Originally Posted by sarahp
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!