Businessman and real-estate mogul Donald Trump is the Republican frontrunner on the path to the White House, but some say a possible lack of delegates might occur, leading to a brokered convention.
Delegates are “representatives of party members,” according to a CNBC article. In the Republican Party, delegates are allocated proportionally, winner-take-all or a hybrid of the two, according to the GOP’s official website, gop.com. In the Democratic Party, all states allocate their delegates proportionally.
After presidential candidates announce their bid for the presidency, all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia hold either primaries or caucuses for both Republican and Democratic candidates. In primaries, people can vote for their ideal candidates. Some states hold caucuses where groups of people hold debates, then vote for whom they want as president.
After each state votes, national conventions for both parties are held. Delegates go to the conventions and vote in proportional numbers, based on how people in their respective states voted in each primary or caucus. Each candidate needs a certain number of delegates to win the nomination, but as the three Republican candidates vying for the Republican nomination, some estimate Cleveland’s Republican National Convention in July will be a brokered, or contested, convention.
Republican candidates need 1,237 candidates to win the nomination, the New York Times reported in its ongoing coverage of primary elections. Trump is currently in the lead with 953 delegates. There are 502 delegates still remaining, according to the Times’ delegate count. In order to win the nomination, Trump needs 284 more delegates, or 23 percent of the total number of remaining delegates.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both trail Trump with 546 and 171 delegates, respectively, according to the Times.
Plattsburgh State Chair of Political Science Harvey Schantz said that both Cruz and Kasich cannot mathematically obtain enough delegates in order to clinch the Republican nomination. Rather, he said they are in the race to deny Trump a majority.
Schantz said that, since Trump has won the last six states including New York, a contested convention is unlikely. The International Business Times reported that, although the math is on Trump’s side, “nothing is a sure bet.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the race March 15 after finishing second in his home state’s primary to Trump, Schantz said. However, Schantz said Rubio is trying to keep his delegates for the same reason. The Times reported Rubio currently has 171 delegates.
He said that, since the 1952 nomination of Dwight Eisenhower, the Republican National Convention has consisted of one ballot, but a brokered convention would require multiple ballots to determine who the nominee would be.
That would complicate things, Schantz said, but this election reminded him of the 1952 race.
“In 1952, for the Republicans, Eisenhower was nominated, but on the first ballot, he had 595. (He needed) 604 to win, so he was nine short, and then it was shifted,” he said. “If he (Trump) doesn’t come up just short, then it becomes a multi-ballot contest.”
Trump said over the phone on a CNN broadcast that there would be “riots” if he is short the required number of delegates at the convention.
“If you disenfranchise those people (voters), and you say, ‘Well, I’m sorry, but you’re 100 votes short,’ even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before,” Trump said on the broadcast.
PSUC biology and adolescent education major Janelle Burgos said if there is a contested convention, it would sharpen the divide between those who support Trump and those who stand firmly against him. She said some Republicans would vote for a Democratic candidate over Trump.
“I’ve heard a lot of Republicans from my family and friends say that,” Burgos said. “When you’ve got a candidate like Donald Trump who’s kind of an embarrassment to the United States and to the world, they’re willing to risk their party affiliation than pick a candidate who’s an embarrassment and make them look like an embarrassment to other countries.”
She said Trump lacks “class and decorum that a presidential candidate should have,” and that he speaks to the American people at a fifth-grade level.
Burgos said this election is forcing people to pay attention. For some young people, the recent New York primary was their first time being involved in the political process.
“You had the radical differences between Democrats and Republicans, but they agreed on pretty simple ideas and concepts,” she said. “College kids are paying attention now because you’ve got Trump (at) the podium, and it’s not a bad thing.”
PSUC senior mathematics major Nicholas Harding said Trump’s campaign is more about the differences between people than it is about bringing different people together.
“It’s kind of scary,” he said.
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org