alien & sedition.
Monday, January 22, 2007
  Return of the Smoke-Filled Room?

The Politicker posts a fascinating email from Andrew Rice about what could end up happening as states shift their primaries forward: a return to old-style brokered conventions.
[I]f big delegate states like California and New York move ahead in the calendar, there might not be time for this shaking-out process to occur. It'd effectively be a national primary, taking place over the course of a couple weeks, and you could certainly imagine a scenario where Edwards takes the south, Hillary wins New York and the northeast, and Obama wins Illinois and California --in other words, a return to the kind of fractured regional politics that made the smoke-filled rooms of the old conventions such interesting places to be.
Rice points out that the Democrats, several decades ago, gave a major role to "superdelegates" as a way of stamping out insurgent candidacies.
[M]ost of the superdelegates are party elders--the very sort of people who might be beholden in some way or another to the Clinton machine. So all of a sudden, you have candidates spending the spring courting the likes of Tony Coelho. Journalists everywhere have to start familiarizing themselves with the arcana of delegate selection. The Huffington Post starts a "Draft Gore" campaign. It's chaos--and everyone realizes that the nomination process, though it pretends to be democratic, is really a relic of the party boss era.
Yeah, it would be a PR nightmare and a field day for hacks, but man it would be interesting.

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