ABC’s chief White House correspondent, Jon Karl, has reported that Republican Party leaders are in a panic trying to come up with a plan of what to do if nominee Donald Trump decides to stop running for president.
“This is absolutely unprecedented. First of all, I am told RNC [Republican National Convention] chairman Reince Priebus is furious, that he has had multiple discussions with Trump telling him he needs to drastically change course. But here’s the news, I am told senior officials at the party are actively exploring what would happen if Trump dropped out, how to replace him on the ballot.”
“Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos couldn’t believe that the RNC was actually treating the scenario as a real possibility. Karl replied,
“He is so unpredictable right now, they are so unable to control his message, that they just don’t know and clearly think it is a possibility, which is why they’re looking at these rules.”
“I have to say the frustration is especially deep because they believe that Hillary Clinton looks vulnerable, exactly as [ABC News political analyst] Matthew [Dowd] said, and had a bad few days, the DNC has gone through a whole shake-up. She misstated what that director said about her emails. One top official told me if Trump had gone on vacation for the past two weeks, he would be in the lead. But, yes, he can still raise money and still has support among the Republican rank-and-file.”
Bear in mind that the RNC cannot stop Trump’s candidacy now that he is their official nominee. He will only leave of his own volition.
It’s impossible to say for certain whether their are substantial odds that Trump might drop out of the race. Perhaps the GOP leaders know something that we don’t, or perhaps their desperation is making them delusional. It’s easy to see why they might be grasping for false hope, since they are convinced that their candidate would do better if he stopped campaigning.