Be careful what you wish for, Republicans. Hillary Clinton’s medical episode today, officially diagnosed as a result of a three-days of pneumonia, has raised serious questions about her future as the Democratic nominee for President. Pundits are speculating. Some conservative publications are saying, “told you so!” Even some of her most ardent defenders in the press have to admit that it’s worth reporting.
The last thing the GOP should want is for Hillary to drop out. She’s the best possible candidate for Donald Trump to to compete with and possibly the only one who is hated enough for him to defeat. If she’s replaced, the repercussions could be devastating up and down the ticket.
There have been a handful of reports discussing the possible ramifications, most of which are either false or ill-conceived so I won’t link to them from here. Instead, let’s look at this logically and read what the rules say about such things. First, the DNC does not have the same type of established rules that the RNC has in the event of their candidate dropping out. Their bylaws grant the Democratic National Committee broad powers between conventions, including the responsibility to “fill vacancies,” though the nature of those vacancies are not discussed. This is uncharted territory for them. While they do not have the power to replace a candidate that has been nominated at the convention, they have all the power they need if she vacates.
Bernie Sanders supporters are pushing. Speculation about Elizabeth Warren is strong. Tim Kaine’s name has been floated as being pushed to the top of the ticket. At least one publication even considered 36-year-old Chelsea Clinton as an option. Clearly, the most likely replacement, the one that the DNC and power brokers in the Democratic Party would want, is Vice President Joe Biden. Uncle Joe has said that he “regrets every day” that he decided not to run. With under two months to go, his regrets may be reversed as a Biden-Kaine ticket is the most plug-and-play option the Democrats have.
It’s pretty obvious that something is being considered. It would put them in a position that they crave: being the victims of circumstance.
Trump has been compared, erroneously so, as another Barry Goldwater waiting to happen. While that particular debacle of an election has not been possible before, these circumstances change things. Many historians are wrong when they claim that Goldwater lost so horribly because he was too radical which is why most comparisons between Goldwater and Trump are incorrect. Goldwater lost in a landslide because we’ve always been a sentimental nation. John F. Kennedy’s death less than a year before election day guaranteed a huge victory for Lyndon B. Johnson. If Hillary drops out and is replaced by Biden, we might not see the same level of a defeat that Goldwater experienced, but the odds will definitely shift in the Democrats’ favor.
Hillary has lost all momentum and Trump is picking up steam. While it’s futile to speculate what will happen in this topsy-turvy election cycle in the final two months, Trump should be considered the favorite at this point as long as he’s facing Hillary. If a switch is made, we could be seeing Trump TV on the horizon.