US Elections 2016 - Live Blogs - Al Jazeera English


US Elections 2016

  • If Clinton or Trump were to drop out: 5 things to know

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is resting after her campaign revealed she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. The unsuccessful attempt to conceal her illness has fuelled speculation, largely by her critics, that Clinton is hiding another, more serious maladie. Clinton turns 69 next month. Donald Trump, her opponent in the race for the White House, is 70 years old, which has led to questions about what would happen if one of them were to drop out due to illness. Here are five things that are important to know if that were the case. 
    1. It would be unprecedented. No US presidential candidate has ever dropped out this close to an election. The closest was Thomas Eagleton in 1972. He was George McGovern's vice presidential running mate on the Democratic ticket. Eagleton was asked to step down just over three months before the election after the press got wind he suffered from severe bouts of depression and had undergone electroshock therapy. He was later replaced by Sargent Shriver and the Democrats went on to lose the general election to Richard Nixon. 
    2. It would be hugely disadvantageous for the new candidate. Most states have a registration deadline for parties to do the proper paperwork in order to get their candidate certified and officially on the ballot. Many cut-off dates are in August and early September, which means those deadlines have already passed. That includes battleground states like Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin which puts any candidate jumping into the election at a huge competitive disadvantage if they are not able to get their name on the ballot. And as the election gets closer, more and more states will close their certification process. 
    3. It would be impractical. One simple reason is this: voting has already begun in the US. Under expanded early voting rules, many states are allowing people to cast their ballot as early as this week for the November election. North Carolina, for instance, has already mailed out absentee ballots which can be sent back any time between now and the election. So what happens if someone casts an early ballot for Clinton or Trump but they drop out before November? Since there is no precedent, the answer is unclear.

    Clinton and Trump seen painted on decorative pumpkins [Reuters] 
    4. There would be lawyers. In the United States, litigation has become as synonymous with American politics as kissing babies. Given that each state has different deadlines, laws and procedures for balloting, there is little doubt the party that is forced to put up a new candidate will face challenges from the opposition in the courts and vice verse. In 2000, when the election was simply too close to call, both the Republicans and Democrats forced the election into the legal system leading the Supreme Court to eventually make the call in favour of George W Bush. 
    5. The national committee of either the Republican or Democratic party would ultimately choose the new candidate. If a candidate is no longer able to run for the White House, both parties have emergency provisions within their charters to nominate someone else. But this raises the obvious question: does the committee choose the candidate who came in second at the national conventions or do they choose the person they feel would best represent the party? In other words, would Bernie Sanders replace Hillary Clinton or would her vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine, be the most obvious choice?
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