Presidential nominee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In United States politics and government, the term presidential nominee has two different meanings:

  1. A candidate for president of the United States who has been selected by the delegates of a political party at the party's national convention (also called a presidential nominating convention) to be that party's official candidate for the presidency.[1]
  2. A person nominated by a sitting U.S. president to an executive or judicial post, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.[2] (See Appointments Clause, List of positions filled by presidential appointment with Senate confirmation.)

Presumptive nominee[edit]

In United States presidential elections, the presumptive nominee is a presidential candidate who is assumed to be their party's nominee, but has not yet been formally nominated or elected by their political party at the party's nominating convention.[3][4] Ordinarily, a candidate becomes the presumptive nominee of their party when their "last serious challenger drops out"[5] or when the candidate "mathematically clinches—whichever comes first. But there is still room for interpretation."[6] A candidate mathematically clinches a nomination by securing a simple majority (i.e., more than 50 percent) of delegates through the primaries and caucuses prior to the convention.[3][4] The time at which news organizations begin to refer to a candidate as the "presumptive nominee" varies from election to election.[6] The shift in media usage from "front-runner" to "presumptive nominee" is considered a significant change for a campaign.[6]

In the modern era, it is the norm for the major political parties' nominees to be "clear well before the conventions";[4] in the past, however, some conventions have begun with the outcome in doubt, requiring multiple rounds of balloting to select a nominee.[7] The last such conventions occurred in 1952 for the Democrats and 1948 for the Republicans; in every presidential election since, one candidate in each party has already secured a majority of delegates by the time of the convention, making the result of the convention a "foregone conclusion" before it begins.[8]

Losing candidates, after withdrawing from the primary race, often "release" their delegates, who frequently declare support for the presumptive nominee.[9]

A presumptive nominee typically will have already selected a vice presidential running mate before the convention—see veepstakes.[8][10][11] In the past, the choice of vice-presidential candidate has been made by the convention itself.[8]

The term "presumptive nominee" is disliked by some writers; language commentator William Safire called it a "bogus title" and preferred the phrase presumed nominee, which was used by the New York Times in 2004.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter R. Kann & Lee Hudson Teslik, Backgrounder: The Role of Delegates in the U.S. Presidential Nominating Process, Council on Foreign Relations via New York Timesv(February 4, 2008).
  2. ^ John G. Geer, Wendy J. Schiller & Jeffrey A. Segal, Gateways to Democracy: An Introduction to American Government (2d ed.: Wadsworth/Centgage Learning 2014), p. 406.
  3. ^ a b Sabato, Larry; Ernst, Howard R. Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. Infobase Publishing. 2006. p. 216. ISBN 9780816058754. 
  4. ^ a b c Wiessler, David (March 4, 2008) Factbox: Presidential political terms, Reuters.
  5. ^ Dann, Carrie (May 26, 2016). "Trump Hit the 'Magic Number.' So, What Does That Mean?". Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Nathaniel Rakich, What Makes a Presidential Nominee 'Presumptive'?, New Republic (May 3, 2016).
  7. ^ Stephen K. Medvic, Campaigns and Elections: Players and Processes (2d ed: Routledge, 2013), p. 144.
  8. ^ a b c Medvic, p. 144.
  9. ^ Barbara Norrander, The Imperfect Primary: Oddities, Biases, and Strengths of U.S. Presidential Nomination Politics (2d ed.: Routledge, 2015), p. 25.
  10. ^ Eleanor Clift & Matthew Spieler, Selecting a President (Macmillan, 2012), p. 41.
  11. ^ Norrander, p. 25.
  12. ^ Ben Zimmer, The Presumptive Nominee, I Presume?, Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus (June 10, 2008).