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ABC: After Trump's terrible 24 hours, Reince displeased. RNC exploring 'Rule 9'
Whether you love him or hate him, you can't deny that Trump has had a terrible 24 hours. There's just no way to argue otherwise. Throughout his campaign, unforced errors and foot-in-mouth syndrome have been his twin demons, and they've been on full display over the last couple of days. Unnecessary entanglements and poor (or nonexistent) damage control have injured him in the polls, sent his donors scrambling, and have the Republican Party weighing its options.
As ABC News reports, Reince Priebus has been on the horn, and he's not pleased.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Donald Trump Tuesday to express frustration with the presidential candidate’s campaign and how he has handled his prolonged feud with the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier, according to several party sources familiar with the conversation.
It’s a sign of the growing angst within the GOP over a candidate who has veered away from his core talking points since the conclusion of last month’s Republican National Convention.
If you do a little digging, it actually sounds like Priebus is angrier over Trump's refusal to endorse Paul Ryan, and is once again worried about "party unity." Regardless of his reasons, it's clear that the RNC is very, very, nervous about Trump and they're sending clear signals to make sure it's known. You could spend all day complaining about Priebus, moaning about RINO's, and yelling about what a failure the GOP has been - and you'd be right - but eventually you'll be forced to admit a simple truth: The candidate/party relationship is symbiotic. One will wither and die without the other.
If Trump completely alienates the party, the election's lost. You don't have to like that, but that's the way it is.
....And the party is far from supportive at the moment.
ABC News has learned that senior party officials are so frustrated -- and confused by Donald Trump's erratic behavior -- that they are exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he were to drop out.
So, how would it work?
First, Trump would have to voluntarily exit the race. Officials say there is no mechanism for forcing him to withdraw his nomination. (Trump has not given any indications that he no longer wants to be his party's nominee).
Then, it would be up to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee to choose a successor, though the process is complicated.
What they're talking about is "Rule 9." Essentially, it outlines the process by which the party can replace a candidate who is incapacitated, dies, or quits. As ABC News points out, there's no way for the party to force Trump out of the race.
It's also a well-known stipulation. By that I mean it's not something GOP leaders need to "explore." If they're discussing it, and they're letting NBC know about those discussions, they're doing so in an effort to send a message.
Is Trump doomed? No. Of course not. Despite the last few days, he's still polling close to Hillary. He's now behind in most surveys, but the numbers are nowhere near insurmountable. The L.A. Times tracking poll still has him in the lead, when many would argue the vehemently anti-Trump paper's polling should show him in a deep, deep, hole.
We also have to consider the fact that Julian Assange has vowed to release more damning info on Hillary Clinton. No one knows if it will be bad enough to derail her chances, but that possibility exists. Still; if you're pinning all of your hopes on an outside agitator's ability to destroy your opponent, you're not in a good place.
There are still almost 100 days until election 2016. In politics, that's almost an unimaginably long time. However, no one's doing themselves any favors by looking at things through rose-tinted glasses. Were the election held today, Hillary Clinton would be appointing at least two Supreme Court justices.
If Trump has the ability to do so, he desperately needs to turn things around, and he needs to do it quickly.