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Need some US politics explained to me...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ok, so this is the first election we've been in the US for so are just learning about it.

We get that there is primaries and caucuses. We get that you pretty much elect delegates who go to the Convention and vote for who gets the nod.

Now that say Mitt Romney has dropped out, what happens to all his delegates?? Do they now just vote for whoever they want, or do they just get thrown away?

The US election system is so odd and confusing.
post #2 of 17
It really is, isn't it. It's more complicated when you notice that each state can do things differently, and that some of them don't count (for example, Michigan Democrats get no delegates, because they didn't allocate them according to the DNC timeline, a similar thing happened in Florida and elsewhere).

I found this to be helpful: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7224970.stm and this http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/...ate.explainer/

But to answer your question, in the end it won't matter for the Republicans, because McCain will have enough to win the nomination even if for some reason Romney's pledged delegates stay 'uncommitted'. Most of his old delegates are now 'uncommitted' (as in Michigan, for example http://www.mlive.com/elections/index...gates_now.html) which means that they were pledged delegates who were elected with the understanding they'd vote for Romney in the convention. Uncommitted delegates can vote for whoever they want but they are supposed to represent the people in their district, not just themselves, so in some places they have party meetings to re-decide.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
It really is, isn't it. It's more complicated when you notice that each state can do things differently, and that some of them don't count (for example, Michigan Democrats get no delegates, because they didn't allocate them according to the DNC timeline, a similar thing happened in Florida and elsewhere).

I found this to be helpful: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7224970.stm and this http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/...ate.explainer/

But to answer your question, in the end it won't matter for the Republicans, because McCain will have enough to win the nomination even if for some reason Romney's pledged delegates stay 'uncommitted'. Most of his old delegates are now 'uncommitted' (as in Michigan, for example http://www.mlive.com/elections/index...gates_now.html) which means that they were pledged delegates who were elected with the understanding they'd vote for Romney in the convention. Uncommitted delegates can vote for whoever they want but they are supposed to represent the people in their district, not just themselves, so in some places they have party meetings to re-decide.
That's how i understand it to work as well.
post #4 of 17
I'm not sure. This is the first year we've both been more active in the political game. I'm not sure what happens to those delegates of Romney's.
post #5 of 17
Romney can pledge his delegates to any of the candidates he endorses, but hasn't done so yet. Politically he's more aligned with Huck, but it's pretty obvious that McCain will get the number of delegates he needs, and Romney didn't actually personally get along with either of them. So he can hold on to them if he wants to, or pledge them to whoever he wants.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
I prefer the Australian system where the political party just decides amongst themselves who'll be the leader. It's a lot cheaper and a whole lot less confusing. As well as that, I don't understand how you have all these candidates who fight amongst each themselves bagging each other out, then once one is nominated, they are expected to support each other??? So weird...
post #7 of 17
Oh, yeah. It is amazing to see them go from tearing each others throat out to being best buds, or even better, running mates, in the matter of a few days.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
I prefer the Australian system where the political party just decides amongst themselves who'll be the leader. It's a lot cheaper and a whole lot less confusing. As well as that, I don't understand how you have all these candidates who fight amongst each themselves bagging each other out, then once one is nominated, they are expected to support each other??? So weird...
The truth is that most Americans don't really understand it either.

I think it was in the 70s that we started holding primaries. Until then the parties decided among themselves who they were going to nominate at their individual conventions. Then the parties in the individual states started holding primaries and pledged their delegates to their choices. More and more states began deciding that way. If the candidate isn't chosen in the first ballot at the convention, many states allow their delegates to make their own choices on the second ballot.

The Democratic and Republic Parties each have their methods of divvying up their delegates at the convention. Here in California, you might have noticed that the Republican winner got all the delegates, but the Democratic delegates are divided proportionately in a complex process based on the proportionate number of Democratic voters in each Congressional district.

There's also the extra complication of the Super Delegates in the Democratic Party. None of this is the "official" way to chose the president! We've kind of made it up as we went along.

Usually the candidates are decided at this point, but this election year it's been closer and more exciting.

The conventions are televised so you can watch all the twists and turns of deciding the Democratic candidate as it happens. It will have to be explained as they go along, so you'll be able to "get" it along with the rest of us!

The Republican convention will be more of a coronation than a real decision-making process.

So just sit back and enjoy with the rest of us!
post #9 of 17
I always see the process as each party tears itself apart and then tries to regroup so they can tear the other party apart. Meanwhile the other party picks up on weaknesses that the whole process exposed.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
I prefer the Australian system where the political party just decides amongst themselves who'll be the leader. It's a lot cheaper and a whole lot less confusing.
The German system is like that, and now a lot of people here are demanding a system of primaries like the U.S. has, because they consider it more democratic.

This year there's a tremendous amount of coverage of the U.S. primaries in the German media.
post #11 of 17
Kind of off topic here but I found a comment written by Adrian Goldsworthy in a book I'm currently reading interesting. I'm going to paraphrase but he basically said that the Roman form of government during the years of the Republic could be considered more democratic than many modern democracies today. Unfortunately, he didn't expand on it. I just thought it was a neat tidbit since the topic of understanding US politics was brought up.
post #12 of 17
Now Sarah, this is a really good Op-Ed in the NY Times about how a Caucus sort of works.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/op...ml?ref=opinion
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Romney can pledge his delegates to any of the candidates he endorses, but hasn't done so yet. Politically he's more aligned with Huck, but it's pretty obvious that McCain will get the number of delegates he needs, and Romney didn't actually personally get along with either of them. So he can hold on to them if he wants to, or pledge them to whoever he wants.
Romney no longer has a say in who 'his' delegates vote for. The pledged ones probably will go along with his endorsement of McCain, but they have no obligation to at all. They become, though the RNC would disagree, basically the same as superdelegates.
post #14 of 17
It depends on the party. In the republican party, the losing candidates' delegates must vote for who the candidate supports. For the Dems, they can vote for whoever they want.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburgess View Post
It depends on the party. In the republican party, the losing candidates' delegates must vote for who the candidate supports. For the Dems, they can vote for whoever they want.
Well I sit corrected.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Now Sarah, this is a really good Op-Ed in the NY Times about how a Caucus sort of works.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/op...ml?ref=opinion
Ever hear of the comedian Will Rogers from the 30s?

He said "I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
post #17 of 17
I like the fact that McCain has a PROVEN TRACK RECORD of being able to be Bi-Partisan. I think the change that we need is that the Dems And the Repubs start working together and put the country ahead of their petty, endless bikering and fighting.
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