For Republicans who cannot abide the idea of voting for Donald Trump for president, there are plenty of options currently available: Libertarian Gary Johnson, a possible third-party or write-in candidate like (to cite the latest name circulating) Evan McMullin, not voting at all, or the ultimate step of pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton.
But there remains a more hard-core “Dump Trump” movement of GOPers determined to deny any Trump option by somehow undoing his nomination.
The “Free the Delegates” organization that signally failed to unbind Republican convention delegates is apparently still around. According to the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe, they are now trying to torture the Republican Party rules into an opportunity to oust Trump from the nomination. You may recall from discussions of what would happen if Trump abruptly abandoned his candidacy that a rule No. 9 sets up procedures in case a vacancy on the ticket was caused by “death, declination or otherwise.” The Trump-haters are arguing that “otherwise” implies an option for the RNC to defenestrate the nominee. And thus they are asking RNC members to petition Reince Priebus to convene them for an “emergency meeting” to do just that.
The problem, of course, is that few, if any, RNC members are interested in forcibly changing the ticket at this late date. So who cares if they theoretically do or do not have the power to change horses in the middle of the stream?
What’s almost certainly going on here is a reflection of the deep fears some Republicans share about the mental and emotional stability of their nominee. Normally there’s just about nothing a presidential nominee could even conceivably do in August to convince the party that has just nominated her or him to repudiate its own convention and its own primary voters. But, as we all understand, Donald Trump is not normal. And so in the back of many minds is the possibility that he could at any moment call a press conference and start babbling about “politically correct” space aliens working through Hillary Clinton to turn over America to Latino feminist “losers” who want to impose Sharia law on police officers. Some observers already consider his campaign a garbage fire — and garbage fires can sometimes get out of control.
The nonzero odds of that happening is enough to justify the maintenance of an emergency procedure for getting rid of Trump and substituting another candidate. The really scary thing is that, if Trump somehow wins, the same contingency plans for his own party hauling him off the stage still raving and gesticulating madly could be handy as a fall-back plan until the day he returns to private life.