Bob Novak has a far-fetched notion of how it might happen:

Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri wins the opening round, the caucuses in neighboring Iowa. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts follows with a victory in the first primary election, in neighboring New Hampshire. South Carolina, the first southern primary, is won by Sen. John Edwards from neighboring North Carolina. Michigan, jumping into the early primary election mix, gives first place to Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Because different winners according to this scenario divide up the primaries, the normal winnowing out process would not occur. If that happens, the Democratic Party will go into its July convention in Boston without a clear winner for the first time since Chicago in 1952 when Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson was nominated on the third ballot.

Here looms the brokered convention that journalists and other political junkies have dreamed about for half a century.

Enter Hillary. Assume there has been no economic collapse and President Bush is still riding the crest of military victory in Iraq. Who else would the Democrats turn to but the woman who stood aloof from her husband’s escapades, won election in a strange state and then made a mark for herself in the U.S. Senate as a shrewd, industrious freshman member.

One, the idea that the Democrats will arrive at their convention without a nominee is virtually impossible. The money issue will consolidate the field quickly. Further, even if it somehow happened, the idea that the “party bosses”–a concept that exists in the minds of conspiracy theorists but nowhere else–could just bypass all the delegates at the convention, sworn to vote for their candidate, and substitute someone from outside the primary process is just ludicrous. If there were a “brokered” convention, the brokering would be done among the existing candidates, who would make a deal among themselves for one candidate to throw his delegates to another in exchange for the vice presidency and perhaps soem other concessions.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tom Royce says:

    Is it just me, or has Bob Novak fallen off the radar screen with obsolete contacts? It seems to me that he is grasping at straws these days, and his projections are consistantly incorrect.

  2. PoliBlogger says:

    I have had a somewhat opposite reaction–that his reporting in the column is strong, but he TV persona is out to lunch.

  3. jen says:

    Lord, save us from Hillary…please?

  4. Caleb says:

    The only things that will stop Hillary are:

    1. She loses reelection in the Senate in 2006


    2. A Presidential decisive victory over her in 2008.

    That would FINALLY put the Clintons once and for all on history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies. Just ask Dukakis. 😀

  5. John Lemon says:

    Hillary would never go for a scenario suggested by Novak. If the Dems are that fragmented in July ’04, she is shrewd enough to stay out of the race.

  6. She won’t run in ’04 because she won’t want to take on a war-winning Bush. Sure her husband on in ’92, but Bush I has a divided base and Ross Perot to make things interesting.