With the release of (yet another) revolting and disqualifying statement by Donald Trump, many of his most stalwart supporters are finally admitting that he simply does not possess the character required to be President of the United States. Is it too late for him to finally do the right thing for the country and step aside? It very well may be… But there is one realistic path that may allow Donald Trump to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the election – and he even still gets to be the one to beat her.
The legal and logistical realities simply make impossible for Donald Trump to simply step aside and allow Mike Pence to become the Republican Nominee and defeat Hillary Clinton on November 8th. First, even if he resigned and the RNC invoked Rule 9 to replace Trump (and selected Mike Pence), the fact of the matter is that the ballots have already been printed and the dates for changing ballots has passed. Even if some states did get Mike Pence on the top of the ballot – most states would not, and the confusion of a write in campaign would simply hand the election to Hillary Clinton. There is simply no logistical and legal way to replace a candidate this late in the election cycle. Thus the only way for Clinton/Kaine to realistically lose the election is for Trump/Pence to win the election.
But with the massive shift in support away from Trump this late in the cycle, Trump is now virtually un-electable. And after his fantastic debate performance, Mike Pence is. How can Trump make Mike Pence president? By vowing to disqualify himself for the Presidency immediately through abdication. Article 20 of the Constitution states, with Section 3 being the pertinent part:
Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
How can people trust that he will disqualify himself via abdication once elected? By Trump calling on Paul Ryan and all of Congress to impeach him if he doesn’t. How should Donald Trump do this? At the next debate, he should open by stating that he is no longer running and will abdicate upon election in favor of Mike Pence. He should then step back and allow Mike Pence to debate Hillary Clinton.
The result: Trump supporters still get to vote for Trump. Trump still gets to defeat Clinton. “Never Trumpers” can vote for Trump-Pence knowing they are really voting for Pence. Clinton’s entirely anti-Trump strategy immediately fails and Mike Pence is the next President of the United States. Legally and logistically this is the only solution that has a reasonable chance to prevent a Hillary Clinton presidency.