It’s not paranoia if it’s true.
We already know Hillary Clinton is ethics and morality challenged. In fact, were it not for the equally corrupt FBI, this woman should have been arrested, tried, and beserving time in prison for violating U.S. laws in having an unsecured — and illegal — private email server as Secretary of State.
The fact the the Democrats could overlook her legal and moral failings to select her as their presidential candidate is not surprising, which is in itself a testimony to the corruption of Democrats and their party. (See “After Hillary’s Benghazi hearing, 100K new donors flood campaign with money”)
Moral considerations aside, there is the matter of Hillary’s health. Why would the Democrats select as their presidential candidate a woman who is clearly very ill, who —
- Has a documented history of falls, brain concussion, and cranial blood clots;
- Has coughing fits;
- Had a brain seizure on camera;
- Has to be helped by two men to walk up a few steps;
- Needs a stool step to get in & out of her car;
- Must be propped up to stand and deliver a few remarks;
- Is accompanied by a neurosurgeon carrying in his hand a Diazepam auto-injector pen;
- Has a hole in her tongue (from cancer surgery?);
- Appears to wear a catheter and a defibrillator vest; and
- May have dementia . . . .
Some of us in the Alternative Media even speculated if this is Obama’s way to stay in power beyond the constitutionally-prescribed two consecutive presidential terms of office — that he might just suspend the November 8 election if and when Hillary is incapacitated.
Our worst fears turn out to be real.
Steven Nelson reports for U.S. News and World Report, August 30, 2016:
“The presidential election could be delayed or scrapped altogether if conspiracy theories become predictive and a candidate dies or drops out before Nov. 8. The perhaps equally startling alternative, if there’s enough time: Small groups of people hand-picking a replacement pursuant to obscure party rules.”
Nelson writes that while the possible last-minute replacement of a candidate attracts some cyclical coverage, “this year the scenario would play out after consistent conjecture about the health of” Hillary Clinton, who will be 69 this October, and — referring to “apparently unfounded speculation he will drop out” — the “hidden agenda of” Donald Trump who, at age 70, would be the oldest person elected president.
Prominent law professors have pondered what might happen if a presidential candidate dies or drops out before the election:
- University of Notre Dame law professor John Nagle says “There’s nothing in the Constitution which requires a popular election for the electors serving in the Electoral College“, meaning the body that officially elects presidents could convene without the general public voting. “It’s up to each state legislature to decide how they want to choose the state’s electors. It may be a situation in which the fact that we have an Electoral College, rather than direct voting for presidential candidates, may prove to be helpful.”
- In a 1994 article in the Arkansas Law Review, Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar considers what he calls the “far-fetched” possibility of a special presidential election being pushed to after Jan. 20, with the speaker of the House serving as acting president until an election could pick “a real president for the remainder of the term.” Amar recommends an up to four-week postponement of Election Day if a candidate dies just before voting, or even if there’s a major terrorist attack.
The Role of Congress
Congress does have the power to change the election date under Article II of the Constitution, which allows federal lawmakers to set dates for the selection of presidential electors and when those electors will vote. But Congress would be up against a de facto December deadline, as the Constitution’s 20th Amendment requires that congressional terms expire Jan. 3 and presidential terms on Jan. 20. Though it’s conceivable to split legislative and presidential elections, they generally happen at the same time. And if the entire general election were to be moved after Jan. 3, Congress effectively would have voted themselves out of office.
John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, says he’s not certain that Congress would reach consensus on moving an election date if a candidate died, meaning parties would need to formally – or informally – decide on a replacement. If the election date was moved by Congress, ongoing absentee or early voting would make for a mess.
The Role of the Parties
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have rules and guidelines for presidential ticket replacements:
- If Hillary were to fall off the ticket, Democratic National Committee (DNC) members would gather to vote on a replacement. DNC spokesman Mark Paustenbach says there currently are 445 committee members – a number that changes over time and is guided by the group’s bylaws, which give membership to specific officeholders and party leaders and hold 200 spots for selection by states, along with an optional 75 slots DNC members can choose to fill. But the party rules for replacing a presidential nominee merely specify that a majority of members must be present at a special meeting called by the committee chairman. The meeting would follow procedures set by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee and proxy voting would not be allowed. But DNC member Connie Johnson, a former Oklahoma state senator who supported Bernie Sanders, says it would be most appropriate for the DNC to give the nomination to the runner-up if Clinton were to die or drop out before the election. Johnson writes in an email: “I believe that’s why Sen. Sanders stayed in the contest. As to whether the party would adopt what would appear to be a common sense solution in the event of [Clinton] no longer being able to serve – that would remain to be seen. There was so much vitriol aimed at Sen. Sanders and his supporters by [Clinton supporters] that they would likely want ‘anybody but Bernie’ in order to save face and maintain control.”
- In the case of the Republican party, Republican National Committee (RNC) rules potentially allow for greater democratic input, but don’t require it. If a vacancy emerges on the ticket, the 168-member RNC would decide whether to select a replacement on its own or “reconvene the national convention,” which featured 2,472 voting delegates, that met over the summer. If RNC members make the choice themselves, the three members representing each state, territory and the nation’s capital – a committeeman, committeewoman and the local party chairman – would jointly have “the same number of votes as said state was entitled to cast at the national convention.” RNC rules allow for state delegations to split their vote and for members to vote by proxy.
According to John Fortier, though not legally required, parties may decide on an easy fix and encourage electors to support their existing vice presidential nominee. A party legally could pick someone else, but a desire for legitimacy in the eyes of the public may force its hand.
Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News and an expert on presidential election history, says state election officials likely would be compelled to accept a major party’s request to swap candidates, citing precedent set in 1972 when states allowed Democrats to replace vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton, who was revealed to be a shock therapy patient, with Sargent Shriver. In 1972, every state but South Dakota also allowed the prominent 1980 independent candidate John Anderson to swap his vice presidential candidate Milton Eisenhower for former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey.
The Role of the Electoral College
In the end, whatever the decision made by the DNC or the RNC, it is up to the Electoral College.
If the DNC or the RNC were to select an unpalatable pick, it’s possible many of the Electoral College could bolt. Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley explains that “the Supreme Court has never ruled that electors can be forced to obey their pledge” to vote for a particular presidential candidate, leaving open the door for mass defections or, in the event of a post-election candidate death, an en masse vote flip.
With more than two centuries of history, the U.S. does have some examples of candidate deaths, though none with a catastrophic impact:
- In 1872, presidential candidate Horace Greeley died about 3 weeks after winning about 44% of the popular vote as a Liberal Republican supported by Democrats against incumbent Republican Ulysses S. Grant. Presidential electors chose between various alternatives, but because Greeley had lost, his death did not sway the election’s outcome.
- In 1912, Republican running mate James Sherman died 6 days before the general election. He wasn’t replaced on ballots and the matter was rendered moot by the GOP’s crushing defeat.
H/t FOTM‘s Bongiornoc
Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds