"Kingmaker" is a term originally applied to the activities of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick during the Wars of the Roses in England. The term has come to be applied more generally to a person or group that has great influence in a royal or political succession, without being a viable candidate. Kingmakers may use political, monetary, religious, and/or military means to interfere in the succession. Examples include:

*Warwick, the Kingmaker.
*Nogai Khan who influenced succession in the Golden Horde.

In game theory

In game theory, a kingmaker is a player who lacks sufficient resources or position to win at a given game, but possesses enough remaining resources to decide which of the remaining viable players will eventually win.

Contemporary usage

By analogy, "Kingmaker" is also used in some countries to refer to those with the ability to influence the selection of political leaders.

Modern politicians known as "Kingmaker" include:
*James Farley who orchestrated the gubernatorial and presidential elections of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1928-1940.
*K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi as Prime Ministers of India in the year 1964 and 1966 respectively.
*Sonia Gandhi who seems to many the de facto Prime Minister of India; named as a kingmaker on numerous occasions, TIME naming her as such while also calling her India's leader in all but title.
*Dick Morris who orchestrated the gubernatorial and presidential elections of Bill Clinton.
*Kakuei Tanaka in Japanese politics.
*Graham Richardson in Australian politics.

In fiction

* The character Leon Fortunato from the "Left Behind" series of novels is often described as a kingmaker.

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