Originally Posted by Seabas
How about "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" declared in 1512?
Technically, that was the successor state of the Roman Empire — the Ottonian Empire. Not any of the other things proposed (German statelets etc. included).
In the High Middle Ages you had first to be crowned King of Rome to have a shot at the title of Emperor. In between you also had to be crowned King of the German lands, so it was a three-stage process. And the process was by election.