If the 1924 Democratic Convention can claim the prize of the ‘Klan-bake’ Convention, 2016 will surely become known as the year of the ‘Wall-Nuts’ on the Republican side.
It fits too well, and unfortunately sums up what many are holding as a single issue platform for supporting their candidate–the isolation of America’s borders behind both literal walls and walls of anti-immigration legislation.
Could the 2016 GOP Convention really go 103 rounds of voting (or more) like the 1924 debacle?
It really depends on how entrenched the attitudes and ideals are on all sides–and whether a working coalition is formed. But coalitions are based on compromise, something that the Republican Party has not especially been good at for the past few years, and will bring about interesting results.
First, compromise gives the weaker position in the coalition considerable power–while not totally dictating the agenda, they often get the choice of the leader of the coalition.
Coalition governments exist worldwide in the parliamentary systems. Usually it is the only way for one side to obtain enough power to rule, placing critical importance on the smaller faction’s loyalty and support.
Second, compromise forces all sides to give and take. While certain core ideals would be sacrosanct, lesser policies are often bartered as a means of sweetening the deal.
Third, nobody walks away totally happy from a compromise; even the best ones force each side to give and take.
These three points alone would form an interesting paradigm in the 2016 Convention. Trump’s supporters are likely pledged to him for the duration, the same is likely true with Cruz’s supporters.
Then the 23 unbound delegates, 171 delegates bound to Marco Rubio, and the 143 delegates bound to Kasich become golden tickets to advancing the policies of these ilks.
While Trump’s and Cruz’s bloc of support would remain intact, historically in any brokered convention or coalition deal, neither Trump nor Cruz would wind up the eventual nominee (as in the eventual nominee of the 1924 Klan-bake–the third place contender became the eventual nominee).
In a non-parliamentary system like the U.S.’s republic form of government, this is critical. After support is given, if concessions are not made, the other side could simply ignore the support of the weaker factions. In parliamentary governments, the weaker side always has the option to withdraw support, dissolving the government — but this cannot happen in U.S. politics.
So the weaker side will demand some significant concessions. Policy is important, but getting to choose the figure-head of the coalition is often seen as the most power they will ever have.
While this may be Kasich’s reason for staying in, he’s gathered so much bad blood from both sides for not departing, he’ll never be the eventual nominee.
Trump’s camp is probably going to be better a compromising than Cruz’s. Cruz’s political history has been marked by rigid politics with little to no tolerance for compromise or deviation from platform. But Trump’s camp is not going to like the prospect of Trump not being the centerpiece.
Compromise will be messy, potentially not even possible. The idea of an independent run appeals to many, but that too seems implausible — too many states have sore loser laws where they would be ineligible in the general election as an independent.
But walking away from the convention unhappy is not where the Republican Party wants to be.
The Democrats were cremated after the 1924 Convention, not a historical position any party wants to be in.
Nobody will be totally happy, but they still have to get their party to the polls in November.
This could potentially hurt the Republicans the worst; especially, if the Democrats leave their convention energized.
Time will only tell what the 2016 Convention will be called, but one thing is totally certain if it becomes brokered: it will be a convention remembered for backroom deals, fierce arguing, and an angry party.