But all that aside, suppose they end up with a candidate most of them feel is terrible. Yes, he followed the rules and got the required number of delegates. But now they realize that those crazies they cultivated to defeat the Democrats have now saddled them with a man whose election, even just his nomination, is likely to cause the US and the world untold harm. Whose rhetoric gets no better. How long can they look the other way? A man so vain and impulsive that many in the party have withheld their support or given it with obvious distaste.
What if you ordered something at a restaurant and you realize it was a terrible mistake. You can refuse to eat it.
Or you go to a move that's awful, you can walk out.
Or you're on a date and it's clear you never want to see him again. You don't have to wait, to end it.
Or the hotel you booked turns out to be above an all night disco. You don't have to stay.
Is this different? Well, all those examples were individual choices. And in all these cases, you'd probably still might have to leave some skin on the table. So my questions are:
Are the Republicans really obligated to allow this man to be their candidate?
What will they leave on the table if they walk out?
Option 1: Find some rules in The Rules of The Republican Party that can be used to disqualify Trump.
I've skimmed through the rules and nothing popped out. Mostly they are about the qualifications of the delegates and how the nominating process is to be run. I could find nothing about qualities of the nominee. That's not unreasonable. The assumption is that candidates as problematic as Trump will never get this close to being nominated.
It might be useful to have something in the rules about the nominee being a registered Republican for a minimum number of years.
The Smoking Gun reports Trump, since 1987, has enrolled as
- a Republican
- a member of the Independence party member
- a Democrat,
- a Republican again,
- "I do not wish to enroll in a party", and finally, in 2012,
- as a Republican again.
A five year minimum in the party would make Trump's candidacy moot. But then someone like Dwight Eisenhower might not have been eligible to be their candidate in 1952. (Though I expect a last minute rule change to allow for a popular candidate would be easier than one to eliminate an unpopular candidate.) Subjective judgments about character make it too easy to disqualify reasonable candidates.
The Democrats have their super-delegates who could be called upon to deny a candidate the nomination. But after this election there are calls to abolish them. Maybe after watching Trump and the Republicans, the Democrats will have second thoughts about abolishing them.
The party does have the power to appoint nominees if for some reason there's a vacancy. Surely Trump isn't going to voluntarily vacate. (Well, on second thought, nothing is sure with Trump.)
If Trump shoots a reporter who asks a hard question in the next month, I can't imagine that the Republicans couldn't find a way to dump him. So there must be some line he could cross that would allow dropping him. But he's crossed so many lines already without him being dropped. . .
The Republicans in the Alaska Legislature have 'unwritten rules.' One of House Speaker Chenault's staff told me that when I asked to see the rules that were used to strip Rep. Reinbold of her Republican caucus status when she didn't go along with the leadership on the budget. Perhaps these exist at the national level too and they can use them to stop Trump.
Option 2: Leave the Republican Party en masse and recreate the party with a new name
This would leave Trump with his supporters in the old GOP, but the rest of the party could reassemble and nominate their own candidate.
I'm not sure what assets - money, property, copyrights/trademarks - they would have to abandon to do this.
Short of this, some could launch an independent run by a Republican alternative to Trump.
I suspect individual Republicans can do this, but getting 'the Party' to agree and do this would be much harder.
Option 3: Support a third party candidate like the Libertarian Gary Johnson
I saw a letter to the editor in the LA Times that suggested one Republican strategy might be to prevent Clinton from getting enough electoral college votes to win outright and then the election would be decided in the House of Representatives where the Republicans have a big majority. But, from what I can tell from this League of Women's Voters webpage,
"Results of the mid-December vote in each state are sent to Congress to be counted on January 6, in the presence of the newly elected Senate and House of Representatives."There's an interesting Atlantic article from October 1980 considering the possibilities that independent candidate John Anderson might get enough electoral college votes to throw the 1980 election into the House of Representatives and what that might look like.
The Washington Post, speculating about the current election, thought that the House of Representatives would be a risky route that would do further damage to legitimacy of the electoral process.
Option 4: Work with the religious right to have the Apocalypse happen before November.
I don't have an option 4 as you can see, but I'm sure there are other scenarios I haven't thought of.
I'm guessing that if there were rules - written or unwritten - that could get rid of Trump, we'd know about them by now. It's only because there probably aren't, that we're hearing talk about third party candidates, not voting for president, or even voting for Clinton. I suspect that the Sanders' call for getting rid of super delegates, given the Republican situation, is going to have a lot of opposition.
And then there is the issue of what line would Trump have to cross. Perhaps this is death by a thousand cuts, none of which individually is significant enough to charge him with murder of the Republican Party, and give them an excuse to rescind his nomination.