Pretty much everyone is asking the same question.

In the wake of Donald Trump's biggest scandal yet, can the Republican Party dump him from its presidential ticket?

According to Politico, lawyers for the Republican National Committee are currently looking for answers to that question, so it's clearly time to take the possibility seriously.

If you missed on the weekend, the scandal in question involves a leaked video of Trump from 2005. In it, he is heard discussing his attempts to bed a married woman, and bragging that he can "do anything" to women because he is a celebrity.


"When you're a star, they let you do it. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything," he says, along with a few other vulgarities.

WARNING: The below video contains graphic language

Even Trump's staunchest supporters are struggling to defend him from renewed accusations of sexism, misogyny and general awfulness. Meanwhile, a growing number of Republicans who endorsed Trump reluctantly, including sitting congressmen, senators, governors and a fair few pundits, have publicly called for him to quit the race.

"Enough! Donald Trump should not be president. He should withdraw," former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a Facebook post.

"Donald Trump's behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy,"said 2008 Republican nominee John McCain.

"For the benefit of the country, the party and his family, and for his own good, Donald Trump should withdraw," said conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

"This is disgusting, vile and disqualifying. Donald Trump should step aside and allow our party to replace him." said House member Barbara Comstock.

You get the picture. The full list of Republicans who have disavowed Trump in the last 24 hours or so numbers in the dozens.

They make the process sound so simple. The truth is it will be extremely difficult to get rid of Trump - and even if the party does go down that path, it will find it's waited too long for the decision to make a difference in the presidential race.


This is the Republican National Committee's rule regarding the replacement of a presidential nominee. It is known as Rule 9:

"The Republican National Committee is hereby authorised and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States."

Obviously Donald Trump is still alive, so "death" isn't relevant here.

How about "declination"? That would require Republican leaders to convince Trump to quit voluntarily. He didn't sound very open to the idea when he spoke to the Washington Post today.

"I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life. No, I'm not quitting this race. I have tremendous support," Trump said in a phone interview.

"People are calling and saying, 'Don't even think about doing anything else but running. You have to see what's going on. The real story is that people have no idea the support. I don't know how that's going to boil down but people have no idea the support.

"It's because she (Clinton) is so bad. She's so flawed as a candidate. Running against her, I can't say it'd be the same if I ran against someone else, but running against her makes it a lot easier, that's for sure."

If that wasn't plain enough, Trump tweeted this a little while later: "The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly. I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN!"

So, he's not dead and apparently he's not quitting. That means we're down to defining the word "otherwise". If the RNC decided something like "unfitness for office" fit into the "otherwise" category, it could conceivably sack Trump from the ticket. He probably wouldn't be happy. Vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence could step in if Trump goes.

When it comes to Donald Trump, Robert De Niro didn't mince words. While filming a political testimony video for a non-partisan group called #VoteYourFuture, the legendary actor was asked a question that all participants were asked: "What do you care about?" Source: Anonymous Content


If Trump were disendorsed, the next step would presumably be to convene a new Republican convention. There, the 2,472 delegates elected by voters during the primaries would choose a new nominee.

The consensus choice among the Republicans currently calling for Trump's head is his pick for vice president, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. That makes some sense. Pence is a more traditional conservative politician who is broadly liked by both establishment Republicans and Trump's "outsider" supporters. He also performed well in last week's vice-presidential debate, and was appropriately upset about Trump's latest scandal.

"As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday," Pence said in a statement today.

"I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologised to the American people. We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night."

However, Pence has spent the last few months repeatedly telling Americans Trump would make an excellent president. If he were to become the nominee himself, he would face a lot of awkward questions about why he stood behind Trump for so long.

There aren't many other options. The party could turn to one of Trump's rivals from the primaries, such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or John Kasich. It could call on a safe pair of hands like 2012 nominee Mitt Romney or House Speaker Paul Ryan. The problem is, all of those men are loathed by Trump's hardcore fans, so they would lead a thoroughly divided party to the election.


Realistically, any serious move to replace Trump - no matter whose name was floated to take his place - would spark an almighty backlash from his supporters in the Republican base.

That matters. Fourteen million people voted for Trump in the primaries, and many more have swung in behind him since he officially became the nominee. If the Republican Party lost even a fraction of those voters, it would be consigned to a crushing defeat on election day.

To give you some perspective, Romney won 61 million votes in the general election four years ago, while Barack Obama was re-elected with 66 million. Trump's core support represents about a quarter of potential Republican voters, which is more than enough to make a difference.


The biggest problem with the "dump Trump" plan is purely practical. Many states have already printed their ballots for the election, and Trump's name is on them. There is no way to change that. Furthermore, millions of Americans are already casting absentee and early votes ... again, with Trump's name on them.

So, any post-Trump candidate won't appear on the ballots in a bunch of important states, which means that candidate is virtually guaranteed to lose, no matter what he does between now and November 8.

Republican leaders have waited too long. They could have kicked Trump out of their primaries, but they didn't. They could have rebelled at the convention in July, but instead they stamped out any signs of dissent. Now it's too late to change the nominee without sacrificing any chance they have of winning the presidency.

Which leaves just one reason, politically speaking, to get rid of Trump: it could potentially help dozens of Republicans who are running for Senate, House and Gubernatorial seats. That's the lose-lose trade-off the party is considering.

Meanwhile, Trump himself is currently locked indoors, preparing for the second presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, which is at midday tomorrow AEST. That should be fun.