General Question

mamasu's avatar

Have there been other presidential elections in which we knew the nominees before the conventions?

Asked by mamasu (1380points) August 15th, 2008

Perhaps I was just never paying attention before, but I always remember waiting until the conventions to learn who each party would nominate to run. This election has had it’s prospective nominees known for quite some time. Is this a new aspect of the election process or has it been a fairly consistent factor in the past?

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4 Answers

trumi's avatar

All of the recent ones. Thanks to math :)

mamasu's avatar

LOL. I guess I mean elections when even those of us who are mathematically challenged were in the know. Very cute, though. :~)

lefteh's avatar

It’s consistent.

The last time the convention really played a role was probably the 1976 Republican Convention where the incumbent Ford was chosen over the challenging Reagan.

Conventions are really a formality at this point. They used to decide the nominee, but that has changed. At the 1968 convention, Humphrey won the Democratic nomination without participating in any of the primaries. He didn’t need to compete against his challengers such as Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy (who was assassinated before the convention), and George McGovern. These candidates — all on an anti-war platform — had great popularity amongst the younger demographics. This, combined with Humphrey’s corrupt nomination, led to rioting outside of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Hundreds of college students were beaten, leading to the prosecution and fame of the Chicago Seven and Abbie Hoffman. Humphrey and his running made Ed Muskie went on to lose to Nixon and Agnew.

After the clusterfuck that was 1968, the Democratic Party switched to the current primary system, awarding delegates based on votes in the primaries. The Republican Party quickly followed suit in 1972. Since then, the nominating convention has really only nominated the candidate once — the aforementioned 1976 Republican Convention.

Great question.

galileogirl's avatar

In 1964 the die was cast before the conventions.

The conventions took place less than 9 months after the assassination of JFK. For the Democratic Party, Lyndon Johnson was the incumbent and the full impact of the anti-war protest was still a few years away. Also this was a pivotal year in the Civil Rights movement and awareness of poverty in this country when people were finally paying attention to those concerns. Johnson was using his connections and experience to get legislation passed. At the convention there were several ‘favorite son’ candidates who were entered into nomination but who were really pledged to Johnson. So at the end of the first ballot Johnson was elected by acclamation.

On the Republican side Barry Goldwater (ultra-conservative) and Nelson Rockefeller (moderate), representing opposite groups in the party were very close until the California primary in June. In California the issue that received the most attention, was that Rockefeller was divorced. Today it seems a non-issue, but it caused Rockefeller to lose the California vote. There was a great deal of acrimony at the convention because the moderates felt the were being shut out but Goldwater had the votes going in. However a lot of moderate Republicans ended up voting Democrat or not voting at all in November.

I think this was the first time in the 20th century that BOTH candidates were set before the conventions

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