Several times on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has pointedly refused to say that he would not run as an independent candidate if he fails to win the Republican nomination. In an interview with The Hill, he makes that threat even more blatant:
Donald Trump says the chances that he will launch a third-party White House run will “absolutely” increase if the Republican National Committee is unfair to him during the 2016 primary season.
“The RNC has not been supportive. They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy,” the business mogul told The Hill in a 40-minute interview from his Manhattan office at Trump Tower on Wednesday. “The RNC has been, I think, very foolish.”
Pressed on whether he would run as a third-party candidate if he fails to clinch the GOP nomination, Trump said that “so many people want me to, if I don’t win.”
“I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans,” Trump said. “Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor.”
I’ve been saying for a while now that I think this is fairly likely to happen and it puts the Republican party in a real bind. They have continually distanced themselves from his inflammatory and often vile statements because they know they have to do so in order to protect themselves in the general election if they hope to win over reasonable swing voters. But the more they do that, the more they risk facing him in a three-way election next year and that would doom them completely. A poll a few days ago found that with Trump running as an independent, Hillary Clinton would crush their candidate with the numbers coming out 46-30-20 for the Democrat, the Republican and Trump, respectively.