Why I want a brokered convention

Let me just say that for a short while I flirted with the idea of changing candidates. Like many, I can be influenced by the media, and I was possibly leaning to Clinton after the last several weeks becoming disenchanted with Obama.

Now, however, I am firmly returning to my support of Edwards. Here's why: If progressives/liberals want to start creating strategies that will defeat triangulation, that means we must step out on to the plank to support progressive/liberal values. By doing so, win or lose, we get a seat at the table. By having a seat at the table we start to shift the balance leftward. We can't do that if we simply give into to impulse.

I write this with no illusion that Edwards will win. That's not the point. The point is that he can influence the other two candidates, and force them, as he did at the debate to return to substance, and, he can be, in effect, become the honest broker as he has done throughout the primary cycle. When looking at this, I realized his strategic value: He can help reduce, even if he does not win, triangulation at least until the convention, and if he is king/queen maker, maybe he can help put a stake in its heart. Presidencies are also the people who surround them. How much better would Obama be if he were force to include Robert Reich rather than the right wing economic advisors he has now? How much better would clinton be not surrounded by Mark Penn? I don't know- but maybe with a bit of deal making we can find out. We can win even while losing. This is just a modest idea.

I don't have a huge amount of time. Here's the core idea: by Edwards remaining in the race he moves the center left. Without Edwards in the race, it's clear the other two remaining choices are more than willing to move the center right, or, worse, focus on their cults of personality.

Here's a simple fact- there aren't as many liberals out there. Here's simple fact- there maybe enough of us to shift the balance by denying centrism/triangulation an out and out win. This is how the right has done it. I am surprised no one on the left has thought of it. That like with a parlimentary system, to win, one of the two camps would have to deal with Edwards policy goals and focus on traditional democratic values.

If we are even 15 percent of any given state, then we are possibly enough over time to prevent an out right winner among the two centrist campaigns running. This is an invaluable bargaining position. Indeed, even if you support another candidate, given what we have seen on the last few weeks, I would advocate this strategy for forcing a consensus in the party through a broker convention rather than winner take all through delegates. The later seems to guarantee that we don't all have seats at the Democratic table. The former does.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Presidential Race (all tags)

Comments

37 Comments

Dream on.

This is media fantasy on Democratic side. Its purpose to keep the horserace narrative going when Clinton wins decisively on Feb 5. Because of the way delegate apportionment works she won't have an absolute majority so Obama can keep going if he wants to although it would be damaging ot party but he's not really interested in the party is he. As far as Edwards is concerned it's already over. If he collapses in SC it will remove all doubt. I'm surprised he hasn't pulled plug already.    

by ottovbvs 2008-01-23 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Dream on.

Your post is funny. First you say it's media fantasy. Then you say it's possible that even after Super Tuesday your candidate (since that's the point of your post) wil not have enough delegates. Meaning- that the first statement you made is either exageration or just what you want to be true. Unlike you however I didn't post this to predict the future. I posted it to point out why I want a broker convention.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 08:46AM | 0 recs
It will just take about three more months to get

them. If she wins 16 plus of the 22 super Tuesday primaries plus Florida. I'd say delegate count or no delegate count on Feb 5 that it's a fairly good indicator of which way this is going. Of course if she doesn't it isn't. But if she does the others should drop out and indeed Edwards might as well drop out now.  

by ottovbvs 2008-01-23 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: should

The key word in your post is "should." Yes of course given whom you support and advocacy for a canddiate you think they "should." I think because my advocacy is for shifting the center to center left, they shouldn't because if they are going to triangulate, I want them to deal with the American public first, the party second, the GOP last. A broker convention to me seems like a possible way to force them to do exactly that- whoever wins.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:16AM | 0 recs
actually the immigration positionS

Obama and Hillary got EQUAL delegates in NH and technically if the y are awarded as predicted Obama got one more delegate in NEV.

the only if part is if edwards can hit 15 % in enough states.

by TarHeel 2008-01-23 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: actually the immigration positionS

Thats why I point out that this is where the number of progressive/liberals matter. If enough of them could understand this dynamic of the race- namely that influence can be increased based  on a broker convention- then the better we would be. I am not sure whether they do get this. It took me until now to realize it myself. That is also a negotiation tool as much as an  outright win. One can move the so called overton window even while losing if one loses correctly.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Dream on.

Why even waste money on  a primary then? Let's donate the money to the poor and crown Madame Hillary.

by Pravin 2008-01-23 01:37PM | 0 recs
Interesting Diary

A brokered convention would certainly be great theater and could very well force any and all of the candidates to buy in to a more progressive platform.  Not to mention the prospect, however remote, of a last-minute draft Gore movement.  That last part is probably just me dreaming, but it is such a NICE dream...

by HSTruman 2008-01-23 08:49AM | 0 recs
he basically

was very effective in the last debate  after Obama

by TarHeel 2008-01-23 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: he basically

I liked Edwards in the last debate. That's surprising because generally, I don't like Edwards. But, I think Clinton should offer him a deal: a job in the White House for your endorsement.

by RJEvans 2008-01-23 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: he basically

If there is a real chance at a brokers convention he shouldn't take  a deal because he will have far more influence than being relegated to some room in the WH.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:11AM | 0 recs
he doesn't have to

even endorse her.

if he just dropped out she would get most of his votes in the non-blogosphere.

Obama is running a lieberman/mccain campaign both edwards and hillary are running to the base campaigns.

by TarHeel 2008-01-23 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

I could argue with your contention Obama is a centrist.  I could point out the true difference of Edwards and Obama's records as to who the real centrist is.  I could even point out that Robert Reich is a strong supporter of Obama.  But I know you are closed to those arguments.

But on what do you base your belief that Edwards would have any type of meaningful long lasting effect on a Clinton Presidency?  The centerpiece of Edwards campaign - pushing back against the corporate influences in Washington - is not something where he has pushed the debate anywhere.  Obama was for that from the start and it is an extension of the Ethics bill he wrote and got passed before he started running.  Clinton has always been against that, still is, and will remain to be long after the convention.  I think the idea that the planks voted on at the Convention has any real effect on the candidate and the eventual President is without any merit.  Are there any examples in recent times where that has mattered?

by Piuma 2008-01-23 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

The truth is I don't care about individual candidates. I supported Edwards, and you can certainly check my diaries and comments to the degree I thought he was the only one talking closest to those goals. The focus on personality- that's your thing. It's clear in everything you post that you lack anything approach objective discussion with regard to principles. It's why I stopped arguing with you about healthcare- for you it began when you supported Obama. So of course krugman and others are wrong because obama says we are.  In your frame Obama=progressive, as Steve M pointed out to you. So this discussion is beyond you.  I care about the goals for which the personality is there to accomplish. Not the reverse. And if you have to ask how the people who surround a President affects that President's decision- well it just confirms my view of you. go back and re read my diary with the goal rather than personality in mind.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Once again you choose to go personal against me instead of having a discussion.  I don't make claims to what your thing is, you should make no claims to mine - you're way off, but that doesn't matter.

I asked you a civil question.  How do you see Edwards as kingmaker being able to effect any of his goals on a Clinton Presidency when she is diametrically opposed to the centerpiece of his campaign?

by Piuma 2008-01-23 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

We don't see eye to eye. You proceed along the lines of how it affects Obama. I proceed along the lines of what values I have and what principles I have. I find you frustrating and indeed that way of thinking. So if you see this as personal that's just how it's going to be because we come at this from fundamentally different places.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Is it completely impossible for you to answer a simple question without making personal attacks?

by Piuma 2008-01-23 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Is it possible for you to be objective? Which is the first step toward me answering your question.

I can certainly go down the list again with you

a) Ethics- Stoller wrote a very excellent diary on how Obama's center piece, and something I also listened to on NPR, isn't all that impressive. This is one among many issues when it comes to corporate influence, and would be more impressive if say his healthcare plans didn't buy wholesale into arguments made by Big Insurance. I expected you to deny this. but I know his definition of UHC and I know the definition that Big INsurance has been peddling for years since t hey knew this battle was coming.

b I can certainly go to other issues, but again- what exactly would be the point?

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

No point.  Which is why I didn't bring that up.  That's not the question. Mine is the same as Steve's below - how does the leverage work, especially if that leverage is brought to the Clinton campaign which stands in direct opposition to what I see as the thrust of the Edwards campaign these days - corporate influence.  With Obama, since it's more a matter of degrees, style, and strategy I can see how influence might be applied.  I can see how the two of them could work together, we often see a hint of that in the debates.  But with Clinton being pro-Lobbyist, pro-Pac, pro-Corporate, how does his leverage actually move a Clinton Presidency.

by Piuma 2008-01-23 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

The leverage works in several ways:

a) Who is appointed to the cabinet. Not merely Edwards, but other advisors, espcially on Clinton and/or Obama's economic teams. Much of Obama's bad advice comes from listening to right of center economic advisors. A Paul Krugman- someone who gets economics, policies and the politics of where we are as a country for example would be a better choice. It doesn't have to be Krugman, but someone who is in 2008, not 1992 still arguing trade is always perfect, there is nothing to the need for regulation (which even Soros said just yesterday is absolutely the reason behind the present credit crisis (a lack of regulation) and Clinton, at least in lip service, agrees is the core problem. I am not talking regulation because we are liberals, but to change the rules in favor of correcting the market. The adviors Obama has right now- are for the most part -- from the Chicago school of economic thought. Market fundamentalists.

b) Public spotlight on the issues rather than the primary which by it nature focuses on candidates.

c) Bringing the party together in real rather than through snipping. We can have a united from that's actually united rather than built off of winner take all. Only the establishment wins we aren't all at the table.

d) Related to b), but different- public endorsement of the progressive brand. Start to become as proud of being progressive as conservatives are of being conservatives.

e) Start build a mandate in the GE by starting early rather than later. Define rather than be defined by the GOP. Again a brokererd convention maybe a better way to do this.

These are just a few ideas off top my head without thinking much about it.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

This is a very interesting diary.  I'm sort of trying to think through the nuts and bolts of how Edwards' leverage would be applied.

You're obviously right that he can, at a minimum, reduce triangulation up until the convention.  I'm still trying to sort through exactly how it works from that point forward.  What should be unambiguously clear to everyone is that the progressive movement benefits so long as Edwards stays in the race.

by Steve M 2008-01-23 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

You would think that's the case given they could no longer make the claim that Edwards isn't really doing it for principles. And yet ... read above.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Opps- I meant read in other diaries where this still being called into question. Here, the line of argument is different.

By the way, if you come up with some ideas I would love to read them.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

What has become unambiguously clear is how amorphous the definition of the progressive movement is at this point.  I have long been of two minds of the value of Kucinich of getting into these debates.  On one hand, he is the only one who brings up the Impeachment issue, which I think should be a centerpiece of  a progressive movement definition, but by then aligning that issue with a fringe candidate makes it a fringe issue.  I'm not sure if there's any value in that, or that Robert Wexler hasn't actually done more positively by operating outside the Presidential debate.  And Edwards hovering around 10% is becoming a fringe candidate.  

by Piuma 2008-01-23 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Again, that's only the case, the point of your post, if your definitions of things shift with your candidate. Why are you in this diary if Edwards is as you say "fringe." If by that you mean he won't get the nomination, then you again miss the point.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

I think Kucinich has proven to be completely ineffective at advancing any progressive ideas into the mainstream.  If people want to vote for him to salute his progressive courage or whatever, God bless them, but I don't see him bringing anything positive to the equation.  Frankly, I see him as the sort of Democrat-bashing purist who does more harm than good.

by Steve M 2008-01-23 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

I would love this too, for all the reasons you articulate.  As an Edwards supporter, I haven't given up yet either and you make the case exactly why we should not!

I would not trust either Obama or Clinton if they promised Edwards anything - any position, any issue they will champion.  

I am not sure how he gets any of his issues forwarded, unless they announce in advance that he would be AG, for example and the nominee is held to the commitment publicly.

Side note - I think Hillary knocked Obama off his pedestal in the SC debate.  This will be his problem - he claims to be Mr. Nice Guy, but when he fights, the then loses his core appeal.  I volunteered for his Senate race here in IL, and I have little confidence in him, or Hillary, to be able to win a general election.  

by passionateprogressive 2008-01-23 09:48AM | 0 recs
although a brokered convention won't happen

in my opinion, it would be best for the party (and the country) for Edwards to rack up as many delegates as possible. I am hoping he can hang in there with more than 15 percent support in quite a few states.

We need to keep his message out there.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-23 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Everybody should support whoever they want, even if that candidate gets only 4% or 2%.  When Dodd, Biden and Richardson were still running I felt the same way with their supporters.  Show loyalty to your chosen candidate.  I would for Hillary, even if she had found herself third or fourth.  Now, I understand that many Edwards supporters are very  disenchanted with Obama and are therefore leaning more towards Hillary, but why should that mean that one actually switches to her as long as Edwards is still running?  What would be the possible gain?  There is enough time for making that type of choice once Edwards bows out.

To the topic at hand, the dynamics in this election make it virtually  impossible to see a brokered convention occuring, and even if it were to happen by some off-chance, it is pretty obvious that the other major campaign that ends up losing (either Obama or Hillary) will be able to participate most strongly in dictating the platform before bowing to the overall majority consensus, will be able to negotiate deals and concessions.  That seems counter to your desire, as you appear to believe both campaigns to be centrist (I agree in the case of Obama, but you are quite ill-informed if you contend that to be the platform Hillary pursues.)  Edwards will have basically zero say, as it stands.  That is, unless his delegates can become the kingmaker for either side, which is even less likely to occur than a brokered convention.

Of course, if Edwards can win SC in a surprise, all bets are off.  But, barring that (or a surprisingly strong showing in the upper 20s, low 30s,) I would be very surprised if Edwards continues on after Feb. 5.

 I guess, as always, we shall see.  

by georgep 2008-01-23 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

Thanks for your opinion. I also think that nobody should be trying to push Edwards out. He's entitled to stay in as long as he wants, and he's not hurting the party by doing so.

I thought he played a very positive role at the last debate--keeping both Clinton and Obama honest at several times.

by OrangeFur 2008-01-23 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Why I want a brokered convention

If after looking at Obama's votes for his Nuclear contributors in Senate and his abysmal sell out in Illinois to Tony Rezka who gave him untold thousands to elect him to state and US senate.....who is more left? and what does it mean?

 If you have any knowledge of Obama's consistent sellout of subsidized rehab govt fundin low-income housing and really read the Chicago Sun Times and Tribune for details you will see a terrible performance. Aside from his sweetheart personal real estate deal with Rezko while he was being investigated and indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald of corrupton,fraud,and kickbacks.
  Rezko goes to trial February '08.  Dare you even question this orator who inspires and says nothing? Has he spieled his fiery- truth-speak
to such an extent that will no one  question his past?  Hypnosis.

If he is nominated he will leave a lot of us in the dust. see   www.suntimes.com  Obama Archives

by morris1030 2008-01-23 04:27PM | 0 recs
Edwards should endorse Obama

It seems like Edwards would be more likely to endorse Obama.  First off, I can't see Clinton asking for his help (or needing it, as even if it's a brokered convention, odds are she'd be in the lead).  Whereas Obama is more likely to need Edwards' delegates to win.

Plus, Edwards and Obama are both outspoken about rejecting corporate/lobbyist money; Clinton's rolling in it.  Clinton's a dyed-in-the-wool centrist; I don't think Obama is.  I think he's made overtures to both the center and the left, and critics on both sides think he's too far to the opposite.  Obama and Edwards have been outspoken opponents of the war from day one; Clinton... what was it again?  She voted for it, but she wouldn't do it over, but it wasn't a mistake, but she regrets it, but she doesn't really... okay, I don't know what her position on the war is, except that Obama and Edwards seem to be on the same page there as well.

by schroeder 2008-01-23 07:20PM | 0 recs
I like much of your thinking but...

How is Obama centist?  Who are his "right wing" ecomomic advisors?

You make some assumptions - where did you get that information?

My take is that Obama is committed to the same progressive values at Edwards and both have done a lot to promote ethics reform.  I think that is THE issue: getting lobbyists money out of Washington.  I think the Clintons have tried to paint Obama with the same brush as her - but its not true.  Its pure demagoguery.  

Check it out for yourself - visit the FEC site - its easy.  you can see where candidates get their money.

by Moonwood 2008-01-23 07:56PM | 0 recs
By the way

Edwards would be fine with me - I would love a brokered convention - lets get it all out in the open.

by Moonwood 2008-01-23 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: I like much of your thinking but...

look up his advisors.

by bruh21 2008-01-23 08:02PM | 0 recs
you made an accusation

back it up

by Moonwood 2008-01-24 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: you made an accusation

Or you can look it up since you are the one claiming alone along this thread not to know who Obama's advisors are.

by bruh21 2008-01-25 04:28AM | 0 recs

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