Election 2016

Let's Hear It for Contested Conventions

No matter which clown gets the crown, let him scrap for it.


Pro-Kennedy delegates waved these signs in 1980 to protest the fact that everyone had to vote—like "robots"—for the candidates they were pledged to. Or maybe they were afraid of a robot invasion. One or the other.

I don't have a candidate in the Republican presidential race, but I do have an outcome to root for. It seems more and more likely that the GOP will begin its convention without a clear-cut nominee, and I hope that is in fact what happens. No matter which clown gets the crown, let him scrap for it in Cleveland.

There was a time when the whole point of a political convention was to select a candidate, but those days ended long ago. The last semi-serious attempt to derail a nominee's victory at a convention was in 1980, when Ted Kennedy tried to change the rules so delegates pledged to Jimmy Carter could vote for him instead. The last convention that began with any real uncertainty about who would win it was in 1976, when Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford were still battling over delegates as the confab started. The last convention that actually took multiple ballots to pick a winner was in 1952, way back at the beginning of the TV era, when the Democrats went through three rounds of voting before settling on Adlai Stevenson as their standard-bearer. (That was also the last time a major party picked a nominee who wasn't a declared candidate when the convention began.) Genuinely contested conventions continue to take place in the third-party realm—I've been to two of them—but not in the parties that most people pay attention to.

As the political importance of the conventions declined, they devolved into increasingly empty rituals, a quadrennial rite where the party papers over its members' differences and broadcasts an infomercial to the nation. By 2012, things had decayed to the point where a candidate who had not dropped out of the race and had dozens of delegates supporting him—Ron Paul—was barred from speaking to the convention unless he agreed to submit his remarks in advance and to endorse the nominee. (He refused.) We were a long way from the days when Eugene McCarthy could address the Democratic convention in August 1968 yet not get around to deciding he'd vote for the guy who beat him til late October.

I have no nostalgia for the practice of party bosses picking nominees in smoke-filled convention rooms; the best alternative to today's sorts of corruption and manipulation is not to return to the corruption and manipulation of yesteryear. But if we strip a party of the power to stage a completely choreographed spectacle, that just might inject some substance into the proceedings. At the very least, it would let the seams show. What a pleasure it would be to turn on the TV during convention week and see some actual unscripted disagreement.

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  1. Come for the delegate votes, stay for the rioting.

    1. Nothing would be more entertaining than seeing union cops beating the crap out of Republican delegates in tacky polyester sports coats.

      1. I’m hoping it ends that way for both parties. I want to see crying commies feeling the burn and the tear gas.

        1. ^This. A duel between the candidates would also be acceptable.

          1. +1 Running Man Convention

  2. It’s so unfair. – Donald Trump who has 37% of the voters but got 47% of the delegates.

    1. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  3. Meh. The GOP establishment are a bunch of complete fuckwits. They didn’t earn the name Stupid Party without reason. As much as I dislike Trump, I actually dislike that bunch even more. Just look at the guys you pick and look at the outcome. Let’s see:

    McCain – LOSER
    Romney -LOSER
    Jeb – LOSER
    Rubio – LOSER

    Great record you got going there, clownshoes.

    1. AS dumb as the GOP establishment is, and God knows they are plenty dumb, I think in fairness you have to cut them some slack because their voters might be even more stupid. I keep asking GOP people “okay Trump sucks, but if you keep him from getting the nomination, what do you do to get his supporters to vote for the nominee”. I swear to God the most common answer I get is something to the effect of “Trump’s supporters are all a bunch of Democrats and we don’t need their votes”.

      Think about that for a moment. The party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections thinks they don’t need any votes to cross over from the other side. Maths is just a terrible mistress.

      Progressives are crazy and evil but they understand you have to at least pretend to offer people a reason to vote for you. The typical conservative Republican seems to think that isn’t necessary.

      1. To be fair, the reason the left gives to vote for their guy is because the Republican nominee is a dangerous extremist. Like Mitt Romney. And it somehow works.

        1. Its idiocy all the way around.

    2. They pretty much drove out anybody with a fiscally conservative bone in their body. The fiscally conservative, sensible middle class then lost interest, and the party gets turned over to Trump and populist rabble. And they’re stumped, STUMPED, as to what happened. “You mean our ‘just to the left of JFK’ set of policies don’t get your motor running? Why can’t you rubes just shut up and do as you are told?”

      The embarrassing part is many of my old college roommates, and extended acquaintances, are full on the establishment Republicans, within my State and at the Federal/National level that are causing this collapse. Big wigs in the State legislature, and the National GOP chairman, Priebus, was a late entrant in the group I hung around with-I had graduated and moved on to my career (so he wasn’t a roommate of mine but was best friends with good friends and roommates of mine), another former roommate a chief of staff of an “important” player in the GOP saga. I guess there was a reason I peeled off the political path. I didn’t really fit with these people when we’d talk philosophy of politics. I guess I could feel the division even then.

      1. cont

        I was part of the “libertarian Republicans” who were tolerated members of the CR’s. And, of course, the establishment kicked the libertarians out circa 2003 (when Medicare Part D – and its $11,000,000,000,000 price tag – was rammed through by the establishment Republicans). Now my generation of guys are at the helm, and whole thing is coming apart. I REALLY feel like I should have grabbed them by their lapels, circa 1989, 1990, 1991 and told them to get their heads out of their asses. Much too late now, but oh well. Still play cards with some of that group, and the one who is the Speaker of the Assembly in my state tells me “you’re rich, you just don’t know it”. That’s the kind of stuff I’m getting today. Again, those damn lapels should have been grabbed and some sense shaken in 2-3 decades ago.

      2. Pretty much that. They basically told the middle class to go fuck themselves. The GOP economic policies amounted to nothing more than tax cuts and artificially low interest rates for their cronies. They didn’t show a single bit of interest in doing anything about the regulatory state or any of the 100s of ways the government was fucking the middle class. Here, have some tax cuts and low interest mortgages on houses you can barely afford and you need to vote on abortion and gays anyway was the gist of their message. Add to that 20+ years of lying through their teeth about immigration.

        And then they wonder why Trump is doing so well. He may suck and be a con man, but he is the only person paying attention to about 40% of your base or giving them any reason to vote for them. I constantly ask Republicans, if Trump is so bad, how did the GOP manage to lose so many of their supporters to him? And they never have an answer. They seem incapable of any self reflection.

        1. Yes. And – at the risk of the tacit “name dropping” I know many people now in key positions. And they STILL don’t get it. It is group think in action. The series of mistakes born from hubris that sank the Titanic is an apt parallel. These friends and acquaintances of mine are hanging on to flotsam and jetsam attendant to the sinking. They are blind and arrogant and ignorant. But I’ve known them for thirty years, some over forty. But they are ignorant.

          As I’ve said many times, Trump is only a mile marker on the highway to hell. It’s what’s five – or ten – miles down the road that scares me. And I have little doubt my ol’ college buddies haven’t clue one.

          Because, in the end, politics is their business. And like business, you have downturns. But, somehow everything turns out all right. That is, until you actually go out of business, and no one has any idea of what went wrong this last time. Of course, they never really know what causes the downturn, or the recovery, in first and second place, so when the real shit is hits the fan, they just assume they just have to tighten their grip and wait it out. I think they’re going to be waiting a long, long time this time.

          1. The best description of them I have read was by one of the regulars on this board, I forget who. They are like executives of a failing company who think the solution to their problem is to law off employees and spend more money on advertising rather than fix their failing brand or improve their poor product. They just can’t seem to understand that it is their product that is the problem.

            1. In short, that is it. “You assholes NEED these buggy whips, so let’s all form a line just to the left here…”

              But I really feel bad for my part, because I was a part of this group during their formative years. COULD I have made a difference? I REALLY wish that I had. Or at least tried. But I was sick of it all by then (starting my career and all the stress that went with it). There’s no doubt in my mind that if I had wanted to I’d be in the thick of it all. But I had come to loathe politics and the conniving that went with it. I thought I was more use to the world as CPA than as an machine politician. But if I’d known THIS is what was coming down the pike, would I have tried? I don’t know. I feel even more guilty as one of my favorite college professors urged me to stay with the political endeavors as he felt they NEEDED accountant/financial minded people. But I didn’t. I comfort myself that I probably would have made little difference in the end, but it still is a regret that I didn’t stay with it and find out. Especially now that it has come to this pass. As a card playing buddy, my opinion means shit. As a player on the political field, either as an elected pol or a high level staffer, I MIGHT be pulling at a rope steering the barge. But then again, the likes of Paul Ryan talked about Ayn Rand back in the day. In power? Fairly run of the mill establishment.

            2. GOP = THQ

              1. Tetrahydroquinone? The headquarters? The head queer?

  4. The way I recall it, Ron Paul had 177 delegates in 2012, enough to control 4 state delegations, so the Establishment set the threshold at 5 states so he couldn’t be nominated from the floor. (The delegations from the states he won should have said “F that”, we’re casting our votes for Ron Paul.”) For 2016, they upped the ante to 8 states, just in case Rand Paul got some momentum.

    Now Kasich doesn’t have enough state wins to even get nominated, and they’re stuck with Trump or Cruz. Karma.

    1. Don’t worry, they’ll change the rules again to suit their preferences.

      1. We need to win a majority of the voters in November. Lets start by completely fucking the majority of our base support because WINNING.

        1. Reince Priebus = Charlie Sheen

  5. The parties are free to set their own rules of course, and if Trump gets 49 percent of the vote on the first ballot they are under no obligation to make him their nominee.

    But you know what they call someone who leads the field with 49 percent of the vote in the general election? Mr. President.

    (see 1992, Bill Clinton won with 43 percent, and 1996, Clinton won again with 49 percent.)

  6. Sure. Whatev. I’m having a hard time coming up a care on how these corrupt cesspools decide who the Big Turd is this year.

    1. Trump v Clinton — because Fuck You That’s Why

      1. Trump v. Clinton – at least it isn’t Sanders v. Bush.

        That is all I got.

        1. [laugh-sobs hysterically]

      2. I’m gonna say there’s a 1 in 4 chance that it will be Trump v Clinton.

        There are good odds that Trump doesn’t get the nom, on account of imploding or establishment Repub shenanigans.

        There are also good odds that Clinton doesn’t get the nom, on account of health or FBI leaks.

        1. Trump doesn’t seem to be imploding.

        2. Cruz v Sanders — choose your poison

          1. Is it just me or does Cruz seem really unlikable? There are some first class evil politicians that even I will admit would probably be fun dinner companions. Cruz strikes me as the smartest kid on the debate squad that you secretly were happy to see the jocks stick their head in the toilet. I mean you feel bad it happened and you wish it didn’t but you can’t help but feel like the obnoxious little bastard was asking for it.

            1. Yes. I can’t stand to listen to Ted speak. And he looks like the love child of Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.

              But at this point, I think he might do the least amount of damage of the 4 remaining contenders.

              1. Objectively, you are right. I think he is going to have a very hard time in November. He seems to have no awareness of his faults. I can’t see his campaign getting any better. The only reason he is getting anywhere is that the Republicans lost their minds over Trump. He hasn’t shown even the slightest ability to win over anyone outside the cause. He has just had a bunch of people run to him because he was the last guy standing against Trump. That is nice and all but he will have to do a hell of a lot better than that if he wants to win the general election

  7. If you miss Ted Kennedy, have I got a movie for you.

    “Now Hollywood producer Mark Ciardi will be releasing a biopic about the Chappaquiddick incident, but the focus is not on the ill-fated Mary Jo and her agonizing demise. No, Ciardi wants the viewer to see what Ted Kennedy ‘had to go through.’

    He said, “Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what he had to go through.””


    1. Yes, because Teddy was actually the victim in that incident. These fucking people are vile.

    2. They say it took Mary Jo two hours to drown. She waited in the air bubble in that car for two hours for help to come, while Ted ran off to Mommy and tried to sober up.

      1. You just don’t understand what the poor guy had to go through. That’s why this film needed to be made.

        1. And we all know those fuck heads running the kangaroo courts on college campuses, running off any male within a zip code of a “rape” out of school, will turn out to see this and love it.

    3. http://victorygirlsblog.com/wp…..-Life.jpeg

      Saw this issue at a flea market last year and regret not picking it up.

      1. Before they pried the Alien off his stomach?

    4. You could do a nice suspense movie about this, cutting back to Mary Jo slowly drowning while Teddy does . . . Teddy things.

      Probably have to change the names and mix up the events a little. If it was a crooked Repub, for example, or an ambitious businessman, you could probably get it made in Hollywood no prob. If you switched it up juuust enough, you could get A-listers falling over themselves to be in it.

      But as a straight telling of Chappaquiddick? Not a chance in hell.

      1. The movie has to end with Ted Kennedy dying and meeting Mary Jo’s spirit and her hugging him and telling him how happy she was to die for the cause of abortion.

      2. One of Anne Coulter’s best quips is when she said the only confirmed kill in the War on Women belongs to Ted Kennedy.

      3. Change the name to Keddy Tennedy, push the date to 1984, and make him a Republican trying to primary Reagan. Reagan does even more crooked Republicanny things to bring Tennedy down-not because he’s concerned about justice but because Tennedy’s a threat. That would get made in a heartbeat.

    5. It’s already been done for TV, called Smallville.

  8. That robot sign is pretty snazzy. I’d wear it on a t-shirt.

    1. And you would be among the first to die on the day of the uprising.

  9. RE: Let’s Hear It for Contested Conventions
    No matter which clown gets the crown, let him scrap for it.

    1. Damn you to hell! You wrote, “No matter which clown gets the crown, let him scrap for it.”
    I wish I was that clever. Great remark. I’m turning green with envy.

    2. Let it be known it is an election year.
    So just a reminder:
    It won’t be a circus without the clowns.

    1. I believe some people can see into the future. This was written about Bernie and Hillary, decades ago.

      Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair?
      Me here at last on the ground and you in mid-air
      Send in the clowns

      Isn’t it bliss? Don’t you approve?
      One who keeps tearing around and one who can’t move
      But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns

      Just when I stopped opening doors
      Finally finding the one that I wanted was yours
      Making my entrance again with my usual flair

      Sure of my lines
      Nobody’s there

      Don’t you love a farce? My fault, I fear
      I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry my dear
      But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
      Don’t bother they’re here

      Isn’t it rich? Isn’t it queer?
      Losing my timing this late in my career
      But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
      Well, maybe next year

  10. Spot the Not: Thomas Piketty

    1. My premise is not to tax to destroy the wealth of the wealthy; it’s to increase the wealth of the bottom and the middle class.

    2. I draw my inspiration from Sweden, not the Soviet Union. I have never advocated a centrally-planned economy.

    3. I am not political. It is not my job. But I would be happy if politicians could read my work and draw some conclusions from it.

    4. One way to have broader access to wealth is to reduce the tax on the large group and increase the tax on the very top so concentration of wealth doesn’t get to extreme levels.

    5. I loved American universities. In many ways, they are better organized – certainly than French universities.

    6. To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics

    1. 5.
      Because I doubt he would praise anything American.

    2. Gotta be 6. Bad economists focus on aggregates and math, not theory.

      1. Then again a French guy saying something nice about anything American other than Jerry Lewis is a stretch. Maybe it’s 5.

    3. I’m going with #6

    4. 2? I’m guessing that’s Berntard.

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    ——————— http://www.worknow88.com

  12. So Carter supporters were pro-robot? That’s not surprising.

  13. “Let’s Hear It for Contested Conventions”

    Honestly I think the best case scenario for this election is:
    Donny Trump fails to get the amount of delegates, Contested Convention ensues and the Republican Establishment attempts to coronate some establishment goon.

    Clinton gets her coronation just like everyone knows she will.

    Trump, being Trump, fires up a Twitter-rant shitstorm and goes independent, taking a sizable chunk out of the Republican party and making a whole new party.

    A month or two pass, and then a ~motherfucking MIRACLE~ happens, and Clinton actually gets indicted by the FBI.

    Sandersnistas demand Bernie get the Democratic nomination now that Clinton is indicted. Democratic Establishment still refuses to give Bernie any sort of recognition, and gives the nomination to some establishment goon. Sandersnistas secede from the Democratic party over this outrage.

    We’re left with a four-party system. And sure, the system is made up of neoconservative hawks, warmongering progressive hypocrites, actual fucking communists, and anti-trade xenophobic neo-isolationists, but at least with four teams instead of two we’ll be closer to having a voice. And we’ll have some parties that are ACTUALLY anti-war.

    1. *CLOSER to being actually anti-war.


    2. No way it happens like that. If Hilldog gets indicted, and there’s still an enormous chance Barry won’t let that happen, it will be after she’s has blocked Sanders from securing the nomination, but before the convention, so Uncle Joe or Chief Liz can ride in and save the day.

      1. Yeah, Obama is not going to be a President that gave the White House to the GOP. He’s got a legacy to think of. And there is will be no political will to impeach Hillary after she gets in office.

        1. I don’t know, having a sitting president facing indictment for Espionage might be enough for the GOP controlled House to look in their pants and find a pair. Maybe. Although I doubt she actually gets removed from office by the Senate. The GOP likely won’t have the votes and not enough Dems will break ranks to do that.

  14. Hillary doesn’t catch an indictment. I used to have a smidgen of optimism on this, but I checked recently and its gone.

    Best case scenario – some FBI guy grows a principle and leaks their investigation all over the intertoobz.

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