A Brokered Democratic Convention Seen

It hasn't happened since 1956, and most pols believe the days of brokered presidential nominating conventions are history. But both sides now think it's a possibility this year, especially if the February 5 Super Tuesday vote splits delegates between the leading contenders.

Sen. Dick Durbin, cochair of Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic bid, is one of them. He has cochaired the normally meaningless platform committees at the past three conventions.

"I had it all wrong this time," he says. "I really figured, I calculated in my mind, this was the end of political conventions. This cycle was the end of political conventions. What is the point? If it's about the platform committee and wearing funny hats, why are we spending all this time and money?"

But with the leading two candidates on both sides tied in the polls, he adds, "things look a lot different on both sides. And it could be, it really could be, a situation that we will be heading to Denver [site of the Democratic convention] with still some uncertainty about who the nominee really will be."

By Paul Bedard