It’s not too late for another option
If Trump supporters want to keep Clinton out of the White House, they should urge their candidate to step down
A crowded field of GOP presidential candidates—along with John Kasich’s decision to remain in the race even after it became mathematically impossible for him to win—paved the way for Donald Trump to gain the Republican presidential nomination this year. The legions of GOP voters who favored other candidates had a decision to make: Would they—could they—vote for Trump in November?
There was a powerful case for swallowing hard and supporting Trump. The argument went like this: Donald Trump may practice (and brag about) deeply immoral behavior, but Hillary Clinton has also engaged in immoral (not to mention illegal) behavior.
So would they rather have as president an unrepentant moral cretin who might appoint constitutionalists to the Supreme Court or an unrepentant moral cretin who would without a doubt appoint radical leftists? The death of Antonin Scalia and the advancing ages of a few other justices made the stakes especially high. It was a “binary choice,” as they say, and the choice seemed clear.
That practical case for Trump may have been persuasive then, but it is gone now. It holds no water because Trump has proven himself so unfit for office that he almost certainly won’t win. The winds have shifted decisively, and now the only way to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House is for Trump supporters to persuade their man to step aside.
Trump was already losing support even before a videotape emerged of him bragging about kissing women without their permission and grabbing their genitals. Then several women came forward yesterday and today claiming Trump had acted out his assault fantasies on them. Trump calls the claims “vicious” and “absolutely false,” but they have credibility because he’s on tape saying he has done things like that.
An Oct. 12 RealClearPolitics average of major polls found Clinton is ahead in enough states to give her 340 Electoral College votes while Trump would win only 198. The map showed, as Stephen Green at PJ Media pointed out, that Clinton would only need to win one state among Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Ohio to get to the 270 electoral votes she needs to win.
Keep in mind that Clinton was ahead in four of those six states, and trailing in Arizona by 1 point. Also keep in mind that this map was based on polls taken before several women accused Trump of assault. Also keep in mind that no GOP presidential nominee has won Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972. Going into the first presidential debate, the election modeling website FiveThirtyEight gave Trump a 45.2 percent chance of winning the White House. FiveThirtyEight now gives him a 13 percent chance. Too many voters are concluding correctly that Trump is unfit for the presidency. The man is not going to win.
But is all of this a moot point? Is it too late for someone else to take up the Republican mantle? No, it’s not, and it won’t be even into November. As Derek T. Muller, an associate professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law, noted in an article for National Review, it doesn’t even matter that the ballots are printed and that early voting and absentee voting is already underway.
The reason is the Electoral College. When voters go to the polls and mark their ballots for “Donald Trump” or “Hillary Clinton,” they will not be voting for Trump or Clinton. They will be voting for a slate of electors to represent their state in the Electoral College, and it’s the Electoral College that chooses the president.
If Trump stepped aside, the Republican Party could announce that a vote for “Donald Trump” would be a vote for Mike Pence or someone else the GOP chooses. The electors aligned with Republicans would have complete freedom to vote for the new GOP nominee when the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19.
It would be an uphill battle for a new Republican nominee to win, especially if angry Trump supporters stayed home on Election Day. But it’s also possible that voters who dislike both Clinton and Trump (and polls show they are a majority) would flock to the new contender.
Would Trump step aside if enough of his supporters called on him to do so? It seems doubtful. On the other hand, winning is important to him, and perhaps they could convince him that the only way to win what he thinks is a “rigged” game is not to play.
Either way, if they want to avoid yet another Clinton administration, their only option is to try.
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