I honestly had no idea what a convention was until recently. All I knew was that it usually ended with balloons, a lot of balloons. Nonetheless, the presidential conventions are very important parts of the race, especially in this 2016 election with both parties dealing with some major drama and controversy. For those of you who were as uninformed as I was on this matter, or maybe just need a refresher, let me bring you up to speed. Here is everything one needs to know about a presidential convention.
There are typically two conventions: one for the Democratic Party and one for the Republican party. The main purpose is for each party to elect their presidential candidate along with their selection for vice president.
It is important to recognize that each convention is held at a different time and different place. For example, in the 2016 presidential race, the Republican National Convention will be held from July 18th through July 21st in Cleveland, while the Democratic National Convention will be held from July 25th through July 28th in Philadelphia. The time is chosen based on funding for each party’s campaign as well as the tightness of a race.
How it works:
Candidates are chosen through delegates who are selected to represent the voting ballots in each state primary- in other words, the delegates vote the way their states voted. At the convention, these delegates cast their votes until a majority is reached. However, this is not as simple as it seems. The Democratic Party has superdelegates, who are members of congress who can sway the majority for their candidate. These superdelegates make up a large portion of all delegates and can vote for whoever they want. It is safe to say that as a candidate, you want these guys on your side.
A convention can either be brokered or contested if there is no candidate with a clear majority. This is especially applicable to this 2016 presidential race. A brokered convention is the use of superdelegates after the first voting if there is no majority. Also, delegates who have already picked a candidate based on their state ballot would be free to switch candidates. These two changes tend to result in a clear majority.
A contested convention is very similar to a brokered convention; however, a contested convention involves less control of party officials and superdelegates. It is more about the freedom of delegates to change their votes. Once a majority is clear, the candidate is selected.
The next major portion of a convention is the selection of Vice President. The nominated presidential candidate will often elect their own VP, as they have in the majority of history’s presidential elections. However, the Constitution states that the VP should be selected by the delegates at the convention in a similar way that the president was elected. The party conventions can be very simple and a candidate is selected without much debate OR they can be very contentious. This year, the conventions will definitely bring some drama and controversy.
Well there you have it! This is just about everything you need to know about the presidential convention! Keep checking out She’s Fit to Lead for updates on the upcoming convention and other news on the presidential race.