I think rather than wondering if Donald Trump would run for president as a third-party candidate, we should wonder why he wouldn’t. In fact, I can think of no reason, given what we have seen so far, to believe that a third-party campaign doesn’t fit his strategy perfectly.
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.”
In an interview with The Hill, Trump said that “the GOP establishment in Washington dislikes him because he’s not part of the political class.”
“I’m not in the gang. I’m not in the group where the group does whatever it’s supposed to do,” he said. “I want to do what’s right for the country — not what’s good for special interest groups that contribute, not what’s good for the lobbyists and the donors.”
Well, the last part of that quote is nonesense, but the rest is key. His whole game has been about elevating his profile. Eventually he is going to get cast aside by the GOP nominating process. When that happens, he will do whatever it takes to remain in the headlines, which would most logically be a third-party run.
The only reason he might not do that is if he is able to remain relevant in the Republican race long enough to satisfy his ego. But if he gets the sense that the party is not giving him his due, or if, for example, they find a way to exclude him from debates, or if the RNC publicly distances itself from him, I can see no reason why he woudn’t find a different way to hold centre stage.
The other telling comment is his statement that he is not part of the gang. In other words, he doesn’t want anything from the traditional powerbrokers in the party and would be foolish expect anything (Commerce Secretary Trump anyone?).
Needless to say, a third-party campaign by Trump would ensure a Democratic victory so maybe RNC Chair Reince Priebus should consider making calls to Trump’s competitors begging them to play nice.
You got to hand it to this guy, he knows how to play the angles. It’s brilliant, really.