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The rise of the primary has also displaced the convention itself as the place where party regulars choose their standard bearer. Once true contests in which party leaders fought it out to elect a candidate, by the 1970s, party conventions more often than not simply served to rubber-stamp the choice of the primaries. By the 1980s, the convention drama was gone, replaced by a long, televised commercial designed to extol the party’s greatness ( [link] ). Without the drama and uncertainty, major news outlets have steadily curtailed their coverage of the conventions, convinced that few people are interested. The 2016 elections seem to support the idea that the primary process produces a nominee rather than party insiders. Outsiders Donald Trump on the Republican side and Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side had much success despite significant concerns about them from party elites. Whether this pattern could be reversed in the case of a closely contested selection process remains to be seen.

A photo of the Republican national convention in 1964. People hold signs and balloons in support of George Romney.
Traditional party conventions, like the Republican national convention in 1964 pictured here, could be contentious meetings at which the delegates made real decisions about who would run. These days, party conventions are little more than long promotional events. (credit: the Library of Congress)

Electing the president: the general election

Early presidential elections, conducted along the lines of the original process outlined in the Constitution, proved unsatisfactory. So long as George Washington was a candidate, his election was a foregone conclusion. But it took some manipulation of the votes of electors to ensure that the second-place winner (and thus the vice president) did not receive the same number of votes. When Washington declined to run again after two terms, matters worsened. In 1796, political rivals John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were elected president and vice president, respectively. Yet the two men failed to work well together during Adams’s administration, much of which Jefferson spent at his Virginia residence at Monticello. As noted earlier in this chapter, the shortcomings of the system became painfully evident in 1800, when Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr finished tied, thus leaving it to the House of Representatives to elect Jefferson.

James Roger Sharp. 2010. The Deadlocked Election of 1800: Jefferson, Burr, and the Union in the Balance . Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

The Twelfth Amendment , ratified in 1804, provided for the separate election of president and vice president as well as setting out ways to choose a winner if no one received a majority of the electoral votes. Only once since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment, during the election of 1824, has the House selected the president under these rules, and only once, in 1836, has the Senate chosen the vice president. In several elections, such as in 1876 and 1888, a candidate who received less than a majority of the popular vote has claimed the presidency, including cases when the losing candidate secured a majority of the popular vote. A recent case was the 2000 election, in which Democratic nominee Al Gore won the popular vote, while Republican nominee George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote and hence the presidency. The 2016 election brought another such irregularity as Donald Trump comfortably won the Electoral College by narrowly winning the popular vote in several states, while Hillary Clinton collected at least 600,000 more votes nationwide.

Questions & Answers

what are the broad purposes of government
Slande Reply
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Diana Reply
What is government
Kweku Reply
Why government, why no other forms of get together as a community
Sunday Reply
consider the constitucional powers of cpngress. which are most important? why?
Mary Reply
what is the meaning of democrats in government
peju Reply
what is the meaning of distributive policy
peju
presidential campaigns
Diana Reply
which includes the president and vice President
peju
Which of the following types of discrimination would be subject to the rational basis test?
Jessie Reply
what are the purpose of courts
ABUKAR Reply
to pass the law and fight for the society and child abuse and fight for land for individuals
peju
Why does the devolution of power cause an increase in the number and types of interests?
Karen Reply
Bigger the governments or in devolution, number of governments, more people come to power, so more corruption.Federal system is also example of devolution, WHERE three lists are made, one handled solely by centre like Defence etc., other decided by provincial gov as edu., other example is Scotland.
Saleem
examples of countries with direct democracy?
Nicolas Reply
USA and Canada France
peju
what is four main reason of government
Abubakarr Reply
how is the president in United States
Abubakarr
I m not staying in United states but I wish to go they
hasan
what is constition
Diana
the law of the land
Arlene
Which of the following is true of spending in politics
Ashley Reply
what is government
Michael Reply
is the system to govern a state or community
Gumersindo
what is government
Meyty
what 2 important issues went unresolved in the constitution?
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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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