When Donald Trump heads to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July, he is likely to have the popular vote and the Electoral College lead ahead of his two opponents — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — but that does not mean he will clinch the nomination.
On Thursday, the controversial candidate met with Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, in an effort to learn about delegate rules and protocol, according to Bloomberg Politics. The question arises because Trump is likely to be just short of the 1,237 delegates needed to seal the nomination when he arrives at the convention.
But Trump, who is under pressure to tone down his rhetoric, most recently after his comments about abortion, has long argued that “the candidate with the most votes and delegates—even if that candidate misses the majority threshold—should be the party’s nominee,” according to Bloomberg Politics. Earlier this week during an appearance on MSNBC, he described the process as “unfair.”
“I have millions of more votes—that’s my leverage,” Trump said.
An estimated 63 percent of Republican voters support Trump’s view that the candidate with the most delegates and voters should win the nomination, writes Bloomberg. But if Trump fails to win 1,237 delegates, the party faces a contested, or brokered, convention where party leaders try to negotiate nominating a compromise candidate.
For Democrats, the process is less opaque. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination and front-runner Hillary Clinton is well on her way to trying to claim that number, with a lead of 1,234 to 956 over rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to an Associated Press analysis. Clinton’s lead widens to 1,703-985 after superdelegates are included.
For both parties the next big contests are Tuesday in Wisconsin and in New York on April 19. In Wisconsin, there are 96 delegates at stake for Democrats and 42 for Republicans. In New York, there are 291 delegates for Democrats and 95 for Republicans.
Here are three things you need to know about the race for delegates:
What are delegates?
They are usually people active in state politics, including volunteers, local party chairs, according to Howstuffworks. After caucuses and primaries have taken place, delegates attend the Republican and Democratic national conventions in support of the candidates to whom they’ve given their pledge.
What are superdelegates?
They are usually a high-level elected officials, reports CBS News, “including senators and members of the House of Representatives; a notable member of the party, such as a current or former president or vice president; and some members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).”
Unlike the rest of the delegates — who are pledged to certain candidates based on the outcomes of their state’s primaries or caucuses — superdelegates are unbound, meaning they can support any candidate they choose.
Who are Democratic National Committee’s 2016 superdelegates?
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are superdelegates, according to CBS. The list also includes former President Bill Clinton, former Vice Presidents, Al Gore and Walter Mondale, former Sen. Chris Dodd, now the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, and former DNC General Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
“As a member of the Senate, Bernie Sanders is a superdelegate even though he’s technically an independent (he caucuses with the Democrats),” writes CBS. “Hillary Clinton was a superdelegate when she ran for president in 2008 because she was a member of the Senate, but she no longer is.”
Who are Republican National committee 2016 Superdelegates?
The party does not have superdelegates, but “each state has a certain number of delegates based on its size, as well as three delegates from the Republican National Committee (RNC), the chair of the state party, and the national committeeman and committeewoman. In the past these delegates could be unpledged, like the Democrats’ superdelegates, but the RNC changed the rules in 2012 so they would be bound to reflect the will of voters in their states,” writes CBS
However, if GOP delegates fail to achieve a simple majority for one candidate at the start of the convention, they can support any contestant in what is known as a brokered convention and is historically rare.
Do you think a brokered convention is the only way to stop Trump?