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Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 5. Wednesday, June 15, 1960

July Convention

July Convention

The end result, in practical terms, is that in July, when the Democratic Convention meets to choose its Presidential candidate, delegates from sixteen states will be bound in advance, by the primary results, to vote for a particular candidate. Kennedy has at the moment about half the delegate votes he needs for nomination, and naturally many of the "uncommitted" once are leaning his way. However, although a serious primary defeat may ruin a candidate's chances, as Humphrey's have been by the West Virginia result, it does not follow that a string of primary victories means success. In 1952 Senator Kefauver arrived at the Democratic Convention, after winning all the primaries, with nearly 400 delegate votes. Yet Stevenson, who had entered none of the primaries, was nominated. This was possible because delegates are not committed after the second ballot, and Kefauver's support melted away after the first two. There was a mass move to Stevenson on the third. Sometimes the convention balloting is prolonged, as in 1924 when the Democratic Convention tried one hundred and four ballots before it finally settled for an unknown compromise candidate. The Republicans won the election that year.

The same thing, or a milder version of it, might happen this year, for many of the Democratic professionals dislike Kennedy and fear that his Catholicism might lose the party votes. As a liberal he is disliked by the conservative Southerners in the party. It, therefore, is possible that he will be replaced by one of the dark horses lurking in the wings waiting to assume the role of compromise candidate. The most one can say at the moment is that Kennedy is front runner for the Democratic nomination, but the possibility of a "Stop Kennedy" movement getting under way in the party is a serious one, despite his primary successes. On the Republican side, however, there seems to be no opposition to Nixon, even though his only serious rival, Governor Rockefeller,, appears to be making a comeback. —J.D.