He still faces a lot of hurdles between here and the Oval Officeby Laurence H Tribe / March 21, 2016 / Leave a comment
To anyone on the outside looking in, it might appear as though the presidential nominees are all but decided. But the party conventions in July could make things far more complicated: What would happen if Donald Trump were rejected by the Republicans and ran as an independent? What role might Congress play in the November election? What would happen if the decision went to the Supreme Court and there were a legal deadlock?
A three horse race?
Suppose that Trump continues to rack up delegates in the Republican primaries but resistance to his candidacy is growing in the party’s barely surviving establishment. At the Republican convention—to be held 18-21st July in Cleveland, Ohio, to choose that party’s presidential nominee—not all state delegates are obliged by the rules to vote for the candidate who won their state’s primary. Moreover, the selection of those delegates is also an internal party matter—and many in the Republican Party are wary of Trump. Thus, Trump could win the largest number of votes in the Republican primary process, but still not obtain the party’s nomination to run for President.
Political commentators are speculating about a contested Republican convention between Trump and a Republican establishment favourite like John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, or even Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a more doctrinaire conservative than the relatively unpredictable Trump. All sorts of procedural gambits could be deployed at the convention in a pitched battle to determine the party’s nominee.
If Trump were to lose at a free-for-all Republican convention, that could lead him to abandon the Republican Party and mount an independent Presidential campaign running against the Republican and Democratic nominees. (If Trump were to win the Republican nomination, then he too could also in theory face an independent challenge, but the momentum of his campaign would make such a challenge unlikely.)
Registration deadlines and “sore loser” laws—which bar candidates who lose a state primary election from appearing on some state ballots as an independent Presidential candidate—would hinder…