What is the difference between a primary, caucus and convention?
"I don't understand the differences between a primary and a caucus. Also, what do conventions have to do with anything?"
Primary: In a primary election, registered voters participate in selecting the candidate for the party's nomination by voting, as in a general election. After the votes are tallied, the number of votes a candidate receives determines the number of delegates they are awarded. Primaries can be either open (you can vote for a candidate outside of your party) or closed (you must be a member of the party to vote for that party's candidate).
Caucus: In a caucus, party members get together in their district or precinct and pledge their support for their favorite presidential candidate, which results in awarding a certain number of delegates to that candidate. The delegates typically state publicly who they are going to vote for, so people can vote accordingly.
Convention: Once the primaries and caucuses are completed in each state, a national convention is held in which a party's nomination for president is formally announced to the public. During the convention, the elected delegates cast their vote for a party candidate and the candidate with the most delegates gets the party's nomination. The end of the convention marks the beginning of the general election process.