Republican Grassroots Trust Establishment Over Themselves
Reporters and Republicans alike have finally come to their senses and begun to treat Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee. Republican officials such as Jeb Bush and Kevin McCarthy have recently endorsed Romney, and a Rick Santorum victory in a southern state (Lousiana this past weekend for those keeping track) no longer sets off a round of speculation on whether Romney might be derailed.
Thankfully that shift has also largely put an end to talk of a brokered Republican convention. I've written in the past that even if Romney fails to secure the required 1,144 delegates, the party wouldn't have been inclined to overturn the popular vote, and the ranks of possible saviors are thinning as Bush and others throw their lot behind Romney.
A CNN poll this week found that a majority of Republican voters have also tuned out Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum's fantasy of a brokered convention. But it was only a slight 53 percent majority. A whopping 43 percent said they would prefer to have the party's nominee selected through the convention in August rather than through the traditional primary and caucus process.
Think about just what these people are telling pollsters. A near majority of registered Republican voters believe they should have no say in selecting their party's nominee. This 43 percent is essentially calling for a return to the age before nominating reforms, when only those directly involved in the political parties had any voice in choosing the nominees. That's a view you'll occasionally hear from political scientists or select party activists, but not one you often encounter among normal voters, especially Republican voters. These are, after all, supposedly the base voters so distrustful of their party elites, immune from taking marching orders and always ready to label a politician a RINO if she strays from conservative dogma on any single issue.
The typical view in the political world is that Democratic voters are resigned liberals who fall in line with the expectations of their leaders while the Republican grassroots views itself as independent from the whims of party elites, ready to fight and have their voices heard. This poll pokes a gaping hole into that mindset. Though Democrats were divided in 2008 and many Clinton supporters would have readily accepted changes to the rules if it would have benefitted their candidate. But few would have advocated for wiping out the entirety of the votes. Barack Obama's supporters were happy to see super delegates lining up behind their candidate, but they were quick to point out that he had also gained the majority of the popular vote as well. It's unfathomable that Democrats would relinquish their say in the process and put all their trust in party elders, yet that's exactly what this large group of Republicans desire.
That same poll found that 92 percent of the registered Republicans thought Romney was likely to be the Republican nominee. It's pretty easy to assume that those dreaming of a brokered convention are the Rick Santorum supporters who dislike Romney for his establishment credentials and iffy allegiance to conservative ideology, yet somehow simultaneously trusting of their elite to swoop in and make their decisions for them.
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