I never read articles about the horse-race aspect of elections, because it is such foreign territory to me, and voters always do things that puzzle me. But let us pretend that my complete lack of skill is actually a marker for objectivity and my outside observer status allows me to stand back and see what others cannot.
Okay, even I don't believe that, but here is the one thing that should make you pay attention, anyway. All the people who know this stuff well and make their livings from it have been completely wrong - as wrong as I am - about Trump. And if you look at it, they have been almost as wrong about all the other candidates, Democrat and Republican, as well. Wrong about Bush, wrong about Clinton, wrong about Cruz, wrong about Sanders...
So here's my thought: None of the current top four can win a general election. You can read all the experts on that. All four have major negatives that are so strong that none of them can get half the vote. Heck, I don't see how any of them gets 40% of the vote. Bloomberg entering screws both sides.
Let us note here that Sanders, Trump, and Bloomberg have no party loyalty. And that is reciprocated by their parties. Cruz is better only by comparison. Only Hillary can cling to that shred of "Look I have been loyal to you in good times and bad, I'm calling in every chip." Downside1: Young men, even Democrats, hate her, and young women are slowly defecting. Downside2: If she gets indicted...
So every four years some clever journalists get to speculate what a brokered convention in either party would look like.
Maybe this time it's true.
In either party if it gets to convention with no one having enough delegates - if in either case it goes to a second ballot - then all bets are off. Some pundits will look good in retrospect because they guess right what would happen, but really, who are you going to trust to explain this? Karl Rove? James Carville? Ann Coulter? Jon Stewart? When was the last brokered convention and what does it have to do with now?
IF, a modern convention goes to a second (third, fourth, and the longer it goes the greater the panic) ballot here is my prediction: these are generally just delegates, the people in the party who have no principle except winning. The honest liberals, honest conservatives, deeply committed evangelicals, fanatic environmentalists, social-justice warriors, fists, second, or third wave feminists, libertarians - these all fade into insignificance. There aren't enough of them to matter.
They want to win. More than anything they fear the abyss of their party not only losing, but losing badly. Candidates who did not excite the voters even in their own states, Senators or Governors with lackluster records and little charisma*, all of these might be held aloft as the One True Hope of the party.
The people will weep, they will scream, they will gasp. They will need consensus, and unity, and a focus so badly that they will embrace what they will later tear down. They will nominate someone and the enthusiasms will rapidly become genuine (that is, as genuine as it ever is). If it sounds like I am predicting some terrible collapse of democracy and being my ultra-cynical self, it is just the opposite. I think both the Republicans and the Democrats will pick a better candidate that way than they will elect now.