With the news Friday of the latest Trump bombshell, caught on a “hot mic” leading into an interview, the interwebs are ablaze again, asking… again: Can the GOP replace Trump?
Yes. And No.
Yes, according to the GOP’s own rules, they are able to at any time replace the candidate for president. Indeed, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) suggested this on Friday. Back in August, this movement had minor play in the media, and a GOP expert stated that it was completely possible to replace a candidate for any reason. But that was August… we are now one month out from the General Election.
Could the GOP replace Trump? Yes, but it seems implausible for any party’s machinations to come together and do so this late in the game. But what if Trump just quit the race? Does Pence become the presumptive Presidential candidate? No. The GOP can select any individual to replace Trump, it doesn’t have to bring Pence in from the Bullpen to take the ball.
But it is already too late to take Trump off the ballot across the country should he be replaced or drop out. According to individual state laws, a slew of states have already passed the deadline for a candidate to appear on the ballot. There are only 14 of the 50 states where as of October 1st it isn’t clear if a candidate could be added.
That means Trump will be on the ballot across America in just about every state even if he withdraw. While not quite an equivalent, the idea of a name appearing on a ballot who is no longer in the race… well, America has elected no fewer than 5 dead candidates to Congress, whose untimely passing left their names on a ballot.
However, the Presidential race is different, as our vote isn’t pure like voting for a Congressman or Senator. Each state has a series of Electors who ultimately cast their vote for President. Each candidate has a list of Electors who will assemble after the election to vote separately for President and Vice President.
The question becomes, is an Elector bound to vote for the candidate who selected her or him in the first place? There is no Federal law, so yes, Electors in the states could choose NOT to vote for Trump is he wins the popular vote of that state. But not in 29 states have laws that specify how an Elector can vote.
Most of these state laws generally assert that an elector shall cast his or her vote for the candidates who won a majority of the state’s popular vote, or for the candidate of the party that nominated the elector. – Fair Vote.org
Any time a question can be answered with YES and NO the result is usually the same: chaos.