard Dean and other Democratic grandees will make sure that this happens if Obama is clearly ahead.

3. The candidate have been civil enough to keep hopes of a ‘dream ticket’ alive – Although the expectation is that the defeated candidate would refuse the vice-presidential spot, there is no actual impediment towards both of them appearing on the ticket. After all, up until November a Clinton-Obama ticket was considered a strong possibility.

4. Obama is young enough to try again – The fact that this is seen as Hillary Clinton’s only chance will mean that Obama will come under pressure from party grandees not to throw a spanner in the work. Although the Democrats don’t do Republican style ‘deals’ Obama has a long career ahead of him and would definitely benefit from another four years in the Senate.

The only way I can see a brokered convention happening is if Obama comes out ahead but Hillary Clinton is able to keep enough super-delegates on board to keep her hopes alive.


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