The beauty of blowed-up politics

Here we are, less than a month from the Iowa caucuses, and we’ve got a presidential race that is wide, wide open. What a beautiful thing.

Many people don’t see the beauty of it — particularly political party leaders who built a primary calendar that’s designed to find a nominee in a hurry and maximize fund-raising time until the sprint in the fall. To them, I say: Aw. Too bad. Your candidates are actually going to have to campaign and you might not even have a nominee after the February pile-up, meaning that those states who refused to be pressured into pushing up their primaries are suddenly going to be very, very important. Your plans might be smashed.

And for those folks, the Ultimate Nightmare Scenario looks at least possible, especially on the GOP side: A brokered nominating convention. I mentioned such a possibility to a California political consultant a couple of months ago. He 1)rolled his eyes, 2)said that was just a pipe dream of political journalists and 3)said it would never happen. I wonder if he still feels so confident.

I think brokered conventions would be great — and not just from a news-coverage point of view. That scenario would put real meaning behind these conventions, getting them away from fundraising and phony stage-setting opportunities into something really meaningful and important. And a smart political party shouldn’t be threatened by such a scenario — I’d argue that, in fact, it should be celebrated. It would be a wounderful civics lesson, and interesting/dramatic enough to hopefully get the public to pay a little more attention to how their presidential candidates are chosen.

I’ve got no predictions here. I’m a horrible political predictor and so are most of the people who claim they’re skilled on this front. But I am looking forward to the show, and I think it’s good for democracy.


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