What is a ‘Brokered Political Convention?’
The word’s “brokered convention” have been bandied about in recent weeks, so I thought it might be a good idea to explain what that term means.
A political convention is the process political parties use to select the candidates that will represent their party in local, state and federal elections.
The most common use of the term refers to a presidential nominating convention.
The Sons of Liberty organized the first political convention in March 1766 in Hartford, Connecticut. They were challenging Gov. Thomas Fitch’s nomination of William Pitkin for governor and Jonathan Trumbull for deputy governor.
The US Constitution
Article V of the United States Constitution also makes provisions for electing national conventions to propose constitutional amendments, and/or state conventions to ratify them. (The latter method has been used just once in American history; the former, never.)
What Is A Brokered Convention?
In recent political races there is usually a front-runner candidate who has done well in the primaries leading up to the political convention.
That candidate comes to the convention with enough delegates based on primary wins to secure the nomination of his or her party on the first ballot.
In a brokered convention no single candidate has come to the convention with enough delegates to secure the nomination. Then a series of votes takes place to try to find the best person to run for president in the national election.
Some Final Thoughts
The more contested the primaries and the more the vote is divided a clear winner doesn’t rise to the top.
The most contested brokered convention took place in the 1924 Democratic National Convention between Alfred E. Smith and William G. McAdoo that was undecided after 102 ballots. John W. Davis was chosen as a compromise candidate on the 103rd ballot.
The last brokered convention nominees in modern times occurred in 1952 with Adlai Stevenson being the nominee and Thomas E. Dewey winning in the 1948 convention.
The last brokered nominee to win the presidency was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.
Will either party have a brokered convention next year? Only time will tell.