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Study Notes

Republican Primaries 2016

Level:
A Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

2016 saw the Republican Party hold its primaries for its Presidential Nominee for the Presidential Election in November 2016. The primaries ran concurrently to the Democratic Primaries. Both parties held primaries to decide candidates. Results were finally announced at the Republican National Convention which was held in Cleveland.

Background:

The Republican Primary field was the most crowded in US History with a total of seventeen candidates declaring ahead of the primaries. A few dropped out ahead of the Iowa Caucus and after some lacklustre debate performances. The field narrowed again after the start of the primary season and after Jeb Bush withdrew after South Carolina's primary the field stood at four significant candidates: Trump, Rubio, Kasich & Cruz

The Primaries and Caucuses

The season kicked off as is tradition with the Iowa caucus held on February 1st 2016. The process ran into early June with the last primary being held in the California During the season it is not just the states which get to vote. Other areas of the US get to vote including the overseas territories such as Guam and the US Virgin Islands. I

Republican Party rules on primaries state that it is up to the states how each primary awards delegates. Most operate a quasi proportional system whereby delegate totals are matched to vote totals. However, many states impose a threshold rule which is often so high that it awards all delegates to one candidate. This would create a de facto winner take all scenario. The tables below show the states won by each of the major candidates.

States won by Trump
States won by Cruz
States won by Rubio
States won by Kasich
Republican Party Primary Results (Blue: Trump, Yellow: Cruz, Red: Rubio & Green Kasich)

The Republican National Convention

By the time the Republican Party reached Cleveland in July for their convention, Trump had already claimed victory over the other candidates. He crossed the delegate threshold in May 2016. Many of his opponents however had been hoping for a contested convention in which no candidate had achieved a majority of the delegates. Under this scenario many in the Republican Party had hoped that after the first round of voting whereby delegates are forced to vote as their state did, they would pick another candidate other than Trump. This was part of the reason for Cruz and Kasich staying in the race as long as they did.

Trump chose Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana as his running mate for Vice President.

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