Brokered convention

In United States politics, a brokered convention (sometimes referred to as an open convention and closely related to a contested convention) can occur during a presidential election when a political party fails to choose a nominee on the first round of delegate voting at the party's nominating convention.

Once the first ballot, or vote, has occurred, and no candidate has a majority of the delegates' votes, the convention is then considered brokered; thereafter, the nomination is decided through a process of alternating political horse trading—(super) delegate vote trading—and additional re-votes.[1][2][3][4] In this circumstance, all regular delegates (who may have been pledged to a particular candidate according to rules which vary from state to state) are "released" and are able to switch their allegiance to a different candidate before the next round of balloting. It is hoped that this extra privilege extended to the delegates will result in a re-vote yielding a clear majority of delegates for one candidate.

The term "brokered" implies a strong role for political bosses, more common in the past and associated with deals made in proverbial "smoke-filled rooms", while the term "contested" is a more modern term for a convention where no candidate holds a majority but the role of party leaders is weaker in determining the eventual outcome.[5]

For the Democratic Party, unpledged delegate votes, also called "Superdelegate votes" used to be counted on the first ballot. Although some used the term "brokered convention" to refer to a convention where the outcome is decided by Superdelegate votes rather than pledged delegates alone, this is not the original sense of the term, nor has it been a commonly used definition of a "contested convention."[6] As of 2018, Democratic party superdelegates will only participate if no winner emerges after the first round of balloting.

Specific party rules

Democratic Party

Under the Democratic National Convention rules, "A majority vote of the Convention's delegates shall be required to nominate the presidential candidate" and "Balloting will continue until a nominee is selected".[7] Superdelegates are party leaders who participate as delegates if no winner emerges after the first round. Prior to 2018, they were allowed to partcipate in the first round as well.[8]

Republican Party

The rules are subject to change every election cycle and is determined by the Republican National Convention prior to the convention date. An example of this is Rule 40b of the RNC which was in effect in 2012, but has not been adopted for the 2016 convention in Cleveland.[9] Under this rule, a candidate must have the support of a majority of the delegates of at least eight states in order to get the nomination. Rule 40e then states that if no candidate has received the majority of votes, "the chairman of the convention shall direct the roll of the states be called again and shall repeat the calling of the roll until a candidate shall have received a majority of the votes."[10]

Brokered conventions in history

Before the era of presidential primary elections, political party conventions were routinely brokered. The Democratic Party required two-thirds of delegates to choose a candidate, starting with the first Democratic National Convention in 1832, and then at every convention from 1844 until 1936. This made it far more likely to have a brokered convention, particularly when two strong factions existed.

The most infamous example was at the 1924 Democratic National Convention, where the divisions between Wets and Drys on Prohibition (and other issues) led to 102 ballots of deadlock between frontrunners Alfred E. Smith and William G. McAdoo before dark horse John W. Davis was chosen as a compromise candidate on the 103rd ballot. Adlai Stevenson (of the 1952 Democratic Party) and Dwight Eisenhower (of the 1952 Republican Party) were the most recent "brokered convention" presidential nominees, of their respective parties.[11] Eisenhower had 595 delegates out of 1,206 in the first roll call. However, the convention did not record that as official even though it was an actual vote.[12]

Conventions close to being contested

Since 1952, there have been several years when brokered conventions were projected but did not come to pass:

  • The Democratic Party's 1968 convention might have been brokered if Robert F. Kennedy had not been assassinated. He had won four of the primaries including California, but not enough delegates were then selected by primaries to determine the presidential nominee. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had decided against running for a second full term, still controlled most of the party machinery and used it in support of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who did not contest the primaries, although two surrogates won their home states. If Kennedy had lived, the convention likely would have been divided between his and Humphrey's supporters.
  • The 1968 Republican National Convention featured former Vice President Richard Nixon as the clear delegate leader, but with New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller among others trying to prevent him gaining a majority. During the early days of the convention Rockefeller supporters claimed there was "erosion" among Nixon delegates. If there was, it was minor, and Nixon went on to win a first-ballot nomination.
  • In the 1972 Democratic National Convention delegate leader George McGovern was not assured of victory until a procedural move to reject some of his California delegates was averted on the first day of the convention.
  • In 1976, the Republican primaries gave President Gerald Ford a slight lead in both popular vote and delegates before the Republican National Convention, but he did not have enough delegates to secure the nomination. A brokered convention was predicted but Ford managed to receive the necessary support on the first ballot to edge Ronald Reagan. That is the last time a Republican presidential convention opened without the nominee having been decided in the primaries.[13]
  • In 1980, Senator Ted Kennedy, challenging incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination, fell short in the primaries, but he was still urging delegates to switch over to him when he arrived at the Democratic convention in August. However, Carter won handily on the first ballot, and Kennedy dropped out of the running a few hours later.
  • In 1984, as a result of the Democratic primaries, former Vice President Walter Mondale was the clear frontrunner but remained 40 delegates short of securing the nomination. His nomination had to be formalized at the convention, being the last time that any presidential convention opened without the nominee having been decided in the primaries. However, a convention fight was unlikely, as rival Gary Hart was lobbying for the vice presidential nomination and was resigned to the likely possibility that Mondale would receive the presidential nomination. Mondale indeed received the overwhelming support of superdelegates on the first ballot to become the Democratic presidential candidate.[14]

Races where predictions of being contested failed

  • In 1988, a brokered convention was predicted for the Democrats. There was no clear frontrunner since Gary Hart had withdrawn. Also, Paul Simon, Richard Gephardt, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and Jesse Jackson had each won primaries.[15] Dukakis was named the frontrunner by the media, as he drew support from all sections of the nation while other candidates' support was largely limited to their native regions, and he maintained the momentum and secured the nomination in the next round of primaries.
  • For the 2008 election there had been speculation that the Democratic Party's national convention might be brokered, or at least that the convention might commence without a presumptive nominee.[16] For the Democrats a brokered convention was considered possible, as it was unclear for a time whether either of the two frontrunners, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, would be able to win a majority of pledged delegates before the convention. The only other candidate to win delegates was John Edwards, who withdrew after the first month of the contests. Although Edwards won less than 0.5% of the delegates, the race between Obama and Clinton was narrow. If neither candidate had a majority of delegates by the time the primaries finished on June 3, the candidates might have had to seek support from the undecided remainder of the superdelegates in order to secure a majority at the convention. Nancy Pelosi, the chair of the Democratic National Convention, had argued that the superdelegates should not overrule the results of the primaries.[17] In the last week of the primaries, Howard Dean, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, called for the undecided remainder of the superdelegates to commit to either remaining presidential candidate. His intention was to ensure that the nomination would be decided once the last primaries concluded on June 3. In the end, a brokered convention did not transpire, as by June 3 Obama had enough pledged delegates and supportive superdelegates to secure a majority at the convention.
  • There was also speculation that the 2008 Republican primaries would result in a brokered convention, due to the number of strong candidates and their different geographic bases. The number of "winner take all" states benefits candidates with strong regional support. In addition, the weakened power of President Bush to force candidates out of the race results in fewer levels of influence for them.[18][19] At one point it was thought likely that five early contests would be won by five different candidates (Huckabee in Iowa, McCain in New Hampshire, Romney in Nevada, Thompson in South Carolina, Giuliani in Florida). However, McCain won South Carolina and Florida in addition to New Hampshire and would remain dominant for the rest of the primary season. Thus a contested convention did not come close to happening.
  • In the 2016 Republican primaries, there was considerable speculation, from presidential candidate Donald Trump's opponents in his own party, that a contested convention might take place.[20][21][22][23] On March 16, 2016, Former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said that in the case of a brokered convention he would support the current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, for the nomination, despite the fact that Ryan was not a presidential candidate. Boehner's remarks sparked controversy, by implying that the Republican Party was not necessarily obliged to select a candidate participating in the primary election process.[24] Trump's significant victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016 caused his final two opponents, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, to suspend their campaigns shortly thereafter, and Trump, at that point the only candidate with an active campaign, handily won all the remaining contests, reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to claim the nomination by May 26.[25]

Brokered conventions today

Several factors encourage a clear and timely decision in the primary process.

First, candidates tend to get momentum as they go through the process because of the bandwagon effect. Thus, one or two candidates will be portrayed by the media to voters as the front runners as a result of their placement in the first primaries and caucuses, and as also-ran candidates drop out, their supporters will tend to vote for the leaders.[26] Theorists have identified two types of political momentum, piecemeal and all-at-once, with different impacts on front-runners and those right behind them.[27]

Secondly, political parties wish to avoid the negative publicity from a brokered convention and to maximize the amount of time the nominee has to campaign for the presidency.

Especially because of the desire to foster party unity in the months leading up to Election Day, it is considered possible if not probable that any "brokering" that may be required for a future presidential convention will take place in the weeks and months leading up to the convention, once it becomes clear that no candidate will likely secure a majority of delegates without an agreement with one or more rivals. Such an agreement would likely commit the frontrunner to make some form of concession(s) in return, such as selecting the former rival as his/her vice presidential nominee. That was the case prior to the 1980 Republican National Convention. California Governor Ronald Reagan won the presidential nomination and chose George H. W. Bush as his vice presidential nominee despite former President Gerald Ford being the frontrunner for the slot.

In popular culture

In the U.S. edition of House of Cards, two episodes of the fourth season center around an open convention run by the DNC. Incumbent Frank Underwood is easily nominated for the presidency, but the vice presidential nomination is contested between Secretary of State Catherine Durant and First Lady Claire Underwood.

The last two episodes of season six of the US series The West Wing centers on the Democratic Party's nomination process while three candidates vie for the nomination: Vice President Bob Russell, former Vice President John Hoynes, and Representative Matt Santos. A fourth, Governor Eric Baker, attempts to get nominated from the floor after the first ballot fails to produce a nominee.

See also


  1. ^ Paul, Katie (2008-02-07). "Convention Wisdom". Newsweek.
  2. ^ Eun Kyung Kim (2008-02-10). "Convention Q & A". Gannett News Service. Detroit Free Press.
  3. ^ Clift, Eleanor (2008-02-06). "A Ticking Clock". Newsweek.
  4. ^ Gold, Jeffrey (2008-02-09). "Post-primary questions answered". Associated Press. Courier-Post.
  5. ^ DeSilver, Drew (2016-02-04). "Contested presidential conventions, and why parties try to avoid them". Pew Research Center.
  6. ^ Fried, Amy (2016-05-02). "Whatever Sanders Says, There Can't Be a Contested Democratic National Convention". The Huffington Post.
  7. ^ "Delegate Selection Materials for the 2016 Democratic National Convention" (PDF). Democratic National Committee. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Malone, Claire (February 22, 2012). "Um, What's a Brokered Convention?". The American Prospect. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  9. ^ "What if Trump is the only candidate at a brokered convention who's satisfied Rule 40?". HotAir. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  10. ^ "Call of the 2016 Republican National Convention" (PDF). Republican National Committee. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Mayfield, Trey (March 10, 2016). "Brokered GOP Conventions Often Produce A Winning President". The Federalist. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Lawrence, W.H. (July 12, 1952). "Eisenhower Nominated on the First Ballot; Senator Nixon Chosen as His Running Mate; General Pledges 'Total Victory' Crusade". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  13. ^ Madonna, G. Terry; Young, Michael (2007-12-06). "What If the Conventions Are Contested?". RealClearPolitics.
  14. ^ Bai, Matt (2008-02-03). "Back-Room Choices". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  15. ^ "Late Primary Keeps State Role Intact". States News Service. The New York Times. 1988-03-20.
  16. ^ "A Brokered Convention" (video). 60 Minutes. Yahoo! News. 2008-02-08.
  17. ^ "Pelosi's Delegate Stance Boosts Obama". ABC News. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  18. ^ Freddoso, David (2007-12-10). "Convention Wisdom". National Review.
  19. ^ Baker, Peter (2008-01-15). "A Brokered Convention? Consider the Possibilities". The Trail. The Washington Post.
  20. ^ Scott, Eugene (2016-03-16). "Donald Trump on brokered convention: 'I think you'd have riots'". CNN.
  21. ^ Abramson, Bruce (2016-03-16). "GOP declares war on voters". CNBC.
  22. ^ Mindock, Clark (2016-03-16). "GOP declares war on voters". International Business Times.
  23. ^ Wehrman, Jessica (2016-03-06). "Brokered GOP convention 'will be very cool,' Kasich says". The Columbus Dispatch.
  24. ^ Sherman, Jake (2016-03-16). "Boehner backs Paul Ryan for president". POLITICO.
  25. ^ Trump reaches delegate number to clinch GOP nomination. Fox News. May 26, 2016.
  26. ^ Kornacki, Steve (2007-12-20). "About That Brokered Convention..." The New York Observer.
  27. ^ Cost, Jay (2007-12-30). "The Iowa Fallout: A Primer on Momentum, Part 2". RealClearPolitics.
1808 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1808 was the sixth quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 4, to Wednesday, December 7, 1808. The Democratic-Republican candidate James Madison defeated Federalist candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney decisively. Madison's victory made him the first individual to succeed a president of the same party.

Madison had served as Secretary of State since President Thomas Jefferson took office in 1801. Jefferson, who had declined to run for a third term, threw his strong support behind Madison, a fellow Virginian. Sitting Vice President George Clinton and former Ambassador James Monroe both challenged Madison for leadership of the party, but Madison won his party's nomination and Clinton was re-nominated as vice president. The Federalists chose to re-nominate Pinckney, a former ambassador who had served as the party's 1804 nominee.

Despite the unpopularity of the Embargo Act of 1807, Madison won the vast majority of electoral votes outside of the Federalist stronghold of New England. Clinton received six electoral votes for president from his home state of New York. This election was the first of two instances in American history in which a new president was selected but the incumbent vice president won re-election, the other being in 1828.

1812 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1812, the seventh quadrennial American presidential election, was held from Friday, October 30, 1812 to Wednesday, December 2, 1812. Taking place in the shadow of the War of 1812, incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Madison defeated DeWitt Clinton, who drew support from dissident Democratic-Republicans in the North as well as Federalists. It was the first presidential election to be held during a major war involving the United States.Northern Democratic-Republicans had long been dissatisfied by the Southern dominance of their party, and DeWitt Clinton's uncle, Vice President George Clinton, had unsuccessfully challenged Madison for the party's 1808 presidential nomination. While the May 1812 Democratic-Republican congressional nominating caucus re-nominated Madison, the party's New York caucus, also held in May, nominated Clinton for president. After the United States declared war on the United Kingdom in June 1812, Clinton sought to create a coalition of anti-war Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. With Clinton in the race, the Federalist Party declined to formally put forth a nominee, hoping its members would vote for Clinton, but they did not formally endorse him, fearing that an explicit endorsement of Clinton would hurt the party's fortunes in other races. Federalist Jared Ingersoll of Pennsylvania became Clinton's de facto running mate.

Despite Clinton's success at attracting Federalist support, Madison was re-elected with 50.4 percent of the popular vote to his opponent's 47.6%, making the 1812 election the closest election up to that point in the popular vote. Clinton won the Federalist bastion of New England as well as three Mid-Atlantic states, but Madison dominated the South and took Pennsylvania. Though Madison won a relatively comfortable victory in the electoral vote, this was the most closely contested election held between 1800 and 1824.

2008 Democratic National Convention

The United States 2008 Democratic National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention of the Democratic Party where it adopted its national platform and officially nominated its candidates for President and Vice President. The convention was held in Denver, Colorado, from August 25 to August 28, 2008, at Pepsi Center. Senator Barack Obama from Illinois gave his acceptance speech on August 28 at Invesco Field in what the party called an "Open Convention". Denver last hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1908. Obama became the party's first nonwhite nominee, and nominee of African descent, for President. Senator Joe Biden from Delaware was nominated for Vice President.

Obama officially received the nomination for President on August 27, when his former opponent, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, interrupted the official roll call to move that Obama be selected by acclamation. U.S. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware accepted the nomination for Vice President on the same night. Obama accepted his nomination the following night in a speech at Invesco Field before a record-setting crowd of 84,000 people in attendance.

2008 Oklahoma Republican primary

The Oklahoma Republican primary, 2008 was held on February 5, with 41 delegates at stake. It was a closed primary, meaning only registered Republicans could vote in the election. The primary was on Super Tuesday on the same day as twenty-three other states. John McCain won Oklahoma's primary with 37% of the vote, although Mike Huckabee picked up some delegate votes as well by receiving 33% of the vote.

Eleven candidates appeared on the Oklahoma Republican Party primary: John McCain, Tom Tancredo (withdrawn), Duncan Hunter (withdrawn), Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani (withdrawn), Jerry Curry, Mitt Romney, Alan Keyes, Fred Thompson (withdrawn), Daniel Ayers Gilbert, and Mike Huckabee.The filing period ended December 5, 2007, after which candidate was allowed to be added to the ballot. No candidate could withdraw his name after the withdrawal deadline of December 7, 2007. Consequently, four candidates' names appeared on the ballot despite their withdrawal from the election.

2012 Alabama Republican primary

The 2012 Alabama Republican primary took place on 13 March 2012, on the same day as the Mississippi Republican primary and the Hawaii Republican caucuses. Rick Santorum was declared the winner.

2016 Republican Party presidential primaries

The 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries and caucuses were a series of electoral contests that took place within all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories between February 1 and June 7, 2016. Sanctioned by the Republican Party, these elections selected the 2,472 delegates that were sent to the Republican National Convention. Businessman and reality television star Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

A total of 17 major candidates entered the race. Prior to the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, this was the largest presidential primary field for any political party in American history. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa caucuses, and Trump won the New Hampshire primary and the South Carolina. From March 16, 2016, to May 3, 2016, only three candidates remained in the race: Trump, Cruz, and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Cruz won four Western contests and won in Wisconsin, keeping a credible path to denying Trump the nomination on first ballot with 1,237 delegates. However, Trump scored landslide victories in New York and five northeastern states in April, before taking every delegate in the Indiana primary of May 3. Without any further chances of forcing a contested convention, Cruz suspended his campaign and Trump was declared the presumptive Republican nominee by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on May 3. Kasich ended his campaign the following day. After winning the Washington primary and gaining support from unbound North Dakota delegates on May 26, Trump passed the threshold of 1,237 delegates required to guarantee his nomination.On July 19, 2016, Trump and his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, were nominated as the Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates at the Republican National Convention. Trump and Pence went on to defeat the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in the general election on November 8, 2016.

Iowa caucuses

The Iowa caucuses are biennial electoral events for members of the Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S. state of Iowa. Unlike primary elections in most other U.S. states where registered voters go to polling places to cast ballots, Iowans instead gather at local caucus meetings to discuss and vote on the candidates. During both the presidential and midterm election seasons, registered Iowan voters vote in a per-precinct caucus for the party they are registered as a member. The caucuses are also held to select delegates to county conventions and party committees, among other party activities.The Iowa caucuses are noteworthy as the first major contest of the United States presidential primary season. Though the demographics of Iowa are not representative of the rest of the country, the caucuses are still seen as a strong indicator for how a presidential candidate will do in later contests. It can provide candidates with momentum going into the following contests. Candidates who do poorly in their caucus are likely to drop out in the following days.

Mannie Rodriguez

Mannie Rodriguez (born c. 1950) is a member of the Democratic National Committee from Colorado. The owner of a halfway house operation in Denver, Colorado, Rodriguez was elected to the DNC in 2004. As a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Rodriguez publicly supported Hillary Clinton before Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Mitt Romney's 2016 anti-Trump speech

On March 3, 2016, U.S. Republican politician Mitt Romney delivered a major speech for the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the Libby Gardner Hall in the University of Utah. In that speech, he denounced Donald Trump, who was then the front-runner in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries. He urged citizens to use tactical voting in the remaining primaries and caucuses to maximize the chance of denying Trump a delegate majority.

Romney's speech represented an unprecedented attack by a major U.S. party's most recent presidential nominee against the party's current front-runner for the nomination. Trump dismissed the comments, criticizing Romney for his losses in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and for "working with the establishment." Two months after the speech, Trump secured the Republican Party's presidential nomination and subsequently won the general election and became the President of the United States.

New Hampshire primary

The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide party primary elections and the second party contest (the first being the Iowa Caucuses) held in the United States every four years as part of the process of choosing the delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions which choose the party nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November. Although only a few delegates are chosen in the New Hampshire primary, its real importance comes from the massive media coverage it receives (along with the first caucus in Iowa). Spurred by the events of the 1968 election, reforms that began with the 1972 election elevated the two states' importance to the overall election, and began to receive as much media attention as all other state contests combined. Examples of this extraordinary coverage have been seen on the campuses of Dartmouth College and Saint Anselm College, as the colleges have held multiple national debates and have attracted media outlets like NPR, Fox News, CNN, NBC, and ABC. The publicity and momentum can be enormous from a decisive win by a frontrunner, or better-than-expected result in the New Hampshire primary. The upset or weak showing by a front-runner changes the calculus of national politics in a matter of hours, as happened in 1952 (D), 1968 (D), 1980 (R), and 2008 (D).

Since 1952, the primary has been a major testing ground for candidates for both the Republican and Democratic nominations. Candidates who do poorly frequently drop out, while lesser-known, underfunded candidates who excel in New Hampshire can become serious contenders, garnering large amounts of media attention and campaign funding.

Crucially, the New Hampshire primary is not a "closed primary," where voter participation is limited by voters' past or recent party registration. Instead, New Hampshire enables any voter who has been undeclared, or re-registers as undeclared (not registered with any party) to vote in either party's primary. This seemingly technical distinction can have big impacts on the primary, and how fluidly candidates do in the state (especially if only one party has a competitive primary in a given year, eliciting a greater likelihood that undeclared or less partisan voters will flood that party's primary, if they want to participate at all.) This system is not a fully open primary, because people who are registered with a party (Republican or Democratic) on voting day cannot vote in the other party's primary.

President of the United States

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower. The role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president also leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP. The president possesses significant domestic and international hard and soft power.

Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government. It vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, and takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation. The power of the presidency has grown substantially since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole.Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term. This is the only federal election in the United States which is not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation.Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U.S. citizenship; at least thirty-five years of age; and residency in the United States for at least fourteen years. The Twenty-second Amendment states that no person who has been elected to two presidential terms may be elected to a third. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president.Donald Trump of New York is the 45th and current president of the United States. He assumed office on January 20, 2017.

Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention (RNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions of the United States Republican Party since 1856. Administered by the Republican National Committee, the stated purpose of the convocation is to nominate an official candidate in an upcoming U.S. presidential election, and to adopt the party platform and rules for the election cycle.

Like the Democratic National Convention, it signifies the end of a presidential primary season and the start of campaigning for a general election. In recent years, the nominee has been known well before the convention.

Some 2,472 delegates have attended the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18–21 to select the presidential nominee. The winner must carry 1,237—half of the total, plus one. If no single candidate has secured a majority of delegates after the first ballot, a brokered convention results. It has not happened since the 1976 Republican National Convention.

Historically, the convention was the final determinant of the nomination, and often contentious as various factions of party insiders maneuvered to advance their candidates. Since the almost universal adoption of the primary election for selecting delegates in the last quarter of the 20th century, however, the convention's significance has diminished. The national party focuses on the convention as a unity point to bring together a party platform and state parties by having delegates vote on issues, which the nominee can then incorporate into his presidential campaign.

In case of a brokered convention, Rule 40(b) of the 2016 convention rules states that a candidate must have the support of a majority of the delegates of at least eight delegations in order to get the nomination. On the first ballot, delegates from all states and territories except Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and a few from Louisiana must vote for the candidate who won their support on the day of their state's primary or caucus. On the second ballot, 55 percent of the delegates are free to vote for whomever they want. By the third ballot, 85 percent of the delegates are free.

Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was an American politician who served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 until 1974. The only president to resign the office, he had previously served as the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and prior to that as both a U.S. representative and senator from California.

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. After completing his undergraduate studies at Whittier College, he graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law. He and his wife Pat moved to Washington in 1942 to work for the federal government. He subsequently served on active duty in the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War II. Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the Senate in 1950. His pursuit of the Hiss Case established his reputation as a leading anti-Communist and elevated him to national prominence. He was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidential nominee in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as Vice President, becoming the second-youngest vice president in history at age 40. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and lost a race for governor of California to Pat Brown in 1962. In 1968, he ran for the presidency again and was elected, defeating Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

Nixon ended American involvement in the war in Vietnam in 1973, brought the American POWs home, and ended the military draft. Nixon's visit to China in 1972 eventually led to diplomatic relations between the two nations and he initiated détente and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union the same year. His administration generally transferred power from Washington D.C. to the states. He imposed wage and price controls for ninety days, enforced desegregation of Southern schools, established the Environmental Protection Agency and began the War on Cancer. Nixon also presided over the Apollo 11 moon landing, which signaled the end of the moon race. He was reelected in one of the largest electoral landslides in U.S. history in 1972 when he defeated George McGovern.

In his second term, Nixon ordered an airlift to resupply Israeli losses in the Yom Kippur War, resulting in the restart of the Middle East peace process and an oil crisis at home. By late 1973, the Watergate scandal escalated, costing Nixon much of his political support. On August 9, 1974, he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office—the only time a U.S. president has done so. After his resignation, he was issued a controversial pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. In 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote nine books and undertook many foreign trips, helping to rehabilitate his image into that of an elder statesman. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later at the age of 81.

South Carolina primary

The South Carolina primary has become one of several key early-state presidential primaries in the process of the Democratic and Republican Parties choosing their respective general election nominees for President of the United States.

Historically, this primary election has been much more important in the Republican Party's nomination process, considered a firewall that could permanently eliminate any/all serious rivals to the winner. It is meant to force the various factions of the party to decide quickly on and unite behind a single candidate and avoid wasting precious time and resources on a drawn-out battle between their own candidates, that would divert the party's focus from working to defeat the Democrats' likely nominee.

Since its 1980 inception, the winner of the Republican South Carolina primary has always become the eventual Republican National Convention nominee for that fall's general election, with one exception, the 2012 primary, in which eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney finished second, behind winner Newt Gingrich (who would go on to suspend his campaign before that summer's convention began).

South Carolina has cemented its place as the "First in the South" primary for both parties. For the Democrats, the 2008 primary took on added significance because it was the first nominating contest in that cycle in which a large percentage (55 percent, according to an exit poll) of primary voters were African Americans.The 2012 South Carolina primary was held on January 21 for Republicans, and on January 28 for Democrats. The 2016 primary was held on February 20 for Republicans, and on February 27 for Democrats.

Stop Trump movement

The Stop Trump movement, also called the anti-Trump, Dump Trump, or Never Trump movement, was an effort on the part of some Republicans and other prominent conservatives to prevent front-runner and now President of the United States Donald Trump from obtaining the Republican Party presidential nomination and following his nomination the presidency for the 2016 United States presidential election. Although Trump's campaign drew a substantial amount of criticism, Trump received 90% of the Republican vote, while Clinton won 89% of Democratic voters. Moreover, Trump was supported by 80% of Republican members of Congress in the general election. Following Trump's election in November 2016, some in the movement refocused their efforts on defeating Trump in 2020.Trump entered the Republican primaries on June 16, 2015, at a time when Governors Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and Senator Marco Rubio were viewed as the early frontrunners. Trump was considered a longshot to win the nomination, but his large media profile gave him a chance to spread his message and appear in the Republican debates. By the end of 2015, Trump was leading the Republican field in national polls. At this point, some Republicans, such as former Mitt Romney adviser Alex Castellanos, called for a "negative ad blitz" against Trump and another former Romney aide founded Our Principles PAC to attack Trump. After Trump won the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, many Republican leaders called for the party to unite around a single leader to stop Trump's nomination. The Never Trump movement gained momentum following Trump's wins in the March 15, 2016, Super Tuesday primaries, including his victory over Senator Marco Rubio in Florida. After Senator Ted Cruz dropped out of the race following Trump's primary victory in Indiana on May 3, 2016, Trump became the presumptive nominee while internal opposition to Trump remained as the process pivoted towards a general election. Following unsuccessful attempts by some delegates at the Republican National Convention to block his nomination, Trump became the Republican Party's 2016 nominee for President on July 18, 2016. Some members of the Never Trump movement endorsed alternative candidates in the general election, such as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, independent conservative Evan McMullin and American Solidarity Party nominee Mike Maturen.Research on the Never Trump movement shows that Mormon and female Republicans were the most likely groups to oppose Trump's candidacy while non-Mormon and male Republicans were the most supportive.

United States presidential election

The election of the president and the vice president of the United States is an indirect election in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in one of the 50 U.S. states or in Washington, D.C. cast ballots not directly for those offices, but instead for members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors. These electors then in turn cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for president, and for vice president. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (at least 270 out of a total of 538, since the Twenty-Third Amendment granted voting rights to citizens of Washington, D.C.) is then elected to that office. If no candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes for President, the House of Representatives chooses the winner; if no one receives an absolute majority of the votes for Vice President, then the Senate chooses the winner.

The Electoral College and its procedure are established in the U.S. Constitution by Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 4; and the Twelfth Amendment (which replaced Clause 3 after its ratification in 1804). Under Clause 2, each of the states casts as many electoral votes as the total number of its Senators and Representatives in Congress, while, per the Twenty-third Amendment ratified in 1961, Washington, D.C. casts the same number of electoral votes as the least-represented state, which is three. Also under Clause 2, the manner for choosing electors is determined by each state legislature, not directly by the federal government. Many state legislatures previously selected their electors directly, but over time all of them switched to using the popular vote to help determine electors, which persists today. Once chosen, electors generally cast their electoral votes for the candidate who won the plurality in their state, but at least 21 states do not have provisions that specifically address this behavior; those who vote in opposition to the plurality are known as "faithless" or "unpledged electors". In modern times, faithless and unpledged electors have not affected the ultimate outcome of an election, so the results can generally be determined based on the state-by-state popular vote.

Presidential elections occur quadrennially with registered voters casting their ballots on Election Day, which since 1845 has been the first Tuesday after November 1. This date coincides with the general elections of various other federal, state, and local races; since local governments are responsible for managing elections, these races typically all appear on one ballot. The Electoral College electors then formally cast their electoral votes on the first Monday after December 12 at their respective state capitals. Congress then certifies the results in early January, and the presidential term begins on Inauguration Day, which since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment has been set at January 20.

The nomination process, consisting of the primary elections and caucuses and the nominating conventions, was not specified in the Constitution, but was developed over time by the states and political parties. These primary elections are generally held between January and June before the general election in November, while the nominating conventions are held in the summer. Though not codified by law, political parties also follow an indirect election process, where voters in the 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories, cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who then in turn elect their party's presidential nominee. Each party may then choose a vice presidential running mate to join the ticket, which is either determined by choice of the nominee or by a second round of voting. Because of changes to national campaign finance laws since the 1970s regarding the disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns, presidential candidates from the major political parties usually declare their intentions to run as early as the spring of the previous calendar year before the election (almost 18 months before Inauguration Day).

United States presidential nominating convention

A United States presidential nominating convention is a political convention held every four years in the United States by most of the political parties who will be fielding nominees in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The formal purpose of such a convention is to select the party's nominee for President, as well as to adopt a statement of party principles and goals known as the platform and adopt the rules for the party's activities, including the presidential nominating process for the next election cycle.

In the modern U.S. presidential election process, voters participating in the presidential primaries are actually helping to select many of the delegates to these conventions, who then in turn are pledged to help a specific presidential candidate get nominated. Other delegates to these conventions include political party members who are seated automatically, and are called "unpledged delegates" because they can choose for themselves for which candidate they vote.

Generally, usage of "presidential campaign nominating convention" refers to the two major parties' quadrennial events: the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. Some minor parties also select their nominees by convention, including the Green Party, the Socialist Party USA, the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, and the Reform Party USA.

United States presidential primary

The presidential primary elections and caucuses held in the various states, the District of Columbia, and territories of the United States form part of the nominating process of candidates for United States presidential elections. The United States Constitution has never specified the process; political parties have developed their own procedures over time. Some states hold only primary elections, some hold only caucuses, and others use a combination of both. These primaries and caucuses are staggered, generally beginning sometime in January or February, and ending about mid-June before the general election in November. State and local governments run the primary elections, while caucuses are private events that are directly run by the political parties themselves. A state's primary election or caucus is usually an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for president, they determine the number of delegates each party's national convention will receive from their respective state. These delegates then in turn select their party's presidential nominee. The first state in the United States to hold its presidential primary was New Hampshire in 1920.

Each party determines how many delegates it allocates to each state. Along with those "pledged" delegates chosen during the primaries and caucuses, state delegations to both the Democratic and Republican conventions also include "unpledged" delegates who have a vote. For Republicans, they consist of the three top party officials who serve At Large from each state and territory. Democrats have a more expansive group of unpledged delegates called "superdelegates", who are party leaders and elected officials (PLEO). If no single candidate has secured an absolute majority of delegates (including both pledged and unpledged), then a "brokered convention" occurs: all pledged delegates are "released" after the first round of voting and are able to switch their allegiance to a different candidate, and then additional rounds take place until there is a winner with an absolute majority.

The staggered nature of the presidential primary season allows candidates to concentrate their resources in each area of the country one at a time instead of campaigning in every state simultaneously. In some of the less populous states, this allows campaigning to take place on a much more personal scale. However, the overall results of the primary season may not be representative of the U.S. electorate as a whole: voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and other less populous states which traditionally hold their primaries and caucuses in late-January/February usually have a major impact on the races, while voters in California and other large states which traditionally hold their primaries in June generally end up having no say because the races are usually over by then. As a result, more states vie for earlier primaries, known as "front-loading", to claim a greater influence in the process. The national parties have used penalties and awarded bonus delegates in efforts to stagger the system over broadly a 90-day window. Where state legislatures set the primary or caucus date, sometimes the out-party in that state has endured penalties in the number of delegates it can send to the national convention.

Elections by year
Elections by state
Primaries and caucuses
Nominating conventions
Electoral College
and Popular vote
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