What Happens If A Presidential Nominee Drops Out? Donald Trump Could Spark A Plan B

You never know what Donald Trump will do next, and up to now, that uncertainty has been bad for the Republican Party. But in a stroke of optimism, some are wondering: What if Donald Trump quits? Or, more generally, what if any presidential nominee drops out? What would be devastating for most major party platforms in a traditional sense may actually be the best solution to a bad situation for the GOP this year.

This election season, many influential Republicans have been outwardly upset with Trump, the chosen party nominee. Some have either actively withheld their support (like the billionaire Koch brothers), bailed on the RNC convention (like the entire Bush dynasty), or even, in the case of New York Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, crossed over party lines and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Now, reports are surfacing that party leaders might even try to go so far as to try to get Trump to get out. On Wednesday, ABC News reported that senior Republican officials are contemplating how to potentially plot a coup of sorts.

But wait... can the RNC do this? The powers that be don't like the candidate the people voted for — the person who won the nomination against all odds. But can they still can kick him out? Not quite.

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Although Trump's been deemed "unfit to serve" by Hanna (who, remember, is a Republican Congressman), allegedly doesn't understand why he can't use nuclear weapons whenever he wants, and most recently, has refused to endorse leaders from his own party who have done so for him, it's not that simple.

First of all, and maybe most importantly, it has to be Trump's decision to drop out. In recent presidential electoral history, a candidate has never dropped out after being officially named the nominee. The closest example was in 1972, when Democratic vice presidential nominee Tom Eagleton withdrew over mental health issues he had in his past. But let's say the primary-elected candidate did drop out (or die; the only two stipulations accounted for). In such a case, Republicans are directed to the Republican National Committee's Rule 9. According to the rule:

The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States.

If the committee was to be so empowered, according to the RNC's official guidelines, the next steps would be for the party can either have another convention or for the RNC to hold a new vote.

Currently, there aren't any signs of Trump backing down, but at the very least, NBC News reported that party leaders, like former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, are staging an intervention.