Friday, January 4, 2008

Brokered conventions coming?

Over at Media Nation, Dan Kennedy was talking about "McCain's media running mates" and I started on this long post about the state of the race, conventional wisdom, and the possibility of brokered conventions this summer - and forgot to mention my point about McCain's media running mates!

I think Dan is correct: The "Northeastern Media Establishment" is McCain's running mate. And, I will go a bit deeper: They so hate privileged Mitt Romney and so want Hillary to win the Democratic nomination, that they have all fallen in line to encourage independents in New Hampshire to vote for McCain, to siphon away votes from Barack Obama and John Edwards. Obama, Edwards, and to a lesser extent, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, are a bit more anti-establishment than the others, and that makes these people uncomfortable.
I think it is a safe assumption that most of the powerful media players like things just the way they are. They want a "safe" Democrat; they don't want real, fundamental change, whether it is populist or inspirational. They think Obama should have waited his turn. They don't like trial lawyers, so that keeps coming up when they talk about Edwards. They don't care about the poor or sick and dying of America, who may not have enough insurance, unless they are a feature or prop to sell newspapers. They are part of the "I got mine" crowd.
The Northeastern Media Establishment did the same thing to Howard Dean in 2003 and 2004 because he actually inspired young people and was a nobody who came out of nowhere to raise tons of cash and motivate the body politic. Dean was also a victim of his own success and arrogance. So, when he fell, he fell hard and that was it.
The Northeastern Media Establishment did the same thing in 2000. They so despised privileged frat boy George W. Bush and wanted to solidify a win for Al Gore, that they pumped up McCain. Think about this for a second: In 2000, the media managed to brainwash fair trading, pro-choice independents into voting for a free trading, pro-lifer - just because he was nice to them and offered up snarky one liners! They sucked the marrow right out of Bill Bradley's campaign by repeating this McCain Straight Talk mantra over and over and over again.
Little did they know that some of us out here in the real world would throw our votes to Ralph Nader and the Supreme Court would end up selecting Bush the president.
I still contend to this day, like others, that Bradley would have run a better race than Gore. There would have been no huffing and puffing during the first debate. There would have been no Joe Lieberman. Etc.
So, yeah, the media is McCain's running mate. For sure.

Back to brokered conventions and conventional wisdom.
Some will say Romney is done if he loses New Hampshire but I don't know. I don't sense that he plans on quitting no matter how many primaries or caucuses he loses.
Suggesting that Romney quit if he loses in New Hampshire is like suggesting Hillary should quit if she loses New Hampshire and then South Carolina. And, while I wish she didn't even run, we all know that none of this is going to happen. And, as long as Romney has money to burn, he will run.
In fact, none of the candidates has any reason to quit until after Feb. 5. At that point, almost half the states will have voted. If there is a clear winner, fine. But, I sense there may not be a clear winner, even after that, on either side.
The tight top tiers on both sides lead me to believe that we may be seeing brokered conventions this summer. And, if there is even a slim chance of that happening, then each candidate has a reason to hold onto as many delegates as they can until after Feb. 5, and see if a deal can be brokered. Over at BlueHampshire, I mentioned that I thought the Obama, Edwards, and Richardson campaigns should start chatting about forming a coalition to stop Hillary [and I was summarily criticized for that even though I still think it is a good idea]. If the Dems are serious about winning the White House back, she can't be the head of the ticket. If she is, it will be a divisive election. If she is the nominee, she will do something really stupid like pick another DLC Dem like Sen. Evan Bayh to be on the ticket. This essentially will empower the very liberal part of the spectrum to abandon the ticket and support Cynthia McKinney [or maybe even Nader again]. There is also the potential for Michael Bloomberg to run too, although he denies it.
Since the Democrats don't have a winner-take-all contest structure - essentially, any candidate who gets 15 percent, wins delegates - there is no reason to quit before Feb. 5. With Biden and Dodd out [Gravel is not out yet, so the press got that one wrong last night], the race is really about the top three, with Richardson and Kucinich holding onto small numbers. If the top three continue to win 15-plus percent, they will win delegates and it will still be anyone's game after Feb. 5. If there are landslides - and I don't mean 7 or 8 percent wins, I mean 20-plus percent wins - then it will be over fast. I could be wrong, but I don't think that will happen.

On the GOP side, it is a tad different, since most of the primaries, I believe, are delegate winner-take-all. So, you have to win. Second or third won't do.
If McCain wins New Hampshire, they move to Michigan [Polls say it is a toss-up between Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani], Nevada [Another toss-up between Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani], and South Carolina where it is essentially a four-way race but where Huckabee has been leading in every poll for the last six weeks.
Let's say McCain wins New Hampshire. Romney will have to win Michigan, which is a safe bet, despite the state's toss-up status. Then Huckabee wins in South Carolina, again, a safe bet. The Maine Caucus is a toss-up, who knows who will win it. And then, Feb. 5. At this point, the safe bet says it is anyone's nomination.
So, why would Romney need to quit?
Although, I readily admit that I am hopeful for a brokered convention, just for the theater of it all, I have a feeling it is going that way.

I will post a Campaign Notes, including another mail analysis, sometime this evening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A brokered convention would be fantastic. It would give Mike Bloomberg plenty of time to build out the kind of operation he needs to achieve victory