Will there be a contested Republican Convention?
Contested Republican Convention
In the United States’ politics, a brokered convention, closely related to a contested convention, either of which is also sometimes referred to as an open convention, is a situation in which no single candidate has secured a majority of overall delegates (whether those selected by primary elections and caucuses, state conventions, or superdelegates), after the first vote for a political party’s presidential candidate at its national 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.
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. This is a critical time for candidates to sway as many people and subsequent delegates to their side. You will often see an increase in text message campaigns from companies like Tatango, sponsored social media posts, and political TV ads during this time. It is hoped that the extra privileges 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.
For the Democratic Party, unpledged delegate votes, also called “Superdelegate votes” are counted on the first ballot. Although some use 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.”