Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Filling Nomination Vacancies That Don't Exist

As the echo from last week's Democratic National Convention faded over the weekend, it gave way to a flurry of early week comments and reactions from and about Republican nominee, Donald Trump. That, in turn, has yielded a renewed discussion about a general election campaign without the New York businessman. However, whereas before the convention -- before the Republican Party nominated Trump in Cleveland -- that discussion focused on feeble efforts to unbind the delegates and throw the convention into chaos, the post-convention scenarios are perhaps even more far-fetched.

And all of it is centered on Rule 9 of the Rules of the Republican Party:

For the sake of clarity, let FHQ state this: Rule 9 is about filling vacancies not creating them. Those who have skipped over the title of the rule and jumped right to "death, declination, or otherwise" have missed the point of the rule. In doing that, most have put entirely too much emphasis on that "otherwise" condition for causing a vacancy.

But again, the intent of the rule is to fill any vacancies in the event that a nominee dies, declines the nomination or falls somewhere in between (neither dead nor able to decline the nomination). That is the intent of "otherwise". It fills in that gap between those two bookends.

So, there is no vacancy in either spot on the Republican ticket at this time in early August and there will not be unless one of those conditions above is met. Trump dropping out -- a declination -- would seem to be the most probable, though the odds of that are long.

Recent Posts:
The Electoral College Map (8/2/16)

The Electoral College Map (8/1/16)

The Electoral College Map (7/29/16)

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Ryan said...

1. I don't really put anything past Trump at this point in time. Gets a month down the road, sees himself losing badly, gets upset with the treatment of the media and fellow Republicans, and quits in protest. Granted, very unlikely, but far more likely than any other major party presidential candidate in recent memory.

2. Number 1 is the best possible scenario for Republicans up for election at this point in time.

3. We just did this twice in Indiana. Mike Pence getting made Republican vice presidential nominee created a vacancy for Republican governor nominee that was filled by Eric Holcomb at a meeting of the Indiana State Republican Party. And Baron Hill dropped out (read: was told to drop out) of the Democratic Senate election, leading to Evan Bayh being made the nominee of the Indiana State Democratic Party.

Steve said...

I don't dispute Trump's leaving or getting pushed from the race is improbable. But I don't think your gloss on the rule is all that convincing. First, a legal quibble--it's standard to disregard titles in interpreting laws and regulations, so no one should be surprised a rule's title might be disregarded here. Second, even if the title is included, it does not obviously mean what you say, i.e. that the candidate must somehow precipitate the vacancy. Plainly this might not be the case had Trump, say, suffered an incapacitating stroke. Mightn't the party then have to declare there is a vacancy before proceeding to fill it? "Otherwise" covers a lot of territory and there is nothing in the rule presently precluding the party from effecting a vacancy--again conceding this is, practically (and for many other reasons) improbable.

Josh Putnam said...

On point #2, I would point you in the direction of the next to last paragraph. That directly deals with the gap "otherwise" is filling.

As to point #1, I understand this perspective. Otherwise, as others have noted, is ambiguous. However, the intent of otherwise is to fill the gap between death and declination; a circumstance in which the nominee is neither dead nor has the ability to decline the nomination. In other words, they have been incapacitated in some way and cannot make that decision.