The Donovan Forum at UK made the mistake of asking me to talk to them about national party nomination conventions - (I have reported on 14 of them.) The Forum, open to all, meets each Thursday at 2pm at the Senior Citizens Center at Alumni and Nicholasville, during the regular UK semesters.
Last week was my turn. And I held forth for about an hour (making at least 2 mistakes I am aware of for now.) Let me summarize for you.
On who will win at the summer meetings, there are NO experts. Since candidates started announcing last summer, almost all major media stories, predictions (especially) have been wrong. So have the polls. All 13 polls in advance of the Iowa caucus were wrong! (I was asked the origin of “caucus” and said it meant meeting, which it does but with political overtones---and that it came from the Latin. First mistake: it is actually a North American Indian word.)
While I did not count them, my estimate is that over our entire history from one third to one-half of these conventions have been “brokered” or “open.” The last one was the GOP event in 1976, and we have gotten used to one candidate arriving with enough votes to win. That simply has not been true over much of our history.
Will there be a brokered convention this year?
The 3 “experts” I trust the most---CBS’s Bob Schieffer and PBS NewsHour’s Brooks and Shield (not to be missed on Friday nights for you political junkies) now say "the odds favor it.” I agree.
As of this week there are still 22 primaries and caucuses out there...with the big New York primary set to come in soon, followed by Pa. and California. We’ll have a better idea after these states vote. And please remember, the national news media are giving different reports of the candidates’ total delegate count based on their ESTIMATE of how the “superdelegates” in each party MAY vote on the first ballot. Since they are free to vote for anyone, unless they announce their choice, we really won’t know til then.
Stay tuned…and fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
(My 2nd mistake was to say writers of the Constitution wrote in a section so Alexander Hamilton couldn’t run for President. He was not born in the colonies---our first “birther” controversy. Wrong, there is a section so he could. But of course, he was killed in a duel.)
I'm just sayin...