What Happens If Hillary Drops Out?
Hillary Clinton’s health is under scrutiny after a video surfaced showing the Democratic presidential nominee stumbling into a car after abruptly leaving a 9/11 ceremony over the weekend.
Her campaign spokesman on Monday said she did not faint, as was widely reported by media outlets, but her campaign did reveal Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.
Some Democratic leaders are already publicly affirming running mate Tim Kaine’s ability to step up should Clinton withdraw her candidacy, and reports have surfaced claiming Democratic National Committee leaders are scheduling an emergency meeting “to consider a possible replacement” for Clinton should she drop out.
Rumors surrounding Clinton’s allegedly frail health have been swirling for years, and it’s safe to say few people outside of Clinton and her inner circle know how healthy she truly is.
But what would happen if she withdrew from the presidential contest? Here are five things to consider:
1) Tim Kaine? Not So Fast
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland tweeted that Tim Kaine is “wonderfully prepared” to step into Clinton’s shoes “if that ever became necessary.” But nothing in the Democratic Party’s rules say a running mate is simply bumped up in such a scenario.
2) DNC Officials Would Select a Replacement
According to the Democratic Party bylaws, the national committee would select Clinton’s replacement by ballot.
3) Biden, Sanders Likeliest to Emerge
Reports from Politico and the Telegraph suggest that Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would be the two names Party officials would most likely consider should Clinton drop out. Sanders was runner-up to Clinton in the primary, but Biden’s long tenure as a U.S. senator and vice president would likely give him an edge.
4) Things Could Get Messy
Nearly 40 states have some kind of early voting. Some states—such as North Carolina—have already shipped ballots. Military ballots will be shipped in less than two weeks. Should Clinton bow out after voting has started on a large scale, we could be looking at an election nightmare.
“It would be an unprecedented, complicated mess,” one election lawyer told the New York Post.
5) What if Nobody Gets to 270?
2016 is shaping up as potentially one of the stranger elections in U.S. history. The nominees of the major parties are historically unpopular. There is a chance that alternative candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pick up steam and steal electoral votes from Clinton or Donald Trump. This possibility (however unlikely), combined with the uncertainty of the Democratic ticket, increases the chances of an unlikely scenario: nobody receives a majority in the Electoral College. It hasn’t happened in nearly 200 years, but should it occur the House of Representatives would select the next president. The House is currently controlled by Republicans.
Jon Miltimore is senior editor of Intellectual Takeout. Follow him on Facebook.
[IMAGE CREDIT: Gage Skidmore-Flickr | CC BY SA 2.0]