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The Arcane Rules That Would Kick In If Trump Drops Out

‘A presidential or vice-presidential candidate had never quit a race in modern history before the Eagleton affair, but this year might offer an even grander political spectacle, thanks to Donald Trump. In recent days, Republicans have been expressing increasing nervousness about Donald Trump’s candidacy, with many urging him to quit. Trump might also quit on his own volition, having done the math and decided that bowing out now is better than losing by a landslide in November.

Would Trump actually quit,,,[W]e’ve never seen a candidate like him, and for someone who seemingly entered the race on a whim it wouldn’t be outrageous to see him exit in a similar fashion. And from the standpoint of Republican Party rules, Trump quitting, while unprecedented, would, in fact be a reasonably easy problem to solve. That’s mostly because the party’s rules lay out pretty clearly what would happen next… The rules …define a simple process of replacement: another vote by members of the RNC that could happen at a second national convention or remotely. Whichever candidate gets a majority of the votes, wins the nomination. (The candidates, in this scenario, could come from anywhere—not just those candidates that ran in the primaries and caucuses, which is why some Republicans see House Speaker Paul Ryan getting the nod.)

A far trickier problem, however, are the actual ballots. And it’s that process, separate from the nominating process, that could be a bit messier, and is also where timing becomes important. In the U.S., each individual state controls the election process, from making and printing ballots, to counting votes on Election Day, to certifying election results.Election law in the U.S. is a 50-state patchwork. From voting machines to filing deadlines, each state has different rules. And it’s the deadlines in particular that might concern party officials should Trump quit. That’s because the closer it gets to the November election, the harder and harder it will get to keep Trump’s name from appearing on state ballots, as state deadlines for certifying nominees’ names come and go.

It’s already impossible, in fact, to keep Trump off all 50: according to the Daily Beast, Delaware’s deadline to certify names for the ballot has already passed, meaning that even if Trump quits today you’ll still be able to vote for him in Delaware in three months. Even so, most of these deadlines aren’t until September or October, meaning that, for the next few weeks at least, Republicans could likely still get another name on the ballot in most states by November.

State control of elections provides for other sources of potential mayhem, however, because of the Electoral College…’

Source: Atlas Obscura