"Kingmaker" is a term originally applied to the activities of
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwickduring the Wars of the Rosesin 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 Khanwho influenced succession in the Golden Horde.
In game theory
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.
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 Farleywho orchestrated the gubernatorial and presidential elections of Franklin D. Roosevelt1928-1940.
K. Kamarajwas instrumental in making Lal Bahadur Shastriand Indira Gandhias Prime Ministers of Indiain the year 1964 and 1966 respectively.
Sonia Gandhiwho seems to many the de facto Prime Minister of India; named as a kingmaker on numerous occasions, TIMEnaming her as such while also calling her India's leader in all but title.
Dick Morriswho orchestrated the gubernatorial and presidential elections of Bill Clinton.
Kakuei Tanakain Japanese politics.
Graham Richardsonin Australian politics.
* The character
Leon Fortunatofrom the "Left Behind" series of novels is often described as a kingmaker.
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