War Worries Grow for GOP Convention

The Takeaway

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Primary voters in South Carolina will head to the polls this weekend, but it's still unclear whether the Republican Party will rally around one nominee. There's a chance that the GOP could end up with a contested convention if no candidate has the requisite 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination in July.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says that probably won't happen.

“I think all this talk about brokered conventions and who's up and who's down is ridiculous," Ryan said in December. We've got plenty of qualified people running for president, and I think a good person will emerge from that field because the Republican primary voter will make sure that happens.”

He might be right, but with so many presidential hopefuls still in the race—including Donald Trump; Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; Governors Jeb Bush and John Kasich; and Dr. Ben Carson—there's no guarantee that any one of them will walk away with enough delegates to head into the convention.

So the question is: What would a contested convention look like? Will current front-runner Donald Trump be able to negotiate his way to the nomination? Or will the Republican establishment try to prop up someone else?

For answers, we turn to Josh Putnam, a lecturer at the University of Georgia who specializes in campaigns and elections. 

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • What happens at contested convention.
  • Whether a nominee from a contested convention has ever won the presidency.
  • Whether the RNC has the power to control delegates if this happens.