Zakaria: Why I can’t wait for the Republican convention
2008 Republican National Convention. (Getty Images)
February 2nd, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Zakaria: Why I can’t wait for the Republican convention

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Jeff Greenfield has a great piece in Bloomberg explaining why, due to Republican Party procedures, Newt Gingrich really can take the nomination battle all the way to the Republican National Convention.  After Florida, there are only a few more statewide winner-take-all primaries.

As Greenfield writes, "What we have instead is a patchwork of rules: Most states allocate most of their delegates by congressional district; some have the top two finishers split those delegates; some give them all to the district winner, but only if he gets 50 percent or more; some use winner-take-all for each district."

This means it’s going to take Mitt Romney a long time to accumulate the delegates he needs to win the nomination outright.  If Gingrich stays in the race and Ron Paul stays in, they’ll likely lock up enough delegates to be serious forces down the line.  Also, remember, the Republican rules say that if a candidate wins pluralities of delegates in five states – and those can include Guam or Washington DC – then you name gets placed on the ballot.  If the candidate chooses to stay in the race, the party then goes through the whole drama of voting at the convention.

This protracted struggle is made for Newt Gingrich. He wants to be up on stage giving a speech at the convention. It’s possible that we’ll have a contentious national convention, the likes of which we haven’t had since Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter in 1980.

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Jonathan

    Thank you, Mr. Zakaria, for this short, but very illuminating, piece about how Republican Party procedures make it likely that Newt will still be around come Republican Convention time. I am hearing some more thoughtful Republican pundits say that despite Romney's gaffs and despite the fact that he appears to be souless, he is actually qualified to be president. David Fromm described him as "judicious." If he is so thoughtful and judicious, why does he need an army of experts to help him do better in debates?

    February 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  2. Bob Jones

    Mitt Romney worships the devil. His money is tainted by evil. He will never be elected president. Truth and Jesus will prevail

    February 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  3. Bob

    This whole mess is a result of 8 years of a Republican in the White House. Bush is responsible for two wars that were not paid for. He is responsible for tax cuts and borrowed for China to pay for them. That created a huge debt, and Obama was forced to add to the debt to keep the economy from falling off a cliff. The economy is like a huge ship. It takes a long time to slow it down, (8 years to butcher the economy) and a long time to get it moving again, ( more than 3 years to return to normal.) When the Bush administration did not enforce rules on the banks and allowed them to deal in phony mortgages, and go into debt themselves, it created a world wide recession. These are not normal times, and it is more difficult to restore your economy when your trading partners are also suffering financially. The capitalist system has had a temorary failure, and it needs rules enforced to protect the people, and to stop another bailout of the banks. Policies are needed that reduce the wealth gap between the rich and poor. This wealth gap could soon create riots and anarchy. The national debt must also be corrected. Cutbacks are needed. Taxes on the rich must happen. The economy must improve so revenue can improve and help pay down the debt. These problems are a result of Republican policies. It would be scary to go back to those failed policies. Hopefully, the country is smart enough to see all this. Are they?

    February 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
    • dave

      Either you don't dig past the headlines, or your nose is getting REALLY long!

      February 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • GOP2

      Bob: You want scary?

      – our unfunded liabilities are > $120T,
      – and ALL federal revenue from income AND Social Security taxes is less than $2.4T/yr!!!
      please realize $120T / $2.4T = 50x,
      so every taxpayer owes 50 years of taxes TODAY just to get us back to even!!!
      – We have a 100% debt to GDP ratio,
      going up ~10%/yr with >$1.2T deficits, so it's a right now problem,
      – 60% of public debt matures in less than 3yrs,
      – astronomical money supply growth

      February 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  4. Jamey Carothers

    Nothing was taken out of context. The entire sentence and interview was aired. Romney is so ignorant that he doesn't even know the "safety net" for the poop is virtually non-existant.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  5. salman

    I am not Republicans or democrats but I wittnessed that Mitt romney doesnot care for American people ,

    i guess mitt romney only wants to be called "US president "because he doesnt care about struggling americans.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  6. Sheri Lee

    The economy was so great when Bush left office. And Obama has destroyed it all. At lease Bush started out with a surplus his first two years. Now Republicans complain about Obama and his handling of the economy. Buy yet it was their congress that downgraded us from a AAA rating to a AA. By taking this country hostage over a financial deal. Even if Obama could fix this mess that was 30 years in the making. Republicans would take credit for it like Newt did over Clinton's balance Budget. Even now Republicans want to somehow take credit for OBL being Killied under Obama's watch time.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Reply
    • GOP2

      "budget surpluses ... under Clinton" is a LIE, unworthy of honorable men. By definition a budget surplus would lower the federal debt. But the Treasury Direct website says that hasn't happened since 1957.

      The only way anyone can claim "Clinton era budget surpluses" is by double counting Social Security surpluses as general revenue. Hopefully that disgusts you as much as it does me?

      Now granted, the deficits were decreasing in size. And that brings us to the obviously improving economy of the 90's, and the question of whom to credit? (Don't forget the cold war peace dividend and the residual benefits of Reaganomics.)

      February 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • GOP2

      P.S. So "this mess that was 30 years in the making" but it was the Republicans that got us the debt rating downgrade? Wake up. Without getting our house in order, the debt downgrade was inevitable. NEITHER side is addressing the TRUTH, and neither are you:

      – our unfunded liabilities are > $120T,
      – and ALL federal revenue from income AND Social Security taxes is less than $2.4T/yr!!!
      please realize $120T / $2.4T = 50x,
      so every taxpayer owes 50 years of taxes TODAY just to get us back to even!!!
      – We have a 100% debt to GDP ratio,
      going up ~10%/yr with >$1.2T deficits, so it's a right now problem,
      – 60% of public debt matures in less than 3yrs,
      – astronomical money supply growth

      February 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • Fabes

      to blame talking about what to do is load of crap. It was overspending for decades that caused the downgrade. Stop ignoring the problem. your main lender is china which is below you guys.

      February 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  7. Jerry

    Zakaria, you are an Obama buffoon! Plain and simple!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  8. revolting peasant

    it is all in the name of good television. Debates, conventions, etc., its all reality TV and it drives up the ratings.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  9. Gary

    First of all, Romney is the captain of 'out of context', so those of you throwing stones are in glass houses. Does anyone recall the first Romney add this year with Obama quoting McCain and the add skipping the part that he was quoting his opponent? The GOP is a 'firing squad standing in a circle' as a wise man once said. The economy IS on the mend, though it takes more than simply executive orders to get it done. For those of you who claim to be fiscally conservative, remember that the moderate tax hikes on the wealthy and closing loopholes is the alternative to changing grandmas fixed income that she can barely survive on. Somewhere along the way, someone lost their moral compass and the compassion and fairness that once embodied our nation has become a divisive fight for the rich, often waged by the people who don't even realize they are the victims in waiting. Education is hard, but it beats fear mongering.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  10. Stevw

    that is one of the ugliest mugs in news

    February 3, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
  11. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP mantra: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • GOP2

      What's your purpose? The nation is imploding and this is the best you can do? What say we raise the bar?

      February 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply


    The unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5%! Sorry! I misspoke! Make that 8.3%. Sorry Mitt! Hahahahha!

    February 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  13. johnny

    Open your eyes wide and you will see a bigger, blacker picture of GOP.

    Forget all that stageplaying and acting, cosmetics splashed over their hidden agenda and you will see that these fellows are not going to be able to resolve common American problems.

    More has been said by these Republican candidates about themselves and against the other – than what they really and realistically can do for the citizens.

    These rallies and debates should be seen as Hollywood – even though its definitely nowhere near the Academy award quality.

    My prediction: Pres Obama 54% Romney 46%

    By the way, is it true that attendants at Romney's rallies are mostly temple garment wearing Mormons?

    February 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  14. MeMelvin

    The GOP is imploding due to its many hypocracies and foibles. The Democrates have hypocracies and foibles, too, but of lesser political this moment in time.

    We The People deserve better than any of these dunderheads. Isn't there anyone out there? PLEASEEEE!

    February 6, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
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