Could Never Bernie Make It a Contested Convention? Here's 4 Contested Conventions in Presidential Election HistoryBreaking News
tags: political history, Bernie Sanders, 2020 Election, contested conventions
For all the pomp and circumstance that once surrounded presidential party conventions, they’re rarely all that dramatic today. In fact, the last time Democrats faced a tight delegate race was in 1980, when Jimmy Carter narrowly edged out Ted Kennedy for the nomination, avoiding a contested convention. And for Republicans, 1976 was the most recent time there was a delegate nail-biter, when Ronald Reagan made a surge—but eventually lost to—Gerald Ford, the incumbent president.
The first Democratic presidential convention dates back to 1832, when Andrew Jackson was named the party’s nominee. The first Republican convention took place in 1856, with Senator John Fremont earning the party nomination (he went on to lose to James Buchanan).
A contested convention takes place when the state primaries and caucuses don’t result in a single candidate earning a majority of delegate votes before the convention. When there’s no clear nominee on the first ballot, that’s when the stuff of political legend—smoky closed-door wheeling and dealing, dark horse candidates brought in—would begin. But no convention has gone past the first ballot since 1952, and by the 1970s, state caucuses and primaries became the norm for both parties, typically resulting in one candidate securing enough delegates to assure the party’s straight-forward nomination at the convention.
History has shown that having a single candidate by the time of the convention is a key stepping stone for a party’s victory. Candidates who win their party’s nomination after multiple ballots at a convention rarely go on to win the presidency, as a survey from the Pew Research Center shows. Here’s a look at four of the most contentious contested conventions in American history.
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