Why Are Republicans Afraid Of An 'Open' Convention?Submitted by emalvini on Mon, 04/02/2012 - 13:16
Why Are Republicans Afraid Of An 'Open' Convention?
by Bob Barr
According to most talking heads and political pundits, the race for the GOP’s presidential nomination is all but over, as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has pulled away from the rest of the field over the last couple of months. Party leaders are urging the remaining candidates to stop trying to win votes and delegates. The oft-repeated refrain is that we must “unite the party” around Romney and avoid a brokered convention at all costs. The GOP establishment appears deathly afraid of having a convention that is anything more than a parade of pre-choreographed speeches and parties.
Yet, a truly open convention would increase the GOP’s chances of defeating Barack Obama in November. A brokered convention would spark very real interest among the party faithful and, even more importantly, among independent voters. And it would send a clear message to those who would rather preserve the status quo than nominate a candidate who might shake up that status quo.
In 1976, Republicans faced a choice similar to the one they face now. In one corner, there was President Gerald Ford, a moderate who fell into the White House after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. In the other corner, there was an exciting conservative former governor by the name of Ronald Reagan.
There was talk of a brokered convention thanks to Reagan’s strong challenge from the right. However, Ford narrowly averted this — winning 117 more delegates than Reagan, then losing the general election to Jimmy Carter.