Bill Collier- What will happen if Hillary Clinton cannot continue the race? This post is more about raising questions than getting answers. Because we don’t have answers. At least not expert answers.
What happens if Hillary Clinton leaves the race?
You might say the Democrats will just nominate Tim Kaine or someone else. But is it really that simple? The rank and file will want Sanders. But how do you get that person on the ballot? How do you change the ballots? They are all likely printed by now and early voting had begun in some states.
As I read the Constitution we must have an election. Period. The fact a major party lost its candidate and may not be able to be on the ballot with a replacement on time doesn’t legally change anything. We can argue it is not fair, as people will if it comes to that, but there may be no “fair” way forward here that is also legal. Of course that won’t stop the Democrats from trying to set a new precedent and, if necessary, either forcing their new candidate on the ballots, a herculean task, or pushing the idea of a delayed election.
Our Constitution doesn’t cover the problems of candidates who leave the race, of parties without candidates, and ballot access. It gives no room to use any of these reasons to justify delaying the vote. Again, not that the aggrieved party won’t try and find some justification they can get a court to go along with to force an illegal delay. But this would delegitimize the election process itself and burst the myth that we have a democratic system. (In truth we have a Republic, but we couldn’t keep it.)
There are three candidates with broad national ballot access from three other parties. The Green Party’s Stein, the Constitution Party’s Castle, and the Republican Party’s Trump. The Constitution does not have any language supporting delaying the vote because any particular candidate withdraws or because any Party has issues getting a candidate to replace their withdrawn candidate.
It seems that if Hillary drops out the whole ticket is dropped, because we vote for our candidates as a team. We don’t vote separately for each of the two offices. If somehow everyone acceded to the idea of Kaine replacing Hillary, he needs a VP. But the truth is, he would likely lose badly and the Democrats know this.
Other stranger and implausible scenarios have the current President suspending the election and staying on “until the next election.” He may say we have to start over totally. And with pliant courts and Congress, who knows. Certainly most of the elites would love a do-over and many of the base, including Cruz supporters and Sanders supporters, would agree. So a lot of disparate interests would love that outcome. This despite thay fact it would be totally unlawful and even though it would set a terrible and dangerous precedent.
In the end, all government depends on perceived legitimacy by the people who can make it prosper or fail, the producing classes. Whatever form of government, even monarchy, if the people who effectively control production and produce taxable wealth don’t believe in the myth of legitimacy then that government is doomed. This is not theory, it is fact. I am not saying government SHOULD be based on legitimacy according to the judgment of the producing classes, I am saying that IS based on that legitimacy in FACT.
Hillary leaving the race will cause this government to lose legitimacy in the eyes of some of the producing classes, including workers who produce wealth and people who control the means of production. The only question is, which groups among the producing class will be alienated and how wide and deep that sense of illegitimacy spreads.(The non-productive class’s matter also, but aside from rioting, which is usually funded by the producing classes, they have no real power in this scenario.)
Anyone who is concerned for the country should pray that Hillary Clinton’s health recovers. Because if she is too sick to continue, our entire democracy is going to become ill.