Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics/presidential primaries


When the 'big wig As' select a democrat and republican to run for president, can they choose who they want? For example, are they obligated to choose the one with the most votes or do they get to pick and choose. If Donald Trump were to get the most votes, do they HAVE to choose him or can they pick whomever?

Hi Joyce,

Technically, participants in primary elections and caucuses do not select a Presidential candidate.  They select delegates for the national conventions.  Delegates at the convention could vote for whomever they want.  But delegates are selected because they are pledged to vote for a particular candidate, at least on the first vote of the convention.  If no delegate receives the necessary majority on the first vote, delegates may change their votes.  

So while delegates are no obligated to vote for a particular candidate, they are selected because they want that candidate.  There are also Super-delegates who attend a convention.  Super-delegates are not pledged to any particular candidate.  They are usually elected officials or party professionals who could vote for whomever they want.  But the reality is that for the last 50 years at least, any candidate who receives the majority of delegates in the primaries does get the nomination.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question about U.S. Political history, Constitutional law, the legislative process, elections, etc. I enjoy Presidential and Congressional historical trivia, but can answer more substantive questions too.


Former Staff member for a Congressman and Senator. I also worked on about 10 Congressional and Presidential campaigns (only one that won). For a short time, I worked in the legal department of the Federal Election Commission.    I have a B.A. in Political Science.

Former LBJ Fellow (paid fellowship for Congressional Staff).
Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary Society).

Washington Post
Washington Times

J.D. University of Michigan
B.A. George Washington University (Poli. Sci. major).

Awards and Honors
LBJ Fellow
Truman Scholar

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