GOP Officials Exploring Options if Trump Drops Out

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…

Just a few weeks ago, the idea that Donald Trump might pull out of the presidential race would have been met with uncontrollable laughter. Unfortunately, for the sake of Trump’s supporters and Trump himself, an almost non-stop series of incredibly damaging statements and gaffes – most of which have been unneccessarily offered by the candidate himself – has forced many party insiders and fellow billionaires to drop their support for Trump and fuel the idea that Trump may be forced to drop his candidacy altogether.

We have documented many of these gaffes, as has the media in general. The question now becomes, though, what are the mechanics of such a situation, if it were to occur?

As we researched this issue, we found this protocol, as reported by The Fiscal Times:

According to Rule 9 – Filling Vacancies in Nominations” — of the Rules of the Party on the GOP website:

“(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…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.”

In other words, the GOP could convene another convention (unlikely), or it could ask state delegates to vote again. There has been a debate within the party about whether delegates can be “bound” to a candidate, but Rule 16 says they are.