Observations and letters:
JUNE, 2017 (Dave Willis, Rockford, IL) — In the June 4th Register Star, Quast has a cartoon that depicts Rauner and Madigan as spoiled brats tugging on a watering can labeled budget, while the flowers that represent Illinois wilt. The implication, as promulgated by most liberals, is that either both these gentlemen are equally culpable in our budget woes, or that Rauner alone is guilty because he won’t sign an illegal budget.
JUNE, 2016 (Jim Thompson, Rockford, IL) — There has been much discussion about what happens if no candidate gains the necessary majority to be the presidential nominee before July – particularly with Republicans. Whether that happens or not is not known at this time, but it has happened before and each party succeeded after what is now referred to an “open” or “brokered” convention.
Our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, was in second place during the first ballot in1860, winning after the third ballot in Chicago. That year, the favored candidate was William Seward (NOT the local favorite); Seward served in Lincoln’s cabinet (remember “Seward’s folly” – the purchase of Alaska).
There have been numerous Republican conventions that began without a clear majority candidate. In 1920, Warren Harding started with less than 10% of the delegates and won after ten ballots – then won the presidency. In 1952, the first ballot resulted in the two top candidates being apart by less than 20% – Eisenhower was nominated and won the presidency. In 1940, the Republican presidential candidate started in third place, but won after six ballots were cast. In 1880, the successful candidate has ONE vote on the first ballot, when former President Grant received over 300; Grant never got a majority, and James Garfield went from one vote on the 33rd ballot to win on the 36th (and won the presidency).
It is not just Republican conventions where an “expected” nominee was not chosen. In 1868, Horatio Seymour had NO votes until ballot #22 – and he won the nomination on ballot #23! The 1920 convention chose James Cox – who started in a distant third place – after 44 ballots. Woodrow Wilson did not lead Champ Clark in 1912 until ballot #30, winning on ballot #46 (and then won the presidency). It took 103 ballots to obtain a candidate in 1924 – John Davis, who started with only 6% of the vote on the first ballot.
For many years conventions were held for the two major parties in this country with no candidate holding the majority before the convention convened. This has NOT been the case in recent years (bound/unbound delegates add a difference), but it is more common than you might think from some media reports. IF no candidate obtains the majority of delegates before the beginning of his (or her) party’s convention, the process will generate a candidate supported through consensus of the majority of delegates – after a few ballots or more.
So, without a confirmed nominee as the convention opens, the selection of a nominee will be by consensus, and from that selection party unity grows. That is the process each party has adopted to select its nominee – which has proven to work for nearly 200 years. It will work in 2016 – as long as all candidates honor that process.
Locally, Illinois hosts its Republican convention May 20-21 in Peoria (information can be found at www.weareillinois.org). Republicans from Winnebago County who wish to be selected as a delegate to that convention should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-387-2874 before May 5, 2016.