The internet, as it is wont to do, is filled with rumors today. The rumors are specifically swirling about the seemingly preposterous notion that Donald Trump is on the cusp of dropping out of the presidential race.
Even ABC News has glommed onto the bandwagon.
Republican officials are exploring how to handle a scenario that would be unthinkable in a normal election year: What would happen if the party’s presidential nominee dropped out?
ABC News has learned that senior party officials are so frustrated — and confused — by Donald Trump’s erratic behavior that they are exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he drops out.
What happens if Trump were to surprisingly tell himself, “you’re fired?”
That’s when rule nine of the Republican National Committee would come into play. Rule nine deals with how the GOP would fill vacancies in nominations. Here’s the rule from 2012, which Conservative Review has learned was unchanged in 2016.
Filling Vacancies in Nominations
(a) The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.
(b) In voting under this rule, the Republican National Committee members representing any state shall be entitled to cast the same number of votes as said state was entitled to cast at the national convention.
(c) In the event that the members of the Republican National Committee from any state shall not be in agreement in the casting of votes hereunder, the votes of such state shall be divided equally, including fractional votes, among the members of the Republican National Committee present or voting by proxy.
(d) No candidate shall be chosen to fill any such vacancy except upon receiving a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the election.
Here is how that would work in plain English.
First off many have wondered if that means Mike Pence automatically becomes the nominee. The answer is no.
Either the Republican National Committee (RNC) would chose the new nominee, or it could call for a new convention that would see all 2472 delegates reconvene to pick the nominee. The former is probably what would happen; the RNC would pick a new nominee.
In that scenario, the individual RNC members from a state would vote as if they were all of the delegates from their state. For instance the three members of the RNC from Texas would vote as if they were all 155 delegates from the state, and the three RNC members from Ohio would vote as if they were the 66 delegates from the state.
Furthermore, if the three RNC members didn’t vote for the same candidate, each one of them would get votes equal to 1/3 of their committee (including fractional votes). This means that, in effect, each Texas member of the RNC’s vote would be equal to 51.66 delegates, and each Ohio member would be equal to 22 delegates.
The members of the RNC would continue voting until a candidate emerged with 1237 delegates.
That doesn’t end it though. While that’s how the RNC would select a new nominee, it does not mean that the new nominee would replace Trump’s name on every state ballot. Each state has different laws on the deadline by which a party can replace their nominee on the ballot. Ballotpedia has put together what they believe to be the deadline for each state. They are careful to note that this is what they “gleaned from reviewing relevant state statutes and other government documents.” Of course as with all election law, it could be challenged.
Here’s how the team at Ballotpedia explained what happens after the RNC would replace a candidate.
The bulk of the dates for certifying the names of major party presidential candidates are in August and September—35 states in total. The GOP would have until about mid August to find a replacement nominee and still be able to get his or her name on the ballot in enough states to be competitive in November. For example, if Trump dropped out in late August, his name would already be certified to appear as the Republican candidate for president in at least 18 states. If he dropped out in September, that number could rise to more than 30 states. The Republican Party would have few options available to it, at this point, to remove Trump’s name and replace it with their new nominee.
If the rumors are true, Trump would essentially need to drop out by next week to allow a new nominee to be chosen and appear on enough ballots if lawsuits were unsuccessful.
Granted, this is probably going to never happen, but now you know how it would. But then again, it is 2016. (For more from the author of “What Happens If the Trump ‘Drop out’ Rumors Are True?” please click HERE)