Saturday, January 19, 2008

Campaigns preparing for brokered convention

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Delegate tracking operations? Brokered Convention Madness has broken out in the campaigns:

Still, the prospect of serious wrangling in Denver remains a distinct possibility, and the leading campaigns say they’ve begun to focus on the prospect of running the kind of delegate operations that were common in the 1980s, when campaigns would employ a dozen or more staffers, each assigned to minding a set of delegates.

“The most likely scenario now after the fifth of February is that Obama and Clinton will basically split the delegates,” said [Tad Devine, a veteran Democratic consultant who ran Michael Dukakis’s delegate-tracking operation in 1988].

“The only real question is will there be a third candidate who can win between 10 and 20 percent of the delegates, and become a serious force.”
Forgetting the question of why Mike Dukakis needed a delegate tracking operation in 1988 in Atlanta, I'm still of the belief that this will be decided before the convention. But if it isn't, we are in for a great summer.

Update: Even Kos is catching Brokered Convention Madness:
What's interesting about this whole affair is that neither Clinton nor Barack are delivering knockout blows. Hillary will likely emerge with a couple more delegates than Barack, but nothing to essentially knock him out of the race. He's got plenty of cash to go on. She certainly does. This race can drag out for a long time.

Two brokered conventions in the same year? Wouldn't that be something!


Anonymous said...


... will have to start well in advance of a contested convention.

The campaigns often don't have full control over exactly who becomes a delegate pledged to support their candidate. The degree of even theoretical control they have over how those delegates vote, how many ballots, for example, they even theoretically have to vote for the candidate, is even more variable from state to state. Even where the campaigns could name a slate of folks who would become delegates if their side won, these folks were probably selected before the possibility of a contested convention loomed very large, and were often therefore not chosen with proven loyalty to the candidate uppermost in mind.

When you consider that the rules supposedly controlling whehter and for how many ballots delegates from different states have to vote for the candidate they're pledged to, vary form state to state, and are subject to state govet, state party and national party rules that may not be perfectly in synch, you have a situtation in which the delegates will have to be persuaded where they can't be controlled. And, to get a deal done with another campaign, the campaigns would have to get their delegates to go along with things, like voting for another candidate, that no rules, and only persuasion, even pretend to be able to force them to do. If these deals are going to be done before the convention, then delegate handling will have to start right about now.

Matt said...

DNC rules specifically state that delegates are not bound to candidates on any ballot. DNC rules override any state party rules, and any government rules, on delegate selection. We'll have a post on this in the next couple of days.