There are fifty states in America, plus some territories and other locations that are given delegates for the primaries. Yet they each have different rules about how delegates are allocated. Why?

  • Why not? Each state is treated as an independant entity and can set up its own rules. Apr 19, 2016 at 18:08
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    In fact states don't have rules, the state parties do and the rules differ between the two major parties.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:55
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    Ask 50 states plus territories to come up with rules and they will invariably come up with different ones. Apr 20, 2016 at 17:24
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    @Relaxed - and rules differ from state to state within the same national party (since state parties are somewhat autonomous units), as well, which I'm pretty sure you know, but wasn't clear from the wording of your comment. Dec 28, 2017 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


Yet they each have different rules about how delegates are allocated. Why?

Because the US constitution allows them to set their own rules for the allocation of delegates. Or to be precise, it doesn't explicitely forbid it and therefore the Tenth Amendment comes into play:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

And since each of the 50 States has its own government, there are differences in the laws of each particular state. That's all there is to it.

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    The U.S. Constitution says absolutely nothing about how political parties nominate their delegates and indeed doesn't even acknowledge the notion of a political party at all. Political parties are the product of the rules of the respective houses of Congress, the rules of private associations, custom and tradition, and some state and federal statutes.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 29, 2017 at 21:52
  • @ohwilleke post updated Dec 29, 2017 at 23:54

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