Lion of the Blogosphere

Why Trump will lose a contested convention

An article at Bloomberg by Sasha Issenberg, well worth reading, explaining why Trump is at a severe disadvantage in a contested convention, and why the vast majority of his pledged delegates are likely to be anti-Trumpers. We can assume that unless Trump wins a majority of delegates, he has no chance of winning the nomination. And even if he does win a majority, the GOPe can try to steal some of his won delegates by contesting the results of caucuses.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

Posted in Politics

32 Responses

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  1. He did break his ceiling in the Northern Mariana Islands!


    March 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

  2. Parties can be captured. If they do that to Trimp they can expect hell to break loose at the party level.


    March 15, 2016 at 10:27 am

  3. If the GOPe wants to provoke an unprecedented outburst of violent popular rage, stealing the nomination is the way to do it.


    March 15, 2016 at 10:28 am

    • If Trump wins less than half of the votes and less than half of the delegates, and then a majority of the delegates end up picking somebody else, in what sense is that “stealing”?

      Greg Pandatshang

      March 15, 2016 at 10:35 am

      • So, you didn’t read the linked article? Its title is “How to Steal a Nomination” and the process is described there.


        March 15, 2016 at 11:15 am

      • Issenberg is being a bit histrionic. If he were present, I would pose the same question to him: if Trump wins less than half of the votes and less than half of the delegates, and then a majority of the delegates end up picking somebody else, in what sense is that “stealing”?

        Greg Pandatshang

        March 15, 2016 at 11:54 am

      • Just because it has a sensationalistic headline doesn’t make the conclusion true. Read this article by Realclearpolitics that offers a comprehensive rebuttal:

        As the author notes, convention rules are not some last-ditch loophole gimmick being used by the elite to veto the majority preference — “the people who framed the rules were well aware of the issues raised by large fields, and instead chose rules that required the party to form some sort of consensus among its nominees and to give some voice to second- and third- choice votes.”

        In other words, it’s Trump’s own fault for not winning over majority support within his own party, something every Republican candidate of the last what, 60 years had been able to do by this point.

        The Bloomberg piece is right about one important thing however — this will be the ultimate test of Trump’s supposed world-class deal-making skills.


        March 15, 2016 at 1:01 pm

  4. Even if we lose, we win.

    If Trump doesn’t get to 1237 but comes close, I assume he will come to some kind of agreement with the key donors and functionaries to arrange his nomination. Two key concessions would be putting Kasich on the ballot as well as allowing party hacks who come over to Trump to keep their jobs. The alternative would be Trump launching a nationwide revolt that would decimate the party on the national level, cost control of the Senate, and probably end the current GOPe as a political force. Violence and killing cannot be ruled out and might even be likely.

    So we can assume that the GOPe will come to their senses and accept a Trump nomination if he gets to 1150 or more.

    Anything else though and Cruz is the nominee.

    Otis the Sweaty

    March 15, 2016 at 10:32 am

    • I might have thought that a few months ago, but it seems that the GOPe has hardened it’s position against Trump since then. Either they yank the nomination away from Trump somehow or they bolt to Hillary or create their own “Unity” candidate.

      Mike Street Station

      March 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

      • The GOPe isn’t “conservative,” in the way their voters understand the term. They agree with Clinton/Obama/Schumer positions. So forming a coalition with Hilary makes sense:

        1. ACELA Party (Clintons/Bushes/Romney/Obama/Boehner/Schumer)
        2. Great American Party (Trump/Sessions/Brat/Webb)
        3. Democratic Socialists
        4. Minority Grievance Alliance (not an actual party, but a block of votes fought over by 1 and 2)


        March 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      • I think the elected officials are more realistic, but the pundit class has definitely been trying to work itself up to denying Trump the nomination by whatever convention gamesmanship is required and damn the consequences. Thus Ross Douthat, who’s supposed to be the New York Times’ “reasonable conservative” house pet, says in his last column that it’s Republican officials’ patriotic duty to sabotage Trump at the convention and thereby preserve the republic by throwing the election to Hillary Clinton. Of course one thing this election has revealed is how little influence the pundits have over the grassroots any more, so I don’t know how plausible their threats are. That’s shown indirectly in Douthat’s column, which is mainly oriented around abstract concepts like honor, duty, and decorum, while the average Republican voter is more concerned about earthier issues like his life, job future and well-being. It’s the Douthatted Republican Party’s inability to speak to that which has marginalized them into plotting how to un-democratize the Republican Party primary system.

        If you have a grim sense of humor, read the reader comments on that piece to see how unmagnanimous Democrats will be in receiving the victory that Douthat so high-mindedly wants to hand them.


        March 15, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    • I thought the GOPe would come together around Cruz back in late-fall, early-winter. They really are stupid.


      March 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm

  5. A deal with Cruz will be impossible, because Cruz will be Trump’s only serious rival on the first ballot and Trump is dead by the 2nd ballot. The only deal that I could possibly imagine is Trump/Kasich, if Kasich could deliver enough delegates to get Trump over 50%. Not that I think such a deal is likely. For one thing, Kasich cannot command his delegates like soldiers. Just as Trump’s delegates aren’t really Trump people, Kasich’s pledged delegates are not necessarily Kasich soldiers, although the ones from Ohio at least should be very friendly to him. Would that extend even to backing the Donald? We’ll see (I mean, we would see, in this highly unlikely scenario) . Also, this would require Kasich taking the temperature of his establishment buddies and deciding that they are cutting him out of the action. Romney/Paul Ryan/Nikki Haley his main rivals, not to mention Cruz alone in the Cruz lane. Kasich might have quiet encouragement to align with Trump from the “anybody-but-Cruz” faction (which exists because of the intense hatred of Cruz by his Senate colleagues), afraid that Cruz would sew up the nomination on the 2nd or 3rd ballot.

    Greg Pandatshang

    March 15, 2016 at 10:34 am

    • Actually, Ohio’s delegates are handpicked by Kasich, so there’s a very good chance they might listen to him, especially to make their guy the VP.

      Assuming Rule 40(b) is not changed, it’s a Trump v. Cruz ballot with all of delegates not pledged to one of those two free to choose whom to vote for, Kasich as VP can sway a significant number of those delegates to vote for Trump.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 15, 2016 at 10:36 am

    • Kasich has already said he wouldn’t give up the governorship to be vp. Of course he would say that now. Later on is a different story. Still, even if he doesn’t want to be vp he can still be bought.


      March 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm

  6. Trump is currently ahead of where he needs to be on delegates to win the nomination. He isn’t so much ahead that it’s guaranteed. But unless something drastic happens he’ll either be ahead or close. I doubt they’ll try to steal it if he’s within a 100 of 1,237 and no one else is even close. They might be able to do it but it would be a guaranteed loss in the general and split the Republican party.

    I think that, at this point, the establishment is split on who to support. They wanted Jeb. Then they wanted Rubio. Now they want Kasich. But would they rather have Cruz than Trump? Neil Bush joined Cruz’s campaign while McConnell and Graham just endorsed him. I’m not sure what that means.


    March 15, 2016 at 10:41 am

    • Correction. I read that McConnell and Graham endorsed him. It looks like that might not be true.


      March 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

  7. If they do this I hope Trump runs third party, imagine if he got more votes than the official Republican.


    March 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

    • They would both get fewer votes than Hillary and Hillary would win.

      Unless no one wins the Electoral College, in which case the House would select the establishment Republican.

      Trump loses either way. (But more likely to lose in a landslide to Hillary.)

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 15, 2016 at 11:20 am

      • If Trump can supposedly win a general election as a Republican, why can’t he win as an independent?

        I don’t get the logic. Say we have a Romney-Trump-Clinton race. Your theory presumes the anti-Hillary vote would be split between Trump and Romney. Which presumes that that there are enough Republican voters who hate Trump enough to vote for a different Republican.

        However, in a Trump-Hillary race, you presume that Republican voters who hate Trump — the theoretical Romney voters — will somehow… vote Trump in this circumstance? Instead of voting Hillary or not voting at all? Huh?


        March 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      • A three way presidential race would be a 2 on 1 fight against Trump, that’s why. There are people who only vote straight ticket Republican, or only want to vote to keep Hillary out, those people are valuable but can’t be relied upon to break for Trump.

        Panther of the Blogocube

        March 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

  8. I saw Issenberg on TV last night. The liberal MSNBC host couldn’t believe the GOPe would deny Trump the nomination, because their conservative estimate had Trump at something like 1190 delegates assuming he slightly underperforms the polls.

    Issenberg said they’d do it because they’re scared of down ballot fall-out.


    March 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

  9. According to Drudge, Trump just hit 53% in a national poll. It looks like part of a strong uptrend that’s been going since mid February. And there’s no sign of it leveling off.


    March 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

  10. The one time in American history where something like this scenario happened was in 1912, under really different circumstances.

    Up until 1968, most convention delegates were chosen by state party organizations, eg by bosses, without voter input. Some states had primaries. Close attention was paid to these because the bosses preferred to nominated candidates who showed that they could get normal people to vote for them for President. But the primaries could be ignored. Humphrey, the Democratic nominee in 1968, didn’t run in a single primary that year, though it helped that the candidate who did run in and win most of the primaries was dead.

    After the McGovern commission changed the rules, McGovern himself won under the new system in 1972 (this was not a coincidence), and there was some thought given to blocking first McGovern in 1972 and then Carter in 1976 at the convention. Neither of these strategies got very far, and the DonkE came up with better strategies to get the an establishment nominee. With the Republicans, the issue really didn’t come up until now, maybe it would have earlier if Buchanan had one more primaries.


    March 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

  11. Is the American populace really in shape for extended street violence? Raising holy hell takes a lot of energy. Plus smarts. How many people even know how to tie a hangman’s noose anymore? They almost have the populace literally too fat and stupid to revolt any longer. Thank Jah Trump came when he did.


    March 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

  12. Trump has a nuclear weapon though. He can threaten to tell his supporters to vote for him as a write-in, and to not vote for incumbent Republicans. “Teach them a lesson they won’t forget!” It would be devastating to the party.

    March 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    • I think winning is way down on the party’s list of concerns. They were perfectly happy to lose in 92 by letting Perot split their vote. And based on a lot of the GOPe punditry, they seem to think losing to Hillary is saving the Republic.

      Mike Street Station

      March 15, 2016 at 2:39 pm

  13. Today’s CW is that Trump is dead in a convention, but if he continues to poll over 50% and leads in the delegates, it will be really hard to screw him over.

    More likely he’ll be forced to make concessions.

    Plus I don’t really see how the GOPe thinks it can get away screwing both Trump and Cruz.


    March 15, 2016 at 1:17 pm

  14. and trump isn’t going to bother to run just to spite the GOP too even though its obvious he would lose.

    james n.s.w

    March 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm

  15. Brilliant article, but it leaves out one thing- which actually strengthens Issenbergs case: in dealmaking both sides have to have the ability to threaten and to reward. Trump has the ability to threaten, but does he have the ability to reward? What can he offer people?

    Face it guys, he will be crushed.


    March 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    • I feel dumber for having read your comment.

      Panther of the Blogocube

      March 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm

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