Republican establishment efforts to “Stop Trump,” have given rise to talk of a brokered convention that could not only put forward Ted Cruz , John Kasich, or any of the 14 also-rans who dropped out after poor showings in the primaries, but conceivably Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the candidate in 2012, who have not participated in the primary process.

The powers-that-be have been surprised as the Trump tsunami gathered momentum, winning primary after primary over the past year, forcing out establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Trump’s success in the primaries and caucuses, winning 18 of 28 contests and 678 delegates, puts him on pace to claim the nomination, which requires 1,237 delegates.

Primaries in the next 90 days, however, will test the candidates in high-delegate states like New York and California, as well as those with strong regional issues like Pennsylvania where Ohioan Kasich may have an advantage and Utah where Cruz, an evangelical, could make a good showing.

If none of the three remaining candidates holds the magic number of 1237 delegates prior to the first vote in Cleveland, the convention will move to a process of bargaining and deal-making until a candidate is chosen.

Brokered conventions harken back to the days of party operatives in smoke-filled rooms making shady deals, and have been avoided by both parties for over sixty years, coming to an end with the era of television when viewers were shocked to see the process in action.

Still, voters should take heart that a brokered convention has, in the past, resulted in the nomination of the best possible candidate and a November win.

Only historians remember that popular Senator William H. Seward entered a Republican convention as the overwhelming favorite with a plurality of the votes.

A one-term representative and twice-failed senate candidate from the then-frontier state of Illinois emerged as the nominee on the third ballot – and Abraham Lincoln went on to win in November of 1860.

 

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