What Happens If A Nominee Drops Out?
The question has been circulating in media following the highly-publicized indiscretions of the two major-party presidential candidates. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was under investigation by the FBI for using a private email address for classified government business; Republican candidate Donald Trump has come under fire for controversial remarks about everything from newscasters to Muslims. If either elected to drop out of the race, it would cause a calamity within their respective party.
For Republicans, a hypothetical disappearance of Trump for reasons not due to health would have them looking at Rule 9 of the Republican National Committee policies. If a vacancy opened up, the GOP would have an opportunity to reconvene for a second convention or have the party name a new candidate. House Speakers, runners-up, or prospective vice presidents could all conceivably have a shot at the open slot, but the party is free to choose anyone and the states would retain the same number of delegates they had during the convention.
Similarly, the Democratic Party’s bylaws stipulate that a special meeting would be called by its chairperson to find a proper replacement. In both cases, the parties would hope the nominee would announce his or her intentions no later than September in order to find a suitable replacement. If they didn't, it’s possible Congress could take the unprecedented step of pushing back Election Day.
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