The “GOP should ditch Trump” meme won’t happen. Here’s why.
The “he’s gotta go” litany reached fever pitch after audio and video reminded the world how Trump really thinks about women.
But there have been rumblings before now. For example, an August Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that about one in five Republican voters and almost half of all registered voters thought Trump should pull out of the race.
However, it is now two months later, and Trump is still with us.
And he will be with us on November 8. Here’s why.
1. Replacing Trump is unprecedented.
Granted, 2016 is a year of “unprecedented” when it comes to national politics, but …
No presidential candidate of a major party has ever died or withdrawn before a presidential election …
Vice presidents, however, have a teeny precedent. In 1972, Democratic vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton announced he was dropping out, 18 days after he became George McGovern’s running mate. Not a month before the election, but shortly after the nominating convention.
In 1912, Republican Vice Presidential candidate James Sherman died a few days before the general election. His name remained on the ballot; had the GOP won the election, the party would have named a replacement. However, Republicans lost to Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall so the question was moot.
2. Trump would have to bow out of the race before the RNC could agree upon a replacement.
There is no precedent for the party to kick him off the ticket.
Trump insists that there is “zero chance” he’ll bow out voluntarily.
In the extremely unlikely event that Trump should quit, how would the Republican Party replace their nominee?
Republican National Committee Rule 9 authorizes a replacement only if there is a vacancy due to “death, declination, or otherwise.” [Of course, some lawyers have hypothesized that “otherwise” means that the GOP could kick him out. See missing precedent, above.]
Rule 9 says that states get the same number of votes as they had at the national convention. However (proportional) voting could be limited to the 168-member Republican National Committee in lieu of another national convention. There are few details outlined (e.g., must the vote be in person or can delegates vote by mail, by email, by phone) but picking a replacement requires notice and takes time, something in short supply between now and November 8.
3. Yet Trump’s name would remain on the ballot.
Overseas and service (think military families) voters get their ballots at least 45 days before the election. [This is the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, UOCAVA, at work.] Millions of ballots — emblazoned with the Trump/Pence ticket — hit postal and email boxes (via a link) in September. Approximately 411,000 ballots have already been returned.
Even if ballots aren’t yet in the mail, they are at the printer or being finalized for voting machines. Moreover, the deadline for ballot inclusion has passed in all states. That means write-in deadlines are in the past, too; many states require write-in candidates to register.
4. Any attempt to circumvent the convention could tear the GOP apart.
5. Finally, there are electors.
The popular vote does not a president make. That comes from the Electoral College vote. Like it or hate it, that’s the system in place. On December 19, 2016, electors will vote.
Electors are generally committed to vote for the winner of the popular vote, although some states do not require this and two (Maine and Nebraska) require that votes be cast proportionally.
In 29 states, electors must follow state law in how they cast their votes. So who would they cast their vote for, if Trump was the name on the ballot? Lawyers would be reading the fine print but in many states they would be legally bound to vote for Trump.
So there you have it.
Political posturing will continue, no doubt. But the sure bet is that Donald J. Trump will remain the name at the top of the GOP ticket when your clock hits 8:00 p.m. (local time) on November 8.
Banner photo: screen capture from Trump apology video.
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Posted at 12:30 pm Pacific, 9 October 2016
In this series:
- Is cheating on your wife a GOP secret handshake?
- Trump issues video apology, closes with attack on Clinton
- Tracking Trump’s Support Among Women
- The “election” is not on November 8
- The “GOP should ditch Trump” meme won’t happen. Here’s why.