republican convention 2012There’s been talk in the news recently about a potential brokered convention for the Republican presidential candidates. Which leads to the obvious question: What the heck is a brokered convention and why does it matter? At least it does for me, as someone that has heard the term tossed around every four years but never taken the time to figure out what it means and what the impact of having one could be in the general election

So I skipped over to Google and put some mad researching skills to work.

First things first: A basic understanding of the primary process is needed. We have primaries to supposedly get to know our candidates a little better. We shake the skeletons out of the closet, witness their debate skills, and get a peek at how they handle the intense pressure of campaigning.

The states begin to vote for their primary candidates in the election year, with the Iowa caucuses going first, and the New Hampshire primary on its heels. The results of these races are significant because they can be an indication of which candidate voters will most likely support in November. It’s also a chance for lesser-known, under-funded candidates to rocket to the top and gain national recognition and momentum for their campaigns.

Then we muddle through all the other states (the last one this year is Utah on June 26) until our candidate emerges. The official announcement isn’t made until the party’s National Convention some weeks or months later, but everyone usually throws their support behind one candidate somewhere along the primary process, and the rest of it is just going through the motions.

Now we get to brokered conventions. The official candidate isn’t chosen by popular vote, but by delegates. Similar to the Electoral College, each state has a certain number of delegates that will travel to the convention to make the vote for the candidate, based on how the primary or caucuses in their state went down.

A brokered convention is when the delegates aren’t necessarily bound to the candidate their state chose, but may vote for whomever they like. This is what Rick Santorum has been hoping for, because the way things have going don’t look good for him otherwise.

This is a terrible idea going into an election against a sitting president. We need to band together behind one candidate, raise as much money for the general as we possibly can, and start pounding on the opposition instead of getting lost in our own petty squabbles.

Mitt Romney told Neil Cavuto that a brokered convention would “doom” the Republicans’ chance of winning in November. While it’s tempting to think he’s only saying that because he’s in the lead, the man has a point.