Contested Convention Would Be Disastrous
David Frum explains how it would pan out
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 20, 2012 1:30 PM CST
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks to a group of former Salt Lake City Olympics committee members, marking the tenth anniversary of the games, in Salt Lake...   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – As the GOP struggles to settle on a candidate, some are talking about a "brokered convention," at which party leaders would choose the nominee. But today's parties don't have the kind of power players that used to dominate the political scene—and "you can't have a 'brokered convention' in a system where there are no 'brokers,'" writes David Frum at CNN. Instead, one of two scenarios could occur.

In one, Mitt Romney comes close to winning the necessary 1,144 delegates. In that case, it might be possible to "lure" a party chair "from a smaller state with more old-fashioned rules" to push his state's delegates to go for Romney. But the ex-governor would owe that state, which might mean moving further to the right when he should be moving toward the center. In the other scenario, Romney doesn't get close to 1,144. Then party elites—whoever they are—might bring in a new candidate. That would harken back to 1896, when William Jennings Bryan won Democrats' hearts—and lost the election.