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What is a ‘Brokered Convention’?

With Tuesday’s news of Mr. Donald Trump’s resounding win in Florida, we’re starting to fear that Mr. Trump could be the Republican nominee. He’s leading in delegates, with 254 more than Senator Ted Cruz.

With the Republican system, each state has a given number of delegates. For example, California has 341 delegates . Some states have proportional representation, like Iowa. In these states, the candidates are awarded a certain number of votes based on the percent of people who cast a ballot in their favor. Other states, like Florida, have a “winner take all” system. In this system, the winner of the primary gets all the delegates. With his victory Tuesday night, Trump has all 99 of Florida’s delegates.

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A poll place in Florida. Credit to CSmonitor.Com

Now, if no Republican candidate gets a majority of the votes, the Republican National Convention (RNC) can move to a brokered convention. In a brokered convention, the “delegates” are not obliged to vote for a certain candidate. The delegates cast their votes again, and the process continues until there is a candidate with a majority of delegates. Now, a brokered convention can only happen if none of the candidates win—in this case, 1,237 votes

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The RNC when it nominated Romney/Ryan. Credit to

The last time there was a brokered convention on the Republican side was in 1948 (their candidate, Thomas Dewey, lost to Truman). The Democrats had their last brokered convention in 1952, nominating Adlai Stevenson (who lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower).

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President Harry Truman. Photo credit to the Chicago Tribune.

This won’t happen on the Democratic side: the Democrats have a “super delegate” system, where some of the higher-ups in the party get a vote regardless of how the nation votes. There are 493 Democratic super delegates, 472 of which are supporting Secretary Hillary Clinton.

If you want to keep tabs on the election, simply type “primary election” into Google search to find updated graphs and information.