Thaddeus McCotter, former Republican presidential candidate and current Michigan congressman, recently warned about the GOP establishment maneuvering the 2012 presidential campaign toward a brokered convention in which party insiders hand pick a “new face” nominee.
The congressman outlined four consequences he believes would result from a convention that produces a “non-candidate” apart from the remaining Republicans. Essentially, he argues that the party will be hurt more than it is helped if the establishment is allowed to make such a move.
In his words, these consequences include the following:
- Betray the courage of our current contenders who entered the GOP primary process;
- Reward an individual who lacked such courage and, instead, chose to sit on the sidelines during this transformational time of hope and peril in the life of our nation;
- Belie our Republican party’s claim to trust the judgment of the sovereign American people, especially those who have worked and voted for the current candidates; and
- Dispirit and divide our party at the very time it must unite to defeat President Obama and reaffirm American Exceptionalism in the 21st Century.
Congressman McCotter certainly raises some legitimate concerns. The possibility of the establishment rewarding individuals who didn’t persevere on the campaign trail from the beginning, questioning the judgment of Republican primary voters, and dividing the party at a crucial time are all threats to the party's future viability- both in the general election and even beyond.
“A GOP that distrusts its primary voters will be distrusted by general election voters – and rightly so,” he wrote.
With a brokered convention seemingly becoming more of a possibility, McCotter says that the GOP nominee must be one of the four remaining candidates. Contrary to the advice of what many in Republican leadership would say, the congressman even includes his fellow congressional colleague Ron Paul as one of those final choices whom Republicans should choose if necessary.
It would appear, however, as if a Republican unraveling is already taking place before the convention. One significant development already being witnessed is that the Republican field’s infighting is turning off the necessary demographic of Independent voters. As my colleague Damon Eris recently reported, Independents have trickled back to President Obama over the course of the campaign from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
McCotter says that it's the duty of every Republican to “condemn and combat” an establishment-orchestrated convention that picks a new nominee in order to not only keep focused on the goal of defeating Barack Obama, but also to keep the fate of the party out of the control of the Republican establishment.
At this point, every one of the remaining Republican candidates has in one way or another attempted to distance themselves from the political establishment. What is telling, however, is that Republicans like McCotter and the candidates recognize that the existence of such a behemoth has been problematic in the U.S. political system.
The election approaches ever near and the Republican obstacles don't seem to have become fewer in number, brokered convention or not.