Decision 2016: brokered convention possibility and breakdown


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Presidential candidates are out campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s primary contests.

The candidates are trying to get the most delegates to secure their party’s nomination. But what happens if the candidates don’t have enough votes to lock in the majority?

If a republican candidate doesn’t have 1,237 delegates going into the Republican National Convention, then a contested convention will take place.

“It hasn’t happened in a long time,” Dr. Kevin Hardwick, a Canisius Political Science Professor said.

If so, it starts off with a round of voting. “All of the delegates that are pledged to a candidate have to vote for that candidate on the first ballot,” Hardwick said.

If no one wins after the first vote, it then becomes a brokered convention. At this point, more than half of the delegates are released and they can vote for whoever they believe will represent their party the best.

“That’s when deals are cut at the convention to determine the nominee.”

Voting will take place until the party has secured a candidate for the general election.

The last brokered convention on the Republican side took place in 1948. For the Democrats, it was in 1952. In both instances, the candidates went on to lose the general election.

“Contested conventions and contentious conventions don’t normally bode well for the party,” Hardwick said.

The professor and Erie County Legislator says brokered candidates normally have trouble because it’s an uphill battle for them to pick up votes in their party, from the opposite party, and from undecided voters.

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