Zaune wrote: ↑
I see. I think the strangest part from my European perspective is that this varies by locality and not by political party, because as I understood it there's not a lot of actual laws governing how parties run their internal affairs over here apart from the purely financial ones.
In fact, it almost sounds like you haven't got a two-party system over there, but a two-party state
Part of that is that the electoral system was not really set up by viewing the country as one nation divided into different states, but as a confederation of semi-autonomous states.
To be fair, it also
can vary by party, but I didn't include that particular piece since I know there are differences for presidential primaries but don't know whether or not there are differences for down-ballot races. The differences for the presidential primaries are also mostly in terms of how delegates are handed out.
Because you don't actually
vote for a presidential candidate in the primaries. You are actually voting for the delegates who will vote for the presidential candidate at the party conventions, much like how during the general election you don't actually vote for president, but you vote for the electors who will cast a vote for president during the actual election.
Anyway, in the presidential primaries, the Republican party has a winner-take-all system, so winning a state primary by 50%+1 gives you all of that state's delegates, while the Democratic party has a proportional system that divvies up state delegates based on popular vote. However, there's also the difference between bound delegates, who have to vote for the candidate they are bound to in the first round of voting (but usually become unbound if no one wins in the first round of voting), versus unbound delegates, who can vote for whoever they want. Republican delegates are bound or unbound depending on how the states they are from run their primaries, while Democratic candidates are bound with the exception of the so-called Superdelegates, who are comprised of the big names in the party, including former and current Presidents/VPs, current congressional representatives and senators, governors, DNC officials, etc.
So yeah, US elections are less run by a system than they are by a clusterfuck.