Democrat Party’s Brokered Convention in July to Be the First One Since 1952

Feb..12, 2020
Bob Adelmann

The Democrat Party's convention scheduled for July 13-16 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is increasingly likely to be the first brokered convention since 1952. That's when Adlai Stevenson was nominated on the convention's third ballot to face Dwight Eisenhower.

This is just as Michael Bloomberg and his political advisory brain trust have planned. By spending "bags and bags" of money, Bloomberg has been able not only to move the needle in his favor in national political polls, he has been able to damage – probably fatally – any chance that Joe Biden might have had to run away with the convention on the first ballot.

The latest poll from Quinnipiac University released on Monday shows that it's working. Just before the Iowa caucuses, Biden was in the lead with 26 percent of those polled supporting him for the Democrat Party's nomination for president. Bloomberg's support was at eight percent.

But Monday's results show Biden fading to 17 percent, while Bloomberg clocked in just behind, at 15 percent. In other words, Biden lost nine percent while Bloomberg gained seven percent.

Another poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire for CNN , puts Biden even farther behind the front runners, at just 11 percent.

FiveThirtyEight 's latest polls confirm Biden's slide into oblivion. As of February 10, Sanders holds a commanding lead going into the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday. He is at 25 percent, with Biden in fourth position at 12 percent, barely ahead of Amy Klobuchar.

Barring a miracle, the Democrat Party is heading for a brokered – some call it a "backroom deal-making" – convention in Milwaukee in July.

"It could happen," said the Democrat Party National Committeewoman Kathy Sullivan. If no candidate is able to secure the majority of the delegates on the first vote – 1,990 are needed out of the 3,979 who will be present – then not only are all delegates released from their obligation to vote according to their caucuses but the superdelegates (who cannot vote on the first ballot) come into play. Said Sullivan, "You'd have a situation where multiple candidates come out of the first four states with wins … if we come out of Super Tuesday (March 3 when 14 states hold their primaries) with no clear leader … then it goes to the convention and conceivably a second ballot."

According to Bloomberg's strategy, all he needed to do was to move the needle a little – not by much – in order to keep Biden from running away with the convention on the first ballot, forcing the convention to call for a second ballot.

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According to FiveThirtyEight, the chances of that happening have jumped from low single digits just a month ago to one chance in four.

Bloomberg has not only been flooding the airwaves with his ubiquitous political ads, he has been busy behind the scenes wining and dining the superdelegates. Those superdelegates include Democrat Party officials, Democrat Party officeholders who are beholden to Bloomberg for his financial support, and party activists and fund bundlers.

Said Chris Spirou, the former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, a brokered convention "is possible, it's quite possible. I think Bloomberg entering into this thing provides a much greater possibility of a brokered convention." Jim Demers, a veteran Democratic strategist in New Hampshire, confirmed it: "There's a real possibility of a brokered convention … resources will be the key."

Resources are the key, and Bloomberg not only has the deepest pockets, he has such an intense hatred of the president that he has doubled his planned political advertising over the next few months to make sure there is a second ballot in Milwaukee in July.

Here's how those resources are likely to be received by those superdelegates. Lenny Glynn, a liberal voter from Massachusetts who travelled to New Hampshire to witness the primary results firsthand, explained:

Bloomberg potentially could spend $4 billion or $5 billion of his own money, not just for his own campaign, but for Democrats from all over, from dog catcher to the Senate.

Every single superdelegate at the Democratic convention … is going to realize – holy bazookas, Mike Bloomberg might spend $5 million in support of my campaign for a district in Oklahoma!

That "chance" is improving every day. As Robert Boatright noted at The Hill:

It's even possible to imagine a dark horse nominee emerging at the convention. Imagine, for instance, that Sanders, Warren, and Biden battle each other to a standstill or that Biden supporters will not accept a Sanders or Warren candidacy, and vice versa.

Perhaps all sides could accept a Klobuchar/Booker ticket? The dark horse nominee would be credited with saving the party and would be unscathed by the primary process.

But this would only happen with Bloomberg's blessing. For now his strategy to remove Biden as the frontrunner is working.



National Review: Quinnipiac: Nearly Half of Biden's African-American Supporters Have Abandoned Him

January 28, 2020 National poll results from Quinnipiac University

February 10, 2020 National poll results from Quinnipiac University

The Hill: Democrats see chances rising for brokered convention

Bloomberg: In New Hampshire, a Third-Place Finish Could Still Be a 'Win'

FiveThirtyEight poll as of 2/10/2020

Fox News: Newt Gingrich: Democrats, get ready for a brokered convention

CNN: Bernie Sanders leads in final CNN New Hampshire tracking poll

Fox News: Chaotic 2020 primary battle raises prospect of brokered convention: Could it really happen?

What is a brokered convention?

The Hill: Bring on the brokered convention

The Hill: Bloomberg bets 2020 campaign on unprecedented strategy

FiveThirtyEight: Bloomberg's Super Tuesday Strategy Might Be Working

Bloomberg: Bernie Sanders Tops U.S. Poll; Bloomberg Overtakes Warren in Third Spot

Who/what are Super Delegates?

2020 Democratic National Convention

The New American: New Hampshire Democrat Debate: It's Over for Uncle Joe

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