Why Republicans can’t easily dump Trump off the ballot

The GOP is stuck with Donald Trump — but that isn’t stopping weary Republicans from looking at every way possible to remove him from the top of the ticket.

News of Trump’s sexually aggressive remarks from 2005 is just the latest explosion to spur discussion of ways to break ties with the presidential nominee.
The #NeverTrump forces fought all the way through the last day of the Republican Convention. That was quickly followed by his lengthy battle with Gold Star parentsKhizr and Ghazala Khan, which had some Republicans digging through the party’s rules and state laws for options.
Talk of replacing Trump ebbed when he pulled even with Hillary Clinton in the polls last month, and with just 30 days left until the election, thousands of ballots already cast in states with early voting and the legal deadlines for changing names on the ballot already past, the GOP is stuck with him.
Trump says he’s not going anywhere, but that won’t stop the conversation. Here are some of the hypotheticals — and the reasons they can’t work.

Rule 9

The Republican National Committee’s rules allow for the 168 party committee members to replace a nominee in the case of “death, declination, or otherwise.”
The idea of having the RNC reconvene and select a new nominee was first floated in August. It was a long-shot then and practically impossible now because votes have already been cast and deadlines for removing candidates from the ballot have passed.
“I’m not aware of any national RNC rule remedy or federal statute here outside of state-by-state write-in rules,” said one RNC committee member Saturday. “It is unrealistic and politically risky to beseech 50 different Secretaries of State to change ballots or to pursue write-in efforts. We are stuck, and so is Pence.”
“I don’t think it’s an option. Seriously. Ballots are printed. People are already voting,” said another RNC member. “We just have to live with it.”
The reality is that early voting means the ballots have already been locked in.
“The only real scenario is Trump saying he’ll resign the second he’s inaugurated — at which point voters will think that a vote for him is really a vote for Pence,” Vladeck said.
Even President Barack Obama has already voted — Friday afternoon, just before the Trump bombshell exploded.

Mike Pence to the rescue?

As the fallout from Trump’s comments began to take hold, Republican lawmakers who were distancing themselves from Trump also began saying they would vote for his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence instead.
Pence drew conservative applause for his standout performance in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, spurring talk of a 2020 run. But some Republicans don’t want to wait that long.