Debate Club

Rick Santorum Could Use Convention Influence to be Romney's VP Pick

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Santorum doesn't have much of a chance of forcing a 'brokered convention.' But he could get the vice presidential nod. Don't expect the race to end anytime soon. It'll run right through Utah. The schedule over the next six weeks works in Romney's favor, and he'll pick up another 300 delegates by April 25th, but Santorum will continue to give him a run for his money.

It's important to clarify the meaning of "brokered convention." The term implies that intense, behind closed doors negotiations will take place if Romney doesn't hit the magic 1,114 delegates. It's a convention rule where if no one wins the first round nominating vote, the next round goes open. Delegates can vote for whomever they choose, and successive open rounds continue until there's a winner.

[Check out political cartoons about the 2012 GOP nominating race.]

There might be a second vote, and the 419 super delegates could affect the outcome, but there will be no deal making like the pre 1980s conventions. The rules have changed, and there are no party leaders with enough influence to decide the winner. Sarah Palin won't be a kingmaker. But there could be smoke-filled sidewalks--no smoking in public buildings.

Santorum has a better chance of forcing Romney to choose him as his running mate. And this could come regardless of whether or not he wins enough delegates. Santorum does well on the cheap; it costs him 3.3 times less per vote than Romney. He has won 3.9 million votes to date and spent inclusive of Super PAC contributions $112 million. Santorum has won 2.7 million and spent $22 million. That's $8 per vote versus Romney's $28.

[See pictures of Rick Santorum on the campaign trail.]

The party needs to recognize that it won't have solid chance of beating President Obama if it doesn't take balance the nomination needs of establishment and social conservative voters in its vice presidential ticket. Romney may choose some other social conservative, but Santorum has built so much political capital and name recognition, that it'll be difficult for Romney to rally support around someone new.

Santorum also wins rural areas that were pivotal in helping George W. Bush win the 2000 and 2004 elections. Romney beats Santorum in the urban counties, but these are areas were President Obama does best. Unless Romney finds some solid, fast way to win over country-voters, odds are he won't be the next president.

Jamie Chandler

About Jamie Chandler Professor at Hunter College

Tags
Santorum, Rick
Romney, Mitt
Gingrich, Newt

Other Arguments

#1
50 Pts
Brokered Convention Improbable, Even If Superdelegates Get Floor

No – Brokered Convention Improbable, Even If Superdelegates Get Floor

Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst

#3
12 Pts
Brokered GOP Convention Would Ensure a Second Obama Term

No – Brokered GOP Convention Would Ensure a Second Obama Term

Lara Brown Author of 'Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants'

#4
5 Pts
Conservatives Must Force an Open Convention

Yes – Conservatives Must Force an Open Convention

Judson Phillips Founder of Tea Party Nation

#5
1 Pts
Chances of a Brokered Convention Are Small

No – Chances of a Brokered Convention Are Small

Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and Former Democratic Nominee for Congress

#6
-7 Pts
Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum Pose No Threat to Mitt Romney

No – Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum Pose No Threat to Mitt Romney

Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference

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