Democratic National Convention

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Democratic National Committee Secretary Alice Travis Germond opens the roll call of the states during the third day of the 2008 convention. Roll call DNC 2008.jpg
Democratic National Committee Secretary Alice Travis Germond opens the roll call of the states during the third day of the 2008 convention.

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party. [1] They have been administered by the Democratic National Committee since the 1852 national convention. The primary goal of the Democratic National Convention is to nominate and confirm a candidate for president and vice president, adopt a comprehensive party platform and unify the party. Pledged delegates from all fifty U.S. states and from American dependencies and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and superdelegates which are unpledged delegates representing the Democratic establishment, attend the convention and cast their votes to choose the Party's presidential candidate. Like the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention marks the formal end of the primary election period and the start of the general election season.

Democratic National Committee top institution of the U.S. Democratic Party

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the formal governing body for the United States Democratic Party. The committee coordinates strategy to support Democratic Party candidates throughout the country for local, state, and national office. It organizes the Democratic National Convention held every four years to nominate and confirm a candidate for president, and to formulate the party platform. While it provides support for party candidates, it does not have direct authority over elected officials.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

Vice President of the United States Second highest executive office in United States

The vice president of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as President of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president presides over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The vice president also presides over joint sessions of Congress.

Contents

Candidate nomination

The party's presidential nominee is chosen in a series of individual state caucuses and primary elections. Superdelegates, delegates whose votes are not bound to the outcome of a state's caucus or primary, may also influence the nomination. To secure the nomination for the Democratic party in 2016, a candidate must secure 2,383 delegates. This number includes both pledged delegates and superdelegates. [2]

United States presidential primary forms part of the nominating process of United States presidential elections

The presidential primary elections and caucuses held in the various states, the District of Columbia, and territories of the United States form part of the nominating process of candidates for United States presidential elections. The United States Constitution has never specified the process; political parties have developed their own procedures over time. Some states hold only primary elections, some hold only caucuses, and others use a combination of both. These primaries and caucuses are staggered, generally beginning sometime in January or February, and ending about mid-June before the general election in November. State and local governments run the primary elections, while caucuses are private events that are directly run by the political parties themselves. A state's primary election or caucus is usually an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for president, they determine the number of delegates each party's national convention will receive from their respective state. These delegates then in turn select their party's presidential nominee. The first state in the United States to hold its presidential primary was New Hampshire in 1920.

Prior to 1936, nomination for president was required, not merely by a majority, but by two-thirds of the total number of delegates. Unless there was a popular incumbent, something that only happened three times between the Civil War and World War II, getting that many votes on the first ballot was implausible. The choice was an often contentious debate that riled the passions of party leaders. Delegates were forced to vote for a nominee repeatedly until someone could capture a minimum number of delegates needed. In 1912, 1920 and most notoriously in 1924, the voting went on for dozens and dozens of ballots.

1912 Democratic National Convention

The 1912 Democratic National Convention was held at the Fifth Regiment Armory off North Howard Street in Baltimore from June 25 to July 2, 1912.

The 1920 Democratic National Convention was held at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California from June 28 to July 6, 1920. It resulted in the nomination of Governor James M. Cox of Ohio for President and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt from New York for Vice President.

The 1924 Democratic National Convention, held at the Madison Square Garden in New York City from June 24 to July 9, 1924, was the longest continuously running convention in United States political history. It took a record 103 ballots to nominate a presidential candidate. It was the first major party national convention that saw the name of a woman, Lena Springs, placed in nomination for the office of Vice President. John W. Davis, a dark horse, eventually won the presidential nomination on the 103rd ballot, a compromise candidate following a protracted convention fight between distant front-runners William Gibbs McAdoo and Al Smith.

Backroom deals by party bosses were normal and often resulted in compromise nominees that became known as dark horse candidates. Dark horse candidates were people who never imagined they would run for president until the last moments of the convention. Dark horse candidates were chosen in order to break deadlocks between more popular and powerful prospective nominees that blocked each other from gaining enough delegates to be nominated. One of the most famous dark horse candidates nominated at a Democratic National Convention was James K. Polk, who was chosen to become the candidate for president only after being added to the eighth and ninth delegate ballot.

A dark horse is a previously less known person or thing that emerges to prominence in a situation, especially in a competition involving multiple rivals, or a contestant that on paper should be unlikely to succeed but yet still might.

James K. Polk 11th president of the United States

James Knox Polk was the 11th president of the United States, serving from 1845 to 1849. He previously was Speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839) and governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). A protégé of Andrew Jackson, he was a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States during the Mexican–American War; during his presidency, the United States expanded significantly with the annexation of the Republic of Texas, the Oregon Territory, and the Mexican Cession following the American victory in the Mexican–American War.

The rules were changed to a simple majority in 1936. Since then only one multi-ballot convention (1952's) has taken place.

1952 Democratic National Convention

The 1952 Democratic National Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois from July 21 to July 26, 1952, which was the same arena the Republicans had gathered in a few weeks earlier for their national convention from July 7 to July 11, 1952. Four major candidates sought the nomination: U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, II, of Illinois, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and Averell Harriman of New York.

Before about 1970, the party's choice of the vice-presidential nominee was usually not known until the last evening of the convention. This was because the presidential nominee had little to do with the process and in many cases was not known at the start of the convention. In 1944 and 1956, the nominee let the convention choose the running mate without a recommendation, leading to multiballot voting, and other times, successful attempts to sabotage the nominee by scattering delegate votes for someone else besides his choice, as in 1972 and 1980, led to disruptions.

In order to prevent such things from happening in the future, the presumptive nominee has, since 1984, announced his choice before the convention even opened, and (s)he has been ratified by voice vote.

History

Illustration of the 1876 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. 1876 Democratic National Convention - Missouri (cropped).jpg
Illustration of the 1876 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

By 1824, the congressional nominating caucus had fallen into disrepute and collapsed as a method of nominating presidential and vice presidential candidates. A national convention idea had been brought up but nothing occurred until the next decade. State conventions and state legislatures emerged as the nomination apparatus until they were supplanted by the national convention method of nominating candidates. President Andrew Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet" privately carried out the plan for the first Democratic National Convention; the public call for the first national convention emanated from Jackson's supporters in New Hampshire in 1831.

The Congressional nominating caucus is the name for informal meetings in which American congressmen would agree on whom to nominate for the Presidency and Vice Presidency from their political party.

State legislature (United States) legislature of a U.S. state

A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly.

Andrew Jackson 7th president of the United States

Andrew Jackson was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of Congress. As president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the "common man" against a "corrupt aristocracy" and to preserve the Union.

The first national convention of the Democratic Party began in Baltimore on May 21, 1832. In that year the 2/3 rule was created, requiring a 2/3 vote to nominate a candidate, in order to show the party's unanimous support of Martin Van Buren for vice president. Although this rule was waived in the 1836 and 1840 conventions, in 1844 it was revived by opponents of former President Van Buren, who had the support of a majority, but not two-thirds, of the delegates, in order to prevent him from receiving the nomination. The rule then remained in place for almost the next hundred years, and often led to Democratic National Conventions which dragged on endlessly, most famously at the 1860 convention, when the convention adjourned in Charleston without making a choice and reconvening in separate groups a short time later, and the 1924 convention, when "Wets" and "Drys" deadlocked between preferred candidates Alfred E. Smith and William G. McAdoo for 103 ballots before finally agreeing on John W. Davis as a compromise candidate. At the 1912 convention, Champ Clark was the first person to receive a majority of the votes who did not go on to achieve a two-thirds vote and the nomination. The 2/3 rule was finally abolished in 1936, when the unanimity in favor of the renomination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt allowed it finally to be put to rest. In the years that followed only one convention (the 1952 Convention) actually went beyond a single ballot.

During the time the rule was in force, it virtually assured that no candidate not supported by the South could be nominated. The elimination of the two-thirds rule made it possible for liberal Northern Democrats to gain greater influence in party affairs, leading to the disenfranchisement of Southern Democrats, and defection of many of the latter to the Republican Party, especially during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s. Strom Thurmond was one such Democrat who joined the Republican party.[ citation needed ]

William Jennings Bryan delivered his "Cross of Gold" speech at the 1896 convention. The most historically notable—and tumultuous—convention of recent memory was the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, which was fraught with highly emotional battles between conventioneers and Vietnam War protesters and an outburst by Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley. Other confrontations between various groups, such as the Yippies and members of the Students for a Democratic Society, and the Chicago police in city parks, streets and hotels marred this convention. Following the 1968 convention, in which many reformers had been disappointed in the way that Vice President Hubert Humphrey, despite not having competed in a single primary, easily won the nomination over Senators Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern (who announced after the assassination of another candidate, Senator Robert F. Kennedy), a commission headed by Senator McGovern reformed the Democratic Party's nominating process to increase the power of primaries in choosing delegates in order to increase the democracy of the process. Not entirely coincidentally, McGovern himself won the nomination in 1972. The 1972 convention was significant in that the new rules put into place as a result of the McGovern commission also opened the door for quotas mandating that certain percentages of delegates be women or members of minority groups, and subjects that were previously deemed not fit for political debate, such as abortion and lesbian and gay rights, now occupied the forefront of political discussion.

The nature of Democratic (and Republican) conventions has changed considerably since 1972. Every 4 years, the nominees are essentially selected earlier and earlier in the year, so the conventions now officially ratify the nominees instead of choose them. (Even the close race of 2008, which was not decided until early June, did not change the modern function of the convention). The 1980 convention was the last convention for the Democrats that had even a sliver of doubt[ by whom? ] about who the nominee would be.[ citation needed ] (Ted Kennedy forced a failing vote to free delegates from their commitment to vote for Jimmy Carter). The 1976 convention was the last where the vice-presidential nominee was announced during the convention, after the presidential nominee was chosen. (Carter choosing Walter Mondale.) After the "ugly" conventions of 1968 and 1972, the parties realized it was in their interests to show a unified party to the nation during the convention, and to try to eliminate any dissent. And as the conventions became less interesting, and television ratings have generally declined (as they have on average for all television shows), [3] the networks have cut back their coverage significantly, which in turn has forced the parties to manage what is televised even more closely.

The 1984 convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco remains the last Democratic Convention to be held in a convention center complex; all others since then have been held at sports stadiums or arenas.

See also

Notes

  1. Exceptions are the 1835 national convention, which occurred 3 years after the 1832 national convention, and the 1840 national convention, which occurred 5 years after the 1835 national convention.
  2. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1107147393
  3. Wolgamott, L. Kent (2005-11-06). "Mass audiences aren't very mass anymore". Lincoln Journal Star . Retrieved 2008-05-11.

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