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Politics

Republicans Call For Donald Trump To Drop Out; Trump Says He Won't Quit

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points out to the crowd of supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally on Oct. 4, 2016 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
Ralph Freso Getty Images
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points out to the crowd of supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally on Oct. 4, 2016 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Republicans Call For Donald Trump To Drop Out; Trump Says He Won't Quit
Republicans Call For Donald Trump To Drop Out; Trump Says He Won't Quit GUEST: Stephen Goggin, lecturer, San Diego State University

This weekend and politics has introduced us to a lot we have never seen before. Including on endorsements. The tape showing Donald Trump making vulgar comments about women prompted a number of lawmakers to withdraw their endorsements, so far 38 GOP legislators have either unendorsed Trump or called for him to step down from the ticket. Joining us is Stephen Goggin. He studies the way voters make decisions on candidates. Let's start with the basics of endorsements. How much can an endorsement from a senator or representative matter, in a presidential campaign? Endorsements matter quite a bit, particularly early in the campaign. They hope great news for the nominee to get their name out and show they have a broad-based support. These endorsements made news for the candidates. Has there ever been a situation like this, a slew of lawmakers taking back their endorsements? Not really. There are some cases where the party makes strategic decisions. It's not so much an endorsement, it's actual support. It's not an either or, in terms of an endorsement. There are lots of gradations of how much they are willing to support the candidate. There hasn't been an endorsement take away, that we can think of clearly. Endorsements are often given in a slow new cycle, on endorsements occur because of some a catastrophic event. It's hard to know how much of the effect we see or that we will see, in response to this. We have no real data on what the effect of an an endorsement could be, especially in such a vibrant and volatile new cycle that we are in. Could it be, with your knowledge of the way these things actually affect voters, could this be confusing to voters? Yes. It's definitely confusing to see a party at odds with itself, scrambling to figure out what they can best do going forward. Some decisions we are seeing with the conference call that Paul Ryan have this morning, they are breaking apart and figuring out what is best for them. In some sense that is confusing to voters. It's something when we see -- Dozen on endorsements a more? To some degree. A lot of people we are seeing pulling endorsements are people who are strategically in need to do so. There's something, not everyone is pulling endorsement, the bulk of the GOP base will still support Trump . You don't alienate your base. It's a tight rope to be walked. To your point, Paul Ryan condemned trumps words, he condemned his words at an event in Wisconsin. He was booed by half the audience. To your point, what kind of risk goes with condemning an endorsement? This rally is a rate example of backlash. It's hard to know how much, given the unprecedented circumstances. That's a vocal, clear example that makes a great new story. It's unclear how many people will change the behavior at the ballot box. When it comes to words, support a hearing with the candidate or a -- money. Some politicians are calling on the committee to pull resources and put that money into Senate and congressional races. Is that been done before? In 1996, Bob Dole's campaign the Republican national -- RNC shifted towards house and Senate races. The polls showed it was likely unwinnable for Bob Dole against Clinton, they shifted resources. There hasn't been a wholesale shift from the candidate. It's always been strategic. Is it too close to the election for these on endorsements to matter? Many people have voted already in many are getting locked in. It's never particularly too late, the impact might grow greater, closer to election day. It could be too late. People have already locked in their opinions and aren't willing to budge. It's hard to know. I've been speaking with Stephen Goggin, a lecturer at San Diego state. North County Congressman Darryl Issa is in a tough race. Some say it's due to the Trump factor . You are listening to KPBS Midday Edition

Reaction to the video of Donald Trump using explicit language and apparently describing himself forcing himself on women continues to roll in. And it is not good for the GOP nominee. Prominent Republicans are calling on him to drop out and elected officials are running from him and fast. See the full list of Republicans calling on Trump to step down at the bottom on this post.

The candidate isn't backing down, telling the Washington Post's Robert Costa in an interview today, "I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life."

The Post reports, Trump called from his home in Trump Tower and said, "No, I'm not quitting this race. I have tremendous support."

Trump also tweeted, seemingly downplaying the firestorm that has consumed his campaign.

Just to give a sense of how bad things have gotten in the past 24 hours, he's lost Hugh Hewitt.

The conservative talk show host had been a strong supporter of Trump arguing Republicans must back him to get a conservative justice on the Supreme Court.

Carly Fiorina, who lost to Trump in the GOP primary, called for him to step aside and for the Republican Party to run vice president nominee Mike Pence in his place.

Add senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), neither of whom endorsed Trump, to the growing list of prominent and elected republicans to get out.

But, this would be significantly easier said than done according to a leading Republican election lawyer.

"People in the GOP are understandably nervous. People are looking for an escape," Ben Ginsberg told NPR. "The rules don't provide a ready-made escape. Nor do ballot rules, nor the electoral college. While people are looking for an out, this die was cast in Cleveland."

Ginsberg, who is a partner at the Jones Day law firm, spoke with the NPR Politics Podcast.

"The RNC rules allow for replacement of a candidate on death or declining the nomination, but no provision for replacing," said Ginsberg. "At this stage, Donald Trump would have to resign. There's no way to stage a coup."

If Trump were to resign, Ginsberg says, the GOP would have to go through a complicated process to nominate a new candidate.

"Under the rules, if there is a vacancy, it doesn't go to the VP candidate. It's a matter of rules. It can be anyone. Part of what the RNC would have to do is figure out the nomination rules to see who would be eligible. It's an all-bets-are-off scenario. There might be a political consensus for Mike Pence, but it is not mandated by the rules," he said.

But it is four weeks from election day. And the idea of a drawn out fight over the top ticket is almost politically unfathomable.

Elected republicans aren't waiting. They are now running away from their party's nominee. Senator Kelly Ayotte who is in a tough race for re-election and never endorsed Trump, now says she won't vote for him either.

Congresswoman Martha Roby in deep red Alabama says she can't support him either.

The reason is simple, as seasoned political analyst Stuart Rothenberg put it on Twitter, "This certainly raises the possibility of a down-ballot bloodbath for Republicans."

Trump was initially supposed to attend a rally today in Wisconsin with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Then after the video release, it was announced that Pence would attend in Trump's place. Now the Trump campaign confirms Pence won't be attending the rally either.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of the GOP's leadership, tweeted that Trump should drop out immediately.

For elected Republicans, it is rapidly becoming clear that merely rejecting Trump's remarks isn't enough. Every one of them can expect to be asked whether they are withdrawing their endorsements and whether they will even vote for their party's nominee.

Republicans Calling For Trump To Step Aside

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