The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Convention

Before I became a political activist, I was simply a political junkie who followed politics much in the same way I followed sports: studying stats, watching the returns on game night, and cheering for the team I liked, but otherwise not doing much. Like any political junkie, just like any sports junkie, it is easy to yearn for the highly unusual moment, for the unexpected situation, for the nail-biter, for the big upset, for the result no one else saw coming and for the simply extraordinary. In politics, a brokered convention--where the nominee is determined at the convention and not beforehand in the state primaries and caucuses--would be the equivalent of an extraordinary event like someone breaking the single-season home run record, or of a mid-major Cinderella winning the NCAA tournament. Now, I would love for this happen. In fact, my dream would be for both the Democratic and Republican parties to hold "brokered" conventions. This way, Democrats are not "hurt" by a brokered convention, the political drama could not be any higher, and both parties would probably agree to some sort of major primary reform as a result of the predicament in which they found themselves. Truly, it would be a political junkie's dream come true.

However, as much as I would like for a brokered convention to take place, I just don't think that it will happen. The basic reason is that unless two candidates are virtually even in delegates, there will be a lot of insider, super delegate pressure on the candidate trailing in delegates to drop out and endorse the leader. Further, it will be extremely difficult for any two candidates to really be all that close in terms of delegates, for several reasons which I explain in the extended entry:
  • The winner of a state caucus / primary receives delegates in a disproportional amount relative to his or her vote percentage. For example, in 2004, the winner of 29 of 30 states to hold events on or before March 2nd received a higher percentage of delegates than he received at the ballot box. Overall, Kerry received 75.9% of elected delegates, despite only receiving 50.2% of the caucus vote, and 61.0% of the primary vote. Every other candidate received a lower percentage of delegates than s/he received at the ballot box. Even small victories can allow a candidate to rack up large delegate advantages.

  • Over one-quarter of delegates are not elected. Even as the delegate system allows a candidate a larger lead among elected delegates than s/he received in terms of votes at the ballot box / caucus location, with nearly one-third of all delegates not elected (the super delegates), party insiders can easily apply enough pressure on a second-place candidate to force him or her to drop out long before the convention (or, at least remove any chance s/he might have at winning the convention). Insiders would be scared to death of the nominee being decided at the convention, as they fear it would seriously damage the chances of the party to win back the White House. As such, a leading candidate does not need to win 50% of delegates in the states: s/he will only require a minimum lead of, say 150 or 200 delegates, and support of the super delegates, in order to warp things up early on.

  • Intra-party voting blocks dissipating. In past nomination processes, the election has dragged out because some candidates were exceptionally strong among some regions and demographics within the primary electorate. For example, in 1988 Al Gore had tremendous strength among southern whites, allowing him to win many primaries, and Jesse Jackson was dominant among African-Americans, allowing him to win many primaries. Further, neither candidate ever did very well in a state without a large concentration of their best-performing demographic. As a result, the primary electoral was fragmented into voting blocks, and it was extremely difficult for any one candidate to sweep several states in a row. However, the Democratic Party just is not as fragmented as it once was, and don't expect wide, regional and demographic swings in favor of one candidate or another. In other words, if someone has a national lead, even if small, that candidate will probably lead in every single state as well. For example, despite a lead of only around 11% nationwide, Clinton leads in every single state in the nation, with the exception of Iowa and the home states of most other candidates. Among the Democratic primary electorate, regional and demographic differences are just not as meaningful to voting tendencies as they once were. Pew has more data on this here, and I have written about this in the past.

  • No candidate has "hard" support. Simply put, no candidate's base of supporters is so strong and unyielding that s/he won't suffer major defections in s/he does poorly in early states. A recent Pew poll put the percentage of true undecideds in the Democratic electorate at 71%, and I actually think it might be a little higher than that. Factor in that many candidates will drop out before February 5th, and that the supporters of the candidates who drop out will flock disproportionately to the candidate in the lead, and the possibility of a virtually tied campaign going into February 5th becomes even more remote.
Put this all together, and I just can't think of any other scenario where the delegate count will be close after February 5th. In order for a brokered convention to take place, you need a situation where the narrow leader of the elected delegates after February 5th is different than the narrow, or even not so narrow, leader of the non-elected super-delegates. Not only is it difficult to get a narrow leader in elected delegates, it is also necessary for the elected and unelected delegates to disagree on their preference. That is a rare situation to come by, and so the only possibility of a brokered convention I see is if the pre-Iowa national poll leader is also the clear favorite of party insiders, but that person is shut out of the early states (and even in that situation, a brokered convention is still just a possibility, not a guarantee). If someone trails in elected delegates and among party insiders after February 5th, it is over, whether or not the leader has a majority of delegates, and even if the lead is narrow. If the frontrunner in national polls wins any of the early states, then that person is basically assured of a series of big wins on February 5th, and the race will be over. If the favorite of insiders trails in national polls going into the early states, and does poorly in the early states, that person will be abandoned by insiders after February 5th. If the national and New Hampshire polling scenarios are both tight going into Iowa, then whoever wins Iowa will win become the presumptive nominee, because that person will probably sweep every state with ever growing momentum. And I could go on and on.

So, in summary, while I would like to see a "brokered" convention for both sides where the nomination is determined at the convention and not in the states, it just strikes me as an extremely narrow possibility. Be prepared for the presumptive nominee to be crowned on February 5th, or possibly even earlier.

Tags: President 2008, Primary Elections (all tags)

Comments

33 Comments

The only way

The only way it could happen is with three strong candidates all surviving the first four (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) by winning one each,  and then splitting February 5 with no one getting a near majority of the votes, of the delegates or of the states in play.

If there are only two strong candidates one will definitely be perceived as the winner by February 5.   I agree it is unlikely because 08 will probably be like every other year in that the winner of Iowa will get enough of a bump to win New Hampshire which will provide enough of a bump then to sweep South Carolina as well.

by AlanR 2007-04-05 10:42AM | 0 recs
The Gore factor

I can see the Dems having a brokered convention if Gore enters the race.  Hillary and Obama have enough money (and will presumably continue to raise huge sums through the spring and summer) to carry them through beyond NH and Iowa, and Edwards, even though he's behind, has big money historically.  If Gore enters the race, and all four major candidates are still in the race in Jan, then it's possible that there won't really be a 'winner' in NH or IA (maybe the 'winner gets 30-35%, with others in the 20's).  Then Super Tuesday becomes too big for one candidate to campaign hard in all the states, and the big four (or maybe 3 at this point - one will run out of money), will split the big early states - say Hillary takes NY & NJ, Edwards FL and/or TX, Gore CA & PA, and/or Obama in IL and suddenly there aren't enough delegates left for anyone to get a majority.

by brooklyngreenie 2007-04-05 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The only way

Even if every state currently debating a Feb 5 primary actually moves their date up to then, by my math there will still be about 1500 delegates up for grabs.  I could be getting those numbers wrong, since I'm going off of 2004's delegate count at convention.

by Jay R 2007-04-05 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The only way

And I'm now almost certain I have those numbers wrong.  Let me get back to you on that...

by Jay R 2007-04-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The only way

There will be 2122 delegates left after Feb 5.

by Jay R 2007-04-05 12:21PM | 0 recs
What about the GOP?

I agree that a brokered Democratic convention is highly unlikely, in large part because the candidates are close enough on the issues that I think many voters will be comfortable abandoning their candidate for the front-runner after the early states.

But on the GOP side, I think this is a possibility, albeit not an odds-on favorite. I could certainly see a situation in which a conservative like Thompson wins Iowa, Giuliani or McCain wins NH, and on the Feb. 5 big day, the Northeast goes for either Giuliani or Romney, the South (including TX and FL) goes for the conservative front-runner, and CA goes for McCain (or maybe Giuliani). With so many big-delegate states voting early, it's possible that they will go to different candidates and prevent any candidate from gathering 50% of the delegates to the convention.

I think that sort of regionalism is the only way to get a brokered convention, and it might just exist in the GOP, although certainly not in our party.

by gobears 2007-04-05 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re:

I agree with you Chris. We have about as much of a chance of there being a brokered convention as we do of having a Santos/McGarry ticket in 2008.

by who threw da cat 2007-04-05 11:02AM | 0 recs
Maybe we don't go to Convention

But I'd say that we have the Potential for a longer primary season not in spite of, but because of the fact that the States are all moving up to be part of the National Primary on Feb 5th.

As of now (no telling which other states will move up by then), there are 12 states scheduled for Feb 5th including the three big ones (Texas, New York, California).  On Feb 5th over 1/3 of the pledged delegates will be chosen.

So what happens if Feb 5th is split (as can very likely be the situation if there is no clear leader heading in)?

In years past a close second or third place finish on Super Tuesday would have been more then enough to toss in the towel and call it a day, but I don't think that will be the case this year because of money.

With so many states voting on Feb 5th, it will be interesting to see which candidates gamble it all on that day, or which candidates place some resources in the early second wave states like Virginia, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

So, here is the scenario that I envision could draw out the race....
A close second or third position candidate coming out of Feb 5th that has field ops in 2 out of the three races above and $20 Million still in the bank (see Q1 numbers to see why this is possible).  I see that candidate sticking around for a few more weeks and taking a shot at VA, TN or WI.  What if they win two of those states and catch up with the leader?

So there you have it, a ridiculously long comment with more "if's" then a Presidential Signing Statement, but it could happen, and it would be exciting.

by Pitin 2007-04-05 11:03AM | 0 recs
if citizens organize to support

independent delegates a brokered convention could happen.

by Carl Nyberg 2007-04-05 11:06AM | 0 recs
No Momentum This Time

I think the compressed primary schedule will make for an entirely new dynamic this time.  With so much money being raised so early, none of the top 4 or 5 candidates will drop out until they see what happens on February 5th.  

With so many primary voters having a say in the outcome for the first time in their lives, why will they listen to a few thousand people in Iowa and New Hampshire?  With the schedule so close together, they won't have time to react to the news anyway.

A brokered convention may indeed be unlikely, but I see a very muddled race coming out of February 5th.  The irony will be that the states that didn't join the feeding frenzy up front will be the ones who actually get to decide the race.

by Lex 2007-04-05 11:08AM | 0 recs
OT to Chris

Chris, sorry for the OT question, but how is that McCain google-bomb going? Do you think it's worth google-bombing Fred Thompson before he gets in and inspires lots of people to start searching for info on him?

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-05 11:15AM | 0 recs
Lay off Fred Thompson!

As I see it, he's our best hope for a Democratic landslide in the general election. We WANT him to be their nominee! He'd be like Jeb Bush without the lock on Florida.

by gobears 2007-04-05 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: No brokered

The last time either party had a close, and I mean very close, convention was the Republicans in 1976.  In that case, the establishment candidate managed to barely edge out an ideological candidate with a lot more pizzazz.  If Obama was more rigidly progressive, you might recreate the Ford-Reagan battle.  

The last time a candidate won a nomination without going the primary route was Humphrey in 1968.  All that took was the upset ouster of the incumbent President and the assassination of the leading candidate at the conclusion of the primary season.  Not too likely.

Historically, brokered conventions have needed either a super majority requirement to nominate (two thirds) and/or a series of strong favorite son candidate to soak up delegates from many major states.  This was, after all, before most states had a primary/caucus.  This just isn't likely despite the drama.

Even in the 1960s, favorite sons usually evaporated at convention time and the leader steamrolled to a first ballot win.  The mechanics are not there for a brokered convention.  Not with four or five months for the party's power machine to select their candidate.

by David Kowalski 2007-04-05 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility

If you haven't read Fear and Loathing 1972, you should.  Hunter talks about a lot of the high drama that goes on behind the scenes at the conventions.  Not to mention the battle over the Illinois delegation (Mayor Daley brought a delegation, so did Jesse Jackson - only one got seated).

by JJCPA 2007-04-05 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

Geez, are we going to have to go through this brokered convention nonsense every 4 years?

Carpetbagger Report, February 10, 2004:
If this keeps up, a brokered convention seems highly unlikely

Robert Kuttner, January 14, 2004: A Democratic cliffhanger?

And Jerome's positively a "brokered convention" obsessive:

Here's The Possible Future by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Feb 09, 2004:

No one is getting out, Kerry is getting less than 50% of the delegates... even if Kerry continues his plurality wins, if no one gets out (and why should they, given the internet funding) we'll have a brokered convention.  If one of the other candidate starts to catch hold (ala Reagan in 1976), we could have a contested brokered primary.

Give it up, Jerome!

Na Ga Ha-pen!

by tgeraghty 2007-04-05 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility

Yes it's the eternal dream. Why must Chris squash so many dreams?

by MassEyesandEars 2007-04-05 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio
Thank you, Chris. Please. Enough of this half-bright silliness.

"The Grand Democracy-Revitalizing Brokered Convention"™ and the pivotal "Second Life Presidential Debate" rank up there with monkeys flying out of my butt in the list of things promised on the Wise Old Blogfather's Internets that I won't hold my breath for.
by dereau 2007-04-06 03:22PM | 0 recs
Superdelegates and insiders

Chris, can you elaborate on how you know party insiders hate the idea of a brokered convention?

Not doubting you, just curious what the rationale is for this piece of CV that it would "hurt" the party.

Here in Canada, our Liberal party had about the equivalent of that when the voting for the new leader had to go several rounds to get to a majority.

It generated a lot of interest and gave the Libs a substantial boost in the polls after the convention.  They've declined since, but it's clear the excitement of an uncertain outcome was a good thing for the party.

by scientician 2007-04-05 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility

Thank you for writing this, Chris.  I completely agree.  A brokered convention in this day and age is virtually impossible.  To your points I would add the following:

1) Even in 1988, a crazy campaign in which 5 different candidates won major early states, Dukakis eventually pulled away from the pack and won.  And that campaign, as you point out, had every key ingredient for the brokered scenario, none of which are present this year.

2) As you point out, polling from state to state is virtually identical.  Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are all national candidates with no clear regional base of strength. However the polls shift between now and next year, they are likely to shift in unison across all states.  

3) The earlier start of the campaign and the front-loading of the primary schedule serve to magnify the importance of the early contests.  By the time the Iowa caucuses finally rolled around in 2004, the coverage was so intense (and had been going on for so long) that it seemed like the Biggest Thing Ever. As a result, Kerry was able to translate his win there into an electoral landslide.  The same thing will almost surely happen this time around. By the time Iowa actually happens, this contest will have been dominating headlines for over a year. The anticipation will be huge. The winner of the Iowa caucuses will, more likely than not, carry that momentum to victory in the other contests.    

by Anonymous Liberal 2007-04-05 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

I agree with the thrust of this post, except for the last part of the last line:

"..or even earlier". (meaning pre-Feb 5).

There is no way, and should be no way, that any of the top three, (and there is an argument for evenn the second tier), should drop before National Primary day.  Not until the results from National Primary day come in.

by jc 2007-04-05 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

Edwards will have to drop out if he doesn't win any of the first five states (IA, NV, NH, SC, FL). He won't have any money or momentum left.

by Dave Sund 2007-04-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

(Should add that I think Edwards not winning any of those states is unlikely).

by Dave Sund 2007-04-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

Good point on the 1st five states, as he should be strong there.

"won't have any money or momentum left".

Given the amount of money people are raising, that shouldn't be an issue, to go one more month.

And as far as the mystical "momentum" - this has always struck me as one of those CW points.  And certainly, I would think that, given the 30-50 million (say) he might have raised by that time, he has a duty to stay in until after Primary Day.

by jc 2007-04-05 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

Could depend on the dynamics between the three.

Suppose, purely hypothetically, that over the next year Obama runs left and Hillary runs right.  Suppose Hillary locks into first place with around 40% and Obama and Edwards start to consistently pull around 30% each.

There would be pressure for either Obama or Edwards to drop out in favor of the other.  If they occupied the same ideological space and were splitting the same constituency groups, there'd be every kind of pressure, within, without, the other camp, even their own consciences', to find a way to unify their vote and win.  Which would mean somebody dropping out, with or without an endorsement of the other guy.

More abstractly, #3 is gonna be under pressure from #1 and #2.  #3's supporters are likely to move disproportionately to either #1 or #2.  Therefore one of #s1and2 are gonna want #3 to stay in, and the other is gonna want #3 to get out.  #3 now has the choice of whether or not to leave, and thus considerable power.  If, that is, his supporters would move heavily to only one of the two remaining candidates.

Anyway, there are good reasons why a candidate might drop out before superduperTuesday.  I suppose they could go through with it and then just deliver their delegates to someone else, but there's many drawbacks to that plan.

by texas dem 2007-04-05 01:32PM | 0 recs
The possibility Of A Brokered Convention

The breakdown of delegates up for grabs on Feb 5, assuming all states considering shifting to that date do so, is really fun to play around with.

There will only be CT's 62 delegates up for grabs in New England.

Combined, New York and New Jersey give 412.  California alone is 440.

There are 263 delegates in the West and SW (including OK, UT, AZ, CO, ID, and NM).

The South has 567 delegates up for grabs (GA, AL, AR, GA, TN, TX and WV).

Pennsylvania and Deleware would provide another 201 Atlantic delegates combined.

There are 274 delegates from the industrial midwest (MO, IL).

Given this breakdown, it looks to me like the only way this is over on Feb 5 is if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, since she's probably got NY, NJ, CT, and CA (for 914 total delegates from just those 4 states).  One of the other candidates would have to damn near sweep the South, West, Southwest, and Midwest states on Feb. 5 to stay apace.

Of course, over 2000 delegates are not going to be decided on Feb 5, so of course there are other possible scenarios that could unfold.  But right now, it looks like someone could win upwards of fifteen of twenty states and still be losing.

As to pre-convention pressure being brought to bear on whichever candidates are behind, there will be two huge questions hanging over that process: which of the two losing candidates gets the #2 spot on the ticket, and couldn't the two losing candidates simply combine delegates to form their own ticket?  I don't disagree that one candidate will probably be ahead of the other two to a measurable degree, but a 3-way fight without a majority in any one camp means that the superdelegates are going to have more options than just backing the leading candidate or anarchy.

by Jay R 2007-04-05 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The possibility Of A Brokered Convention

Hm.  If I'm Obama, I'm probably thinking California is my best state on Feb 5.  Followed by Penn (and not counting IL).  And with possibilities in Texas and New Mexico.

Edwards would be looking to all those Southern states, WV, MO, TX, and all those western states.

Anyway, if Obama isn't winning in CA then I can't see him winning anywhere.  CA has the youngest, most diverse, and most college-educated-white electorate on Feb 5th, I would assume.  (Except maybe NM)  CA is expensive, and there's a lot more hefty Democratic machinery than in a state like Texas, and Hillary is pretty good about getting dividends off that hefty Democratic machinery.  But still, if Obama isn't winning CA I can't see where else he could win.

by texas dem 2007-04-05 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The possibility Of A Brokered Convention

I would think CA will be almost entirely Obama v Clinton, since it's almost prohibitively expensive to compete there.

I doubt a huge push is made in NM, since Richardson will probably still be in on Feb 5 and home state crowds are nice to favorite sons (think Dean in '04--Nora O'Donnell may never remember he won Vermont but I do).

I can't be sure of how the women's vote will play out in the South, but I'm predicting that Hil will take Florida the week before, and Obama and Edwards will slug it out in the remaining souther states.

For Hillary, I think she puts all she can into NY, NJ, CA, CT and uses her leftovers wherever she sees an opening (probably takes a handful of the less expensive states--maybe even MO, though that'd be a tough blow for Obama considering how many former Gephardt staffers he's hired).

But my main point stands--there are plenty of ways to realistically game out scenarios from Feb 5 that leave the race a toss-up or at least keep any one candidate from hitting a majority of delegates.

by Jay R 2007-04-06 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility Of A Brokered Conventio

A tripolar alignment is unstable in winner-take-all scenario, which is why third parties have problems arising unless it eventually swallows one of the existing parties or one of the established parties implodes.

If you want a brokered convention, you need to maintain this unstable three-way scenario to keep anyone from getting a majority of delegates (or near it).  The possibility of this happening would be enhanced by some nasty campaigning which would make the third person considering staying in out of spite if s/he thinks that doing so could cost the object of enmity the race or is a strong ideologue who has something to prove.  The latter describes none of the front-runners, I believe.  Given the lack of differentiation between the candidates, it might require a lot of 36-34-30 primary wins spread evenly across three candidates.

by Anthony de Jesus 2007-04-05 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The Near-Impossibility

McGovern set up the rules that Jimmy Carter used in 1976 with long, hard slogging in Iowa and New Hampshire to create momentum toward a national victory. Through 2004, each set of primaries has been substantially a rerun of the same game.

 The front loading of many primaries on Feb 5th looks like a major change in the rules of the game.  Certainly, the game can be argued either way; but your level of confidence sounds greatly overstated.  Can we tell already whether one or another candidate will choose a Rahm type targeted primary strategy, successfully or unsuccessfully, or another choose their own fight in every race strategy, successfully or unsucessfully?

Why should 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th place get out until someone in first place really has the delegates to flat out win?  This is not to say a brokered convention is likely, but I could see lots of outcomes as of Feb 5th which allow the game to continue being played for quite a while after that date.

by wind off the lake 2007-04-05 02:29PM | 0 recs
Another Take

I agree with the commenter above, that Gore entering that race dramatically increases the likelihood of a brokered convention (in which case it's most likely to me that any brokering involves Gore giving all his delegates to someone else), but even if he doesn't I have another plausible scenario to offer:

I think it's likely that delegate counts will be relatively close, because of the reasons Joe Trippi mentioned. I know that winners take a lot, but I'd have to see some pretty specific numbers on the big-delegate states to think it won't be at least close.

If it is close, It's highly likely to me that both Edwards and Obama will anticipate a lot of super-delegates going for Hillary, and will decide to forge an Edwards-Obama or Obama-Edwards ticket. I'm inclined to say it's more likely to be Obama-Edwards (and, though I'm an Edwards supporter, that's probably a better ticket), but it's also likely that Edwards will get most of the non-Hillary super-delegates, and will be in position to assume the top spot.

Basically Chris, I'm mostly with you, but I do see a possibility of an Edwards and Obama teaming up to beat Hillary.

by msnook 2007-04-05 02:29PM | 0 recs
THANK YOU for writing this

I get so sick of hearing about liberal porn fantasies about a "brokered convention" like on that West Wing show a while back.

Seriously. Ever since 1972, there have been countless souls spending years developing ways to prevent the debacle of 72 from Ever Happening Again. Talk about this with an old timer and you're likely to give them a stroke. Seriously.

From "super delegates" to the bizarre formulas of caucuses, primaries and the like, the elimination of "favorite son" candidates to control delegates and God Knows What Else, it will never happen again.

Frankly, I don't see why it is states should be paying for or sponsoring partisan primaries in the first place, esp. when the convention is now nothing but a tv show and coronation ceremony. It's a vestige of times past and it's time to up-end it with something more engaging than fundraising and a rushed primary schedule.

by Schadelmann 2007-04-05 02:34PM | 0 recs
1% at most

I still think an unknown could sweep in & win Iowa sometime with the right campaign but a broakered convention is for the history books.  The only way it could happen is if two candidates were virtually tied.  I'd put the odds on that at about 1%.  Even in the close Mondale-Hart-Jackson race of 1984 Hart came within approx. 100,000 votes of Mondale in the aggregate primary popular vote but Mondale had a commanding delegate majority.

by howardpark 2007-04-05 02:35PM | 0 recs
True odds are not well understood

I'm talking about life situations in general, not merely brokered conventions. I saw the previous thread a minute ago and was going to post in it, how long the odds were compared to what Trippi was estimating. But until seeing this thread I had decided to skip it, under the familiar theme of why bother?

Here's what offshore books would love to in a situation like this; put up a one-way prop. In other words, you can bet only on the Yes, that there will be a brokered convention. They'll give you stupid odds like 20/1 and let all the suckers swarm in and think it's a bargain. Meanwhile, they know if they put up a two-way prop they would be buried by wise guys betting on the No, with the odds much, much higher than 20/1.

I used to do that when I worked at the Horseshoe sportsbook, put up odds on one-way propositions and then run into the little office and try to choke the laughter when you got a stream of $10 and $20 bets, people taking 10/1 when it should have been 100/1 or higher.

by Gary Kilbride 2007-04-05 04:26PM | 0 recs

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