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The 2012 presidential race, especially for the Republican Party, is looking unpredictable at almost every turn. Every primary and caucus is deciding a different winner, making people wonder who is the front runner to oppose Barack Obama for the presidency in November. Because of this, the question is asked: What will happen if none of the GOP candidates get enough votes for the nomination once the Republican National Convention happens? Will that mean a brokered convention, and what does that mean? Here's a quick explanation. What are Brokered Conventions? Brokered conventions are national conventions where all the delegates that have been won during the primary and caucus season for the various candidates haven't added up to a majority for a single candidate. In other words, during the first vote of the convention (called the first ballot), if a single candidate doesn't have the majority of delegates, then the convention is considered "brokered." What happens next is that the nomination will be decided through the delegates discussing changing their votes (often called a "smoke-filled room"), then casting re-votes. During this process, delegates who were once pledged to one candidate are free to re-cast their vote for another candidate in order to create a majority to vote for a nomination. Recent Close Calls With the emergence of new political influences in the past few decades - namely the 24 news cycle as well as the influence of movements like the Tea Party and Occupy - the idea of a deadlocked primary is still a strong possibility. In fact, in 2008, both the Republicans and Democrats almost saw their own brokered conventions happen. In the GOP, John McCain and Mitt Romney both won major primaries. If Romney had not dropped out of the race, the Republican Convention would have had to be brokered. For the Democrats, they were headed for a brokered show down between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama when Clinton conceded about 2 months before their convention. Could a Brokered Convention Happen in 2012? This year, while Barack Obama is clearly running for re-election, the Republican primary season looks to be setting itself up for a possibly brokered convention. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum have all won primaries so far, and none of them seem willing to step down quite yet. While the mainstream media does have an influence on the primaries - mainly in that the coverage may cause voters to jump on popular candidates' bandwagons - it is becoming more and more difficult to predict who may take the majority of the delegates' votes during their

convention this summer. The idea of a brokered convention seems almost like a foreign concept to American voters, mainly because one hasn't happened in recent memory. But with the influence of the media as well as a wider variety of candidates, it's entirely possible that a brokered convention could happen, even in 2012.

Manda L. Jamsey is a freelance writer who specializes in politics, political ads and the way the media and politics intertwines to act together. She believes that we all have the power to change democracy for the better.

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Brokered Conventions A Primer  

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