A Lack of a Clear GOP Front-Runner Might Lead to a Contested or a Brokered Convention

The GOP presidential nomination fight has lasted several months and now talk of a contested or a brokered convention is being taken more seriously.  Most Americans are not familiar with these terms, so what do they mean?

For the first time since 1976, the Republican presidential nominee might be decided at the national convention rather than on the campaign trail. A contested convention occurs when no candidate has the required 1,444 delegates to win the nomination. The Associated Press keeps a running tally of the current delegate count and here’s where it stands now:

 

Mitt Romney has 563

Rick Santorum has 263

Newt Gingrich has 135

Ron Paul has 50

 

When the GOP convention is held this August in Tampa, it is possible that no candidate will have the clear majority and then the delegates (people chosen to represent each state at the convention) will vote again.  This is when a convention is considered to be contested. The delegates vote on the convention floor.  It may take a ballot or two to determine a majority and then the convention would proceed as normal with the nominee for president.

The last GOP contested convention was in 1976 when Ronald Reagan challenged the incumbent President Gerald Ford.

That is not the only scenario, however.  If the delegates can’t agree, someone new could be brought into the field.  Some possible names being discussed include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and even Former Governor of Florida Jeb BushThis would be a brokered convention.  Brokered conventions are rare and only occur when no candidate has a pre-existing majority at its nominating convention.  The last winning presidential nominee from a brokered convention was Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) in 1932.

A brokered convention in 2012 would certainly be exciting.

 

House Republicans Pass Ban on Earmarks

On March 11, House Republicans adopted a ban on earmarks. House GOP leaders should be applauded for pushing members of their party to break their addiction to earmarks.

Earmarks have also been called pork barrel spending or pet projects. An earmark is basically a pet project a lawmaker seeks for his or her own district and state. It could include military spending, road projects, community development grants and a host of other things. One famous wasteful earmark cost taxpayers $50 million and was approved years ago to build an indoor rain forest in the middle of Iowa or that now infamous bridge to nowhere in Alaska. Another earmark is the one included in the 2009 Omnibus Bill which allocated $950,000 directly to the controversial National Council of La Raza. Another from that same bill include $2.9 million for “shrimp aquaculture” in Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.

This practice of directing federal dollars to home districts and has been a widespread practice amongst both parties. It’s resulted in far too much waste at the taxpayers’ expense.

Voters are frustrated by Washington’s out of control spending. The Treasury Department said on March 10 that the February deficit totaled $220.9 billion, 14 percent higher than the previous record set in February of last year.

There is little question that this is an election-year appeal to voters and an attempt to trump House Democrats and their failure to pass such a ban yesterday. It is at least a sign that House Republicans are listening and acting to fix the problem.

“The time has come for House Republicans to adopt an immediate, unilateral moratorium on all earmarks,” said Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and nine other GOP leaders in a joint statement on March 10. He’s right. It’s true that both parties are guilty of earmarks and members of both parties have tried to end it. Democrat Senator Russ Feingold and Republican John McCain have both been fighting earmarks for years, but the Senate and the President haven’t budged. Perhaps things will change as a result of the House Republicans success on the issue.

According to Roll Call, today’s “ban would affect all earmarks, including those that are tariff- and tax-related.” House Republicans reached agreement on this self-imposed, across-the-board earmark ban in a closed conference. This reflects a unified commitment to control spending we haven’t seen in far too long.

This ban on earmarks is a huge step in the right direction. Voters will respond to the ban now and in the 2010 elections. Just as we must carefully watch our own household budgets, we must also continue to question how our elected officials spend our tax dollars.

Read more at The Americano.