Biden Versus Trump Is All But Certain

Those who are pondering an alternate presidential candidate matchup this fall will likely be disappointed — or perhaps relieved — that the choices will almost certainly be Trump vs. Biden. This is according to several pundits who understand the deadlines and procedures involved in the nomination process.

Doug Heye, a staffer for Steve Forbes’ failed 1996 campaign, noted that deadlines are an issue for any challengers to either presumptive nominee. The ballot deadline for most states has passed.

By March 19, both candidates will likely have the delegates needed for the nomination, ruling out challengers. After that date, it will also be too late for either candidate to drop out of the race. This is because many states prohibit delegates from voting for a different candidate at the convention than in the primary.

Federal Election Commission member Trey Trainor remarked in a Washington Examiner piece about Biden potentially dropping out: “I think he has to make that decision by the 19th himself.”

Election attorney and former FEC chair Lee Goodman stated in the same piece: “As a practical matter and a legal matter, the nomination processes of both parties are too far along for new candidates to enter the contest and win a sufficient number of ballots.”

Third-party candidates won’t fare much better at this point either.

Leading independent third-party group “No Labels” is only on the ballot in 13 states totaling 113 electoral votes. This has been rumored as a possible vehicle for alternative candidates such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and renegade Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

So-called “superdelegates” — party elites at the convention who are appointed not elected —must support the candidate who won the popular vote of their state on the first ballot. This shuts down this potential “back door” nomination maneuver.

The last hint of a contested convention was the 1980 Democratic Convention. Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy — in his challenge to incumbent Jimmy Carter — unsuccessfully attempted to allow delegates to vote for a candidate different from their choice in the primary.

Conservatives who observe President Biden’s rapidly declining mental capacity may revel in his election-year downfall. They may also be relieved when March 19 comes if Biden is still the nominee, as there have been rumblings about a switch to another “emergency” candidate, notably ultra-liberal California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). He is a much younger and more electable flavor of Biden’s leftist ideology.