Although presidential nominations are formally made by the assembled delegates at the national convention, these party members do not act as independent agents. Delegates come to a national convention as representatives of state organizations bound together by varying degrees of internal cohesion, loyalty and discipline. They are subject to numerous influences, including the power of national party leaders, the desires of interest groups, and the expressed preferences of the general electorate. Presidential aspirants design their strategies to employ these influences for their own benefit.
Thus, delegates cast their votes in convention amid a variety of restraints on their behavior. Historically, the trend is toward more limitations on the autonomy of the individual delegates and the convention as a whole. New influences have been introduced, limiting the power of the state parties. In addition, more decisions are now being made before the