According to Politico’s “weekly bipartisan survey of the top strategists, activists and operatives in the four early-nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada,” Republicans will lose the 2016 presidential election if Trump runs an independent candidacy. As Steven Shepard reports,
Roughly 4 in 5 GOP insiders, 79 percent, said it would be either “impossible” or “very difficult” for the Republican nominee to win the general election if Trump launches a third-party bid, based on electoral math and a general inability for the party’s nominee to focus on the Democratic competitor…”Impossible is a strong but appropriate word,” said a New Hampshire Republican.
Shepard quotes an unnamed Iowa Republican, who put it succinctly: “The current electoral path to the White House for the eventual Republican is so narrow that any third- or no-party candidate with the ability to peel away conservative and anti-Washington independent voters spells certain defeat for any Republican nominee.”
Shepard notes that 84 percent of Democratic insiders also agree that an independent Trump run would likely doom the GOP’s 2016 White House bid. The ‘insiders’ did not speculate on Trump’s chances, should he get the GOP nomination, a prospect many Democrats would no doubt welcome.
Shepard notes, however, that other “insiders” believe that an independent run by Trump would also fail. Trump may indeed be bluffing with his independent candidacy saber-rattling, in order to tone down criticism from his GOP competition. If so, it appears to be working to some extent.
In any case, it would be folly for Dems to count on either development — Trump winning the GOP nomination or his going rogue. Rather Dems should be prepared for both possibilities, plus a scenario in which a different Republican wins their party’s nomination and gets Trump’s endorsement.