Democrats See Odds For Brokered Convention Rising As Chaos In Party Reigns
2020 Democratic presidential candidates are seen on television screens in the spin room during the Democratic presidential debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. The New Hampshire debates often mark a turning point in a presidential campaign, as the field of candidates is winnowed and voters begin to pay closer attention. Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg
Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It took a solid week for Iowa to figure out who won its first-in-the-nation vote to pick the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Not good.

After the smoke cleared, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg received 14 delegates in the error-marred caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders took 12, Sen. Elizabeth Warren pulled in eight, former Vice President Joe Biden received six and Sen. Amy Klobuchar got one.

On Tuesday, New Hampshire will hold its primary. The candidates stack up differently in the latest polls, with Sanders holding nearly a double digit lead over Buttigieg (27-19), followed by Klobuchar at 14 and Warren and Biden tied at 12, according to the latest Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll.

After the debacle in Iowa, and with no candidate pulling out of the pack, Democrats are starting to worry that the battle for the nomination could wind up being decided in the Democratic National Committee convention in July.

Candidates are striving to win 1,990 delegates to win the party’s presidential nomination. But most states along the path distribute delegates proportionally, which means with 11 candidates still in the race and at least four or five vying for the top, it’s possible no candidate wins a majority, which would send the decision to the DNC.

“It’s possible, it’s quite possible,” Chris Spirou, the former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, told The Hill. “I think Bloomberg entering into this thing provides a much greater possibility of a brokered convention.”

But Spirou warned that a candidate picked in a brokered convention might be weak. “It would be much better if we had a candidate win a sufficient number of delegates going into the convention,” Spirou said, “but I’m confident we’ll have a candidate coming out of it who can defeat Trump.”

The latest forecast model from election site FiveThirtyEight shows that the chances of “no one” winning the nomination stands at 25%. Sanders has a 46% chance of winning half the pledged delegates, Biden 20% and both Buttigeig and Warren just 4%.

In past contests, candidates have dropped out after Iowa, and the results in New Hampshire have further winnowed the field. Some candidates may drop out after Tuesday’s primary, but a full slate is expected to move on to Nevada, South Carolina, and Super Tuesday. What’s more, some of the candidates have plenty of cash to last through New Hampshire, and two candidates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and businessman Tom Steyer, are billionaires. Bloomberg has been spending millions blanketing the airwaves and could easily stay in the race for months.

“There’s a real possibility of a brokered convention and that in itself may be enough to serve as motivation for some who might have otherwise dropped out, to hang around longer to see if they can’t have a place in this thing and play a part in determining the nominee,” Jim Demers, a veteran Democratic strategist in New Hampshire, told The Hill. “Resources will be key.”

The growing Democratic mess has sparked both internal battles among Democrats and viral conspiracy theories online. On Friday, actor James Woods offered up one theory about the debacle in Iowa. “Just for giggles, imagine this: the #IowaCauscuses were not a snafu, but an engineered ‘cluster muck’ to keep the #Democrat field wide open. The #ImpeachmentSham was a way to air Biden’s corruption. The chaos leads to a brokered convention. Guess which drunken hag saves the day?” Woods wrote on Twitter. Woods answered his own question. “The #Clintons are like nuclear cockroaches. They can survive anything. Remember you read it here: #HillaryClinton has a solid chance at being the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee in a brokered convention. She’s the Terminator of American politics.”