Q&A – Differences Between The Electoral College & Party Nominations

Today’s entry: Does the capturing of delegates in primaries function like the electoral college in the general?

Bottom Line: The short answer is no. The process of nominating candidates is decided through rules created by the political parties. Now, some of the rules have similarities to the Electoral College but there’s no connection between the two. There are five rules for the Democrat’s 2020 Presidential nominating process. First, there are 3,979 pledged delegates available throughout the nominating process. Second, the delegates are divided evenly among the states and territories based on population. Third, a candidate must obtain at least 15% of the vote in each state or territory to win pledged delegates. Fourth, pledged delegates are divided among qualifying candidates based on the percentage of the vote they received. Lastly, to win the nomination prior to the convention, a candidate must win 50% plus one, or 1990 pledged delegates.

These rules are considerably different from just four years ago in which Democrats were accused of using superdelegates to stack the deck for Hillary Clinton independent of what voters themselves decided. This time around those superdelegates will only come into play at the Democrat’s convention if a candidate hasn’t clinched the nomination prior to the convention. By comparison, the Electoral College has 538 Electoral College votes divided evenly based on the Census population reported every ten years. Also, only two states, Maine and Nebraska aren’t winner takes all.

What the processes have in common is using the population of a state or territory to determine the number of delegates or Electoral College votes available. Everything else is different. Right down to the political parties determining their own rules for nominating candidates versus the Constitution determining the Electoral College rules and process. Based on the way the Democrat’s nominating process is playing out, there’s a good chance we'll be taking a much closer look at their new rules for a contested convention. The most recent contested convention occurred in 1952. We’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

Submit your questions using one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

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Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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