United States presidential nominating convention

A United States presidential nominating convention is a political convention held every four years in the United States by most of the political parties who will be fielding nominees in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The formal purpose of such a convention is to select the party's nominee for popular election as President, as well as to adopt a statement of party principles and goals known as the party platform and adopt the rules for the party's activities, including the presidential nominating process for the next election cycle.

The 1876 Democratic National Convention at the Merchants Exchange Building in St. Louis, Missouri. Samuel J. Tilden and Thomas A. Hendricks were nominated for president and vice president respectively

Since 1972, the delegates have been mostly selected in presidential primaries state by state. This allows the nominees to be decided before the convention opens. In the 1976 GOP race, Ronald Reagan did well in the primaries but had clearly lost to incumbent Gerald Ford when the convention opened. Other delegates to these conventions include political party members who are seated automatically, and are called "unpledged delegates" because they can choose for themselves for which candidate they vote.

Generally, use of "presidential campaign nominating convention" refers to the two major parties' quadrennial events: the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Some minor parties also select their nominees by convention, including the Green Party, the Socialist Party USA, the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, and the Reform Party USA. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced both the major and third parties to cancel their usual conventions that year and instead schedule virtual affairs with minimal participation, as large energetic crowds risked spreading the virus.