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Brokered Political Conventions

1880 Brokered Republican National Convention
Under party rules, a candidate must have a majority of delegates to become the nominee. If no candidate has a majority on the first vote, several rounds of voting could take place before the delegates agree on a nominee. 
However, as history shows there have been multiple times in which the candidate selected by a major party did not get the most votes during the primary season. [Christian Post]

Here are 5 conventions that were "brokered" as they say, and the candidate with the most votes didn't get the nomination. [Faith and Freedom].


1. 1860 Republican Convention

The nation was deeply divided over slavery, and the GOP was neither "old" nor "grand."

Going into the convention, William Seward had the most delegates, but not enough to secure the nomination.

After 3 ballots, the convention opted for Illinois Senator Abraham Lincoln.

William Seward became President Lincoln's Secretary of State.

2. 1880 Republican Convention

With the Civil War and reconstruction ended, the GOP faced an internal struggle over their identity as a political movement.

Going into the convention, former US President Ulysses S. Grant was seen as the favorite and had the most delegates of the 3 candidates.

However, the GOP chose a "compromise" candidate and nominated James Garfield, who was not even a candidate---like Paul Ryan, for example.

3. 1924 Democratic Convention

Many say this was the most divisive political convention in the history of American politics, because the Democrats found themselves deeply divided over issues like whether or not to denounce the KKK.

Going into the convention, William G. McAdoo, a member of Wilson's administration, whose ticket was supported by the KKK, was the front-runner, however, he didn't have the necessary majority of delegates and was opposed by anti-Klan Catholic politician Al Smith.

After 103 ballots were cast over 16 days, the Democrats decided to go with a compromise candidate, John Davis, a corporate lawyer and diplomat, whom nobody wanted.

Democrats were angry. Davis lost. It was a landslide won by Republican Calvin Coolidge.

4. 1940 Republican National Convention

On the eve of World War II and during the Great Depression, the Republicans held a "brokered convention."

Going in, New York District Attorney Tom Dewey had the most delegates, but not enough---there were 2 other candidates. After multiple ballots, the GOP settled on Wendell Wilke. He lost substantially to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Four years later, the GOP went back and declared Tom Dewey their candidate in a brokered convention. Dewey lost the presidency to Harry Truman.

5. 1952 Democratic Convention

Going into the convention, Senator Estes Kefauver had a commanding lead over the dozen candidates who had also run for the Democratic nomination.

Adlai Stevenson was in a distant 2nd place, however, over the course of 3 ballots, Stevenson picked up a large number of delegates because former President Harry Truman and others lobbied on his behalf.

Stevenson lost to Republican Dwight Eisenhower that year.

The next year the Democratic Party convinced itself Stevenson was still their man and nominated him again. He lost again to Ike.