If A Brokered Convention Happens, Which Candidate Should Be The Nominee? The Answer Might Be ‘None Of The Above’
Rumors of a brokered convention for the Democratic Party’s pick to be their nominee for president are no longer whispers, but as of this week are being openly discussed among party leaders and pundits alike.
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Party rules dictate that, if delegates (selected by votes from primary contests across the nation) cannot pick a candidate on the first round of voting with a majority vote, then superdelegates are entered into the foray to help decide the matter.
Reporting from the New York Times indicates that dozens of superdelegates are already saying they might not pick the plurality-vote winner if it happens to be Sen. Bernie Sanders. He’s won the popular vote in all of the first three nominating contests, and if his momentum continues into Super Tuesday, it’s likely he will end up being the candidate with the most delegates when all things are said and done.
Just not the majority.
There are so many candidates involved in this year’s nomination race that Sanders could wind up with 30 to 40 percent of the delegates. That would produce a brokered convention — a situation where candidates would wheel-and-deal their way into courting superdelegates and other candidates’ representatives who fared poorly in the initial round of voting.
It’d be hard for the Democratic Party to justify booting Sanders off the top of the ticket in this way. Doing so would seemingly disenfranchise millions of voters who have or would support him, and helped get him to the top spot in the race, in this hypothetical situation.
So, what’s a party to do? They might consider nominating someone completely different, someone that Democrats can definitely rally behind without tearing each other apart when the convention is over…and someone who didn’t run for president in the first place.
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This could be justified to the electorate better than nominating someone who ran but didn’t even succeed in getting the plurality vote. Indeed, the alternative, choosing someone who isn’t the popular vote winner, was a main complaint Democrats had in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Doing the same thing in their nomination process four years later would seem quite hypocritical.
But who can Democrats pick? That’s up to them to decide. However, one name that’s been floating around, and that would certainly fit as someone people can rally behind, has been former first lady Michelle Obama. Former Sen. Harry Reid has suggested that the Obama’s can help produce a deal at the convention if it’s indeed brokered. As part of those negotiations, it may be wise to consider Michelle Obama as the solution most everyone can agree on.
Whether it’s her or not, Democrats would also be smart to state right away that the person running, in place of the candidates that couldn’t get a majority of delegates, would only serve one term as president if they win.
Doing so lets the American people know that this isn’t an usurpation of the Democratic voters’ preferences, but rather a compromise that is temporary, with the goal being to get Donald Trump out of the White House, and a promise that, four years later, Democrats could try again to select someone more democratically.
The major hope for Democrats is, of course, that a brokered convention doesn’t happen at all. Ideally, the person who does get the highest delegate total in the first round should be the person that superdelegates rally behind to support, but things might not work out that way. If they don’t, Democrats have to be prepared for some unconventional convention moves that, hopefully, will feel more awkward than they do malicious.