Party switch

I’m a dirty furriner, so I only have indirect stakes in the current U.S. Presidential Election. However, I’ve been reading a lot of threads on the SDMB, and I actually find it rather interesting.

While reading recent threads on the Presidential Debate, many posters seem to think that Romney has kind of pivoted (rhetorically at least) to the center. Which might or might not help him get elected.

So I thought of an hypothetical scenario:

  1. Romney goes full lefty during the last weeks of the campaign
  2. He gets elected
  3. He governs in full lefty manner during the next 4 years
  4. At some time during his presidency he switches parties
  5. He tries to get re-elected as a Democrat

I know it’s quite impossible on our world. However, I’d like to know: Is this scenario even legal? Could the Republican Party do anything to prevent it at this point?

Yes, that’s legal. And the Republicans would use legal means to try to stop it, like supporting anti-Romney candidates in Congressional elections.

Party switching as you describe isn’t uncommon in the US legislature. A lot of southern Dems switched after the Civil Rights Act, and there have been a small number of switches on both sides since then.

Its never happened to an in-office President (though Teddy Roosevelt left the GOP and tried to run again on his own party ticket after he’d left office the first time.). But there isn’t any legal bar to it happening.

The US political parties aren’t a formal part of the US electoral system. The two existing ones have been so dominant over the last century-and-a-half that it’s a little hard to think of US elections without them, but there isn’t any law that requires them, or forces someone to be in one or stay in one if they don’t want to.

In these circumstances the Republican Party could attempt to impeach Romney, for the high crime and misdemeanor of a majority vote in the House. They could also pass a constitutional amendment limiting the presidency to a single term, or any other thing that would disqualify Romney. They could try to prevent Mormons and anyone else inclined to vote for the new and improved Romney from voting. Or they could sweep the big broom and require a Republican Party ID to be presented in order to vote. So it’s not like they wouldn’t try and do something about it.

The House can impeach for pretty much whatever reason it wants, but I think they would have a lot of trouble getting this done just because they were angry. They could have impeached Obama at any time since 2010 but have not done it - and the Senate would not vote to remove Romney from office.

Just pointing out the possibilities. All of them are unlikely to succeed (though the 22nd amendment has effectively stopped this situation from occurring in 2nd terms).