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“Donald’s Trump Card”: His Candidacy Is A Headache For The GOP, But A Third Party Run Would Be A Catastrophe

Donald Trump. For Democrats who care about this presidential election cycle, the infamous Republican candidate has been the gift that keeps on giving. And now, he’s threatening to give Democrats more than they could have possibly hoped for in the form of a third party run.

According to an interview with The Hill, Trump may consider a third party bid if he doesn’t feel the Republican Party has been fair to him during the primary process. When asked about the possibility of the independent run, Trump said, “I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans. Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor.”

Understandably, Trump’s run for the nomination has been a thorn in the side of the national GOP. He’s monopolizing the press coverage, leading the polls, and has been a menace on the campaign trail. His inflammatory comments – most recently disparaging Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., status as a war hero – are garnering the wrong kind of attention for his party. He’s also really starting to annoy the other candidates – just ask Sen. Lindsey Graham.

However, as tough as his candidacy has been for the Republican party thus far, a third party run would make things 10 times worse.

Third party candidates are usually a spoiler in presidential contests. They rarely have the resources to win, but if they run well, they can draw enough support to thwart one of the major party candidates. Trump has been fashioning himself as a mostly conservative candidate who has appeal among conservative voters. According to the New York Times, he has “become the new starring attraction for the restless, conservative-minded voters who think the political process is in need of disruption.”

Due to this appeal, it’s fair to say that, in a three way race, the candidate most likely to be thwarted by Trump’s run would be the Republican nominee. An independent Trump candidacy would mean the Republican nominee would be battling on two fronts. He would be fighting the Democratic nominee for the all-important swing voters, and he would also be fighting Trump for votes among his conservative base. In a close race, the support lost to Trump could be enough to cost Republicans the entire race and put a Democrat in the White House.

However, Trump’s ability to be such a spoiler depends entirely on whether he makes it out of his primary run with any political juice left. Some of the other 15 candidates vying for the Republican nomination are starting to realize they can break through Trump’s hold on the press by attacking him. Rick Perry, in particular, has been taking this approach. Earlier this week, the former Texas governor called Trump’s candidacy a “cancer on conservatism,” and said that the billionaire presidential candidate could lead to the demise of the Republican Party. How long before the other candidates start following suit?

Harsh and persistent criticism from his own party could damage Trump’s credibility as a candidate and start to limit his appeal. Trump may also yet prove to be his own worst enemy. He appears to have faced few consequences for his recent attacks on McCain, but he’s proven to be a candidate with a penchant for speaking without thinking. Eventually, that could prove to be his undoing. The less popular Trump is when the primaries end, the less impact he will be able to have as a third party candidate.

And yet, even with limited potential for effectiveness, a third party run for Donald Trump would not be a good scenario for the national GOP. Trump would continue to dominate press coverage and would undoubtedly still be able to compete at some level with the Republican nominee for support and resources. It’s also likely that if he runs because he feels the national party has treated him unfairly, he would direct most of his ire at the Republican candidate. All of that adds up to a huge headache that will divert party attention away from the quest to win the election. For Democrats, it all adds up to a huge advantage.


By: Cary Gibson, Government Relations Consultant with Prime Policy Group; Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, July 24, 2015

July 27, 2015 - Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Republicans | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Of course, Paul could run and make it a four person race.


    Comment by btg5885 | July 28, 2015 | Reply

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