The RNC rule that authorizes a replacement nominee gives the committee power "to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise." The word 'otherwise' has been interpreted by some to give the RNC wiggle room to force out a sitting nominee if it chooses. A majority vote of the committee would then choose a new nominee.A New York Times reporter tweeted last night that this was under serious consideration:
Source tells me RNC officials are meeting in DC to discuss what options the party has going forward in case Trump isn't nominee.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 8, 2016
But Politico tells us that the RNC has no interest in pusuing this option.
"Your sources are wrong. There is no meeting," RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer tweeted at a reporter late Friday after the initial news broke.It's true that early voting has begun and Trump is already on those early ballots. But a defenestration of Trump followed by a coordinated effort to rally the party around a replacement nominee -- probably, at this point, Mike Pence -- could work. Presidential electors have the constitutional right to vote for anyone they want -- they don't have to vote for the person who wins their state. If the GOP wanted to, it could tell the nation, "Vote for Trump and our electors will vote for Pence."
But that would require getting all the electors on board. I don't know if that's possible, given the GOP aversion to collective action in situations like these (remember the many moments leading up to the convention when the GOP could have made a concerted joint effort to derail Trump and didn't). Also, it would infuriate Trump diehards in the electorate.
The rage of the diehards is the real reason Trump can't be dumped. While it's true that the Fairleigh Dickinson poll I mentioned a few days ago shows Pence and Hillary Clinton neck-and-neck in a hypothetical matchup (Clinton 47%, Pence 46%), that was clearly presented to poll respondents as a hypothetical; if it actually came to pass under the current circumstances, the Make America Great Again crowd would conclude that Trump had fallen victim to "political correctness" on the part of the "cuck" GOP, and many Trumpers would refuse to play along (or would threaten harm to electors who promised to switch to Pence). It would never work.
Trump obviously isn't going anywhere voluntarily. The apology part of the tape Trump released last night looks like a hostage video, with the script read at gunpoint -- but the tape then becomes an attack on the Clintons, with a strong implication that the subject of Bill's sexual behavior and Hillary's responses to it will be brought up on Sunday at the debate.
Meanwhile, there are more Trump allegations. The New York Times has posted Nicholas Kristof's Sunday column early; it recounts the story of a would-be Trump business partner who says she was groped by Trump in Ivanka's bedroom. CNN anchor Erin Burnett has now told a story on the air about a friend who was kissed without her consent by Trump.
So what happens now? Trump will say that Bill Clinton is guilty of sexual assault. More Trump stories will come out. Eventually, Trump defenders will begin to complain of a double standard. At that point, the press will respond to the pressure and start rehashing the old Clinton stories. Juanita Broaddrick and other Clinton accusers will beome fixtures on cable news, as, perhaps, will Trump accusers, including some we don't know about yet.
Eventually the conservative media will start asking what's so awful about Trump. Here's one Freeper preview what a few of the conservative pros and semi-pros will write:
What Trump said is like most any other healthy American guy, except the MetroSexuals with man-buns walking the streets of the major cities.There'll be "thinkpieces," mostly but not exclusively on the lower-rent right-wing sites, arguing that our shock at the Trump tape is a sign of our aversion to genuine masculinity. I bet Instapundit's wife, "Dr. Helen," is working on something along those lines even as we speak. (Her most recent post for PJ Media: "Tim Kaine: Neutered Male.") Expect somthing awful from Camille Paglia as well.
@nomoremister "The feminist movement of my youth wouldn't have flinched at this refreshing expression of the unbridled male id." Etc.— Vinnie Rouge (@Vinnie_Rouge) October 8, 2016
Yeah, that's what Paglia will write.
Will this doom Trump to a landslide defeat? I agree with a couple of the insiders quoted by Politico on this question:
“Our politics is tribal and polarized. So it's not like this swings the thing 10 points,” a Virginia Republican added. “What it does though, and it has the same impact, is it further devastates Trump amongst women and white college-educated voters, two groups he had to make up big time ground with to even stand a chance of winning. Those windows have now permanently closed.” ...I've been saying for weeks that it'll probably be a 2-point Clinton victory. Now maybe it'll be a 4-point Clinton victory.
“At this stage, I don't think it's possible to knock this guy out. He's a cockroach at the end of a nuclear winter,” said a New Hampshire Democrat. “But at least people now know he's a cockroach after these comments. He'll still lose, but 45 percent of people are so partisan that they won't change their minds no matter what he's said.”