When was the last time Republicans had a true brokered convention? I would argue that it was the 1920 Convention which produced Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio and Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts. There was a record number of ballots without result. Finally the boys in the backroom produced these two candidates and they were approved at last by the convention delegates. It turned out to be a winning combination. On election night for the first time radio broadcast the results. KDKA in Pittsburgh and a few other locations caused listeners to tune in their crystal sets to hear about the landslide victory of Harding and Coolidge.
The good-looking and smooth-talking Harding produced the slogan “Return to Normalcy.” Voters were sick and tired of World War I and President Woodrow Wilson’s “Make the world safe for democracy.” In addition Coolidge had put an end to the Boston Police strike, stating, “No one has the right to strike against the public interest at any time or in any place.” The combination was perfect for the public relations campaign between the summer convention and the November election.
The media today is salivating at the prospect of a brokered convention. Former Governor Mike Huckabee, of Arkansas, won the Iowa Caucuses. Senator John S. McCain III, of Arizona, won the New Hampshire Primary and favorite son former Governor Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, took the Michigan Primary. McCain also won Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, although his victory over Huckabee was indecisive. Meanwhile, the media is cheering for Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, to take Florida, where he has sunk all his resources. Then there would be no clear winner going into the race on Super Tuesday, February 5. If no clear winner were to emerge from the twenty-six states which vote in that massive primary a brokered convention would be likely. However, all of this is unlikely. It is much more likely that a clear winner will be declared after February 5. Although the remaining states will have primaries and caucuses, no doubt that clear winner would pick up most of the remaining delegates.