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Donald Trump, The Democratic Party's Dilemma And "Brokered Conventions"

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Michael Roberts
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That the mainstream media helped to create the political monster (and disaster) that today is Donald J. Trump is not in dispute. And, aided and abetted by its willing lackeys in the neo-conservative television and radio movements, they helped to over-inflate his insatiable mega-sized ego that told him he could win the ultimate prize -- the presidency of the United States.

Indeed, Republican hatred of President Barack Obama and his policies, and their spineless prevaricating cowardice to privately embrace what Trump is saying and vocalizing in public, allowed a loud mouth and blowhard mediocre businessman to hijack the Republican Party from its conservative moorings.

They both conspired and fornicated with each other to produce this bastard political horn-child now genuflecting to his every whim and outrageous pouting all in the interest of the continued cancerous metastasizing hating Barack Obama. Embraced by the most rabid sections of the Republican Party, the Tea Party zealots, traditional GOP establishment leaders were powerless to stop the rise of this ultra-Right Wing faction within the party that see Trump as "speaking their language" and identified with his particular odious brand of extremism and xenophobia.

They are ALL complicit in the rise of the GOP's Political Pretender. Establishment Republicans should have seen the writing on the wall when Eric Cantor, then the party's majority leader in the House, was defeated in his bid for re-election in June 2014 by Dave Brat, an unknown Tea Party member. They should have known that the extreme wing of the party was now calling the shots when a freshman senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, one year before Cantor's defeat, was able to orchestrate a temporary shut down of the Federal Government in October 2013. And they should have been put on the alert when the 40 or so Tea Party members in the House successfully hounded Speaker John Boehner out of office on October 31, 2015.

But even with all that these signs and developments Republican leaders still so hung up on hatred from Barack Obama did absolutely nothing. They continued to be an obstructionist force and rejected any and all compromise. Talk about unintended consequences! Now they have laughingly launched a "Stop Trump" movement to deny the party's present frontrunner the presidential nomination. The party's conservative wing, joined by a whorish mainstream media, and sundry political pundits and talk show hosts, are desperately seeking ways and means to stop Trump up to and including a controversial "brokered convention" -- not that they are calling it that.

If no GOP candidate -- Trump, Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich -- reaches the magical number of 1,237 delegates the party's national convention in July would be the last place where Trump can be stopped. But it will be very, very messy and unpopular with the Republican Party's base, especially its Tea Party section. It that happens, the political civil war will be waged between the white collar sections of the party and its ruling class elements pushing proxy candidates like Florida's former governor Jeb Bush, and, perhaps Senator Marco Rubio. What this will boil down to is a party willing to deny and reject the will of the vast majority of Republican voters, no matter how misplaced, in favor of a hand-picked, anointed, party establishment candidate.

The split, already evident, will be between white collar Republicans and their angry blue-collar brethren from where the Trump and the Tea Party draw its members and support. The ultra-Right Ted Cruz is now attempting to position himself as the Trump alternative and the "stop Trump" candidate. However, it appears increasingly that the GOP leadership and its establishment wing is in favor of a so-called "contested convention."

So what exactly is a contested convention?

Well, for starters, during the early days of American politics there was no need for the present system of primaries across the states. There was no 24-hour news cycle that hung on the every word of posturing, bombastic candidates and their surrogates. So for decades both parties -- the Democratic and Republican Parties -- chose candidates in large convention halls and negotiated, horse-traded, in smoke-filled hotel rooms near and around the main convention center.

Ultimately, these systems became corrupt and were simply mechanisms for protecting party favorites. They were ultimately replaced by primaries where delegates were selected and apportioned based on who won (or lost). This process was accelerated in the 1970s that literally did away with brokered party conventions. The last Democratic political convention to go more than one ballot round was in 1952. On the Republican side their last brokered convention was in 1976 when Ronald Reagan forced Gerald Ford into a primary contest. Reagan was unsuccessful and had to wait until 1980 before becoming the GOP's candidate and win the presidency for two terms.

Contested or brokered conventions are very messy things. There are still many arcane and obscure rules and procedures that govern delegate behavior depending on the state they come from. For example, there are rules instituted by party organizations in, say, Ohio, that may compel its delegates to behave in a particular way in the first round of balloting in a contested convention and if there are no clear results may or may not apply to them in future rounds.

Delegates may be "bound" to a frontrunner candidate in the first round of balloting and "freed" in the second round if no winner emerges. If they are "freed or unencumbered" then they can pretty much vote for who they choose. Here is where "politricks" and corruption sets in: candidates can woo delegates with promises that will materialize after they win the nomination. That's called bribery but its quite legal in BOTH parties since its called "negotiating and advocacy." It's "horse-trading" at its best.

When you add the anger that now permeates BOTH the Republican and Democratic parties and the growing distrust of the American electorate then the recipe for political chaos looms very large are is a very real possibility. For the Republican Party this convention is about the battle for the heart and soul of the party. It's about how the party will look in the next decade and how far on the extreme will the Trump and Cruz wings take it.

On the Democratic side of things are different, but there is an important fight. The party is fighting to redefine its very identity having been caught in a socio-political crisis for more than a decade. In 2016 the party that once identified with poor and working class Americans is no more. That is why Democratic party establishment figures and leaders cannot understand or come to grips with the anger and dissatisfaction that has been the meteoric rise of Senator Bernie Sanders on the Left pitted against the establishment candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Right.

Today, the Democratic Party is the party of the hyper-educated elite and the so-called "professional class," a veritable meritocracy that is status driven and not welcoming of dissenting voices, especially from its blue-collar wing. It is a party that has and is now identified more with Wall Street than with Main Street. In many ways the political dialectics that drove the rise of Donald Trump are partly due to the unbelievable shortsightedness of policy decisions made by Democrats in government and on Wall Street.

For example, many Southern conservative Democrats in Congress did nothing when their Republican colleagues were excoriating and attacking President Barack Obama left, right and center. They stood by and twiddled their thumbs or abandoned the party's position and sided with Republicans. Their dislike of their own president (I'm loath to use the word "hatred") helped to legitimize people like Trump. They never condemned a member of Congress, Joe Wilson for South Carolina, who called the president a liar during a September 2009 speech. And they have done very little to help push the president's domestic and foreign policy agendas.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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