There are a lot of reasons for Republican strategists to worry about a potential 2012 presidential bid by Donald Trump, but in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he threw another concern into the mix. Trump warned that if he doesn’t win the Republican nomination, he would probably go Ross Perot and run as an Independent. Trump amped up the blackmail by specifically invoking Perot.
Here is the video from The Wall Street Journal:
When asked if he would run as a third party candidate, Donald Trump answered, “I’m thinking about that, and that’s bothered me because I’m very conservative.” He compared his third party situation to Mike Bloomberg, and said, “To be honest with you, I think it would be very, very bad for the Republican Party and other people, because they did some polls recently where I got 29% as an Independent, that’s a lot. That’s far more than Ross Perot ever got. So I get all of these votes as an Independent, and I could also possibly win as an Independent, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. If I can’t win, I’m not doing it for any other reason. Because I like winning, I’m only in it for one thing. Frankly if I ran as an Independent and didn’t win, I would hurt the Republicans and that disturbs me.”
Trump later got even more specific with his threat of an Independent candidacy that would split the GOP, “The concern is if I don’t win will I run as an Independent and the answer is probably yes. And that bothers me only from the standpoint of if I don’t win we’re not going to get a Republican and Obama’s get reelected.”
After acknowledging his willingness to split the Republican Party, Donald Trump said that he thinks he can win as an Independent, “It depends. I could also win as an Independent. I’m sort of convinced that you could actually win nowadays as an Independent. Independence is almost the largest party if you look at it, and I think you can probably win as an Independent. The problem is that if I don’t win. The Republican Party would be hurt, and I hate the concept of that.”
Trump is completely wrong about being more popular than Ross Perot. In a June 1992, CNN/Time poll, Ross Perot lead both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, 37%-24%-24%. Earlier in a May 1992 Boston Globe poll, Perot trailed Bush by 3 points, 33%-30%. In contrast, there are no polls out there showing that Trump could beat Obama. Polling thus far has revealed that Obama would crush Trump. In fact, the Obama campaign is openly rooting for Donald Trump because he would be easy pickings in the fall.
Donald Trump might also be surprised to learn that there is no Independent Party in the United States. The term independent refers to not being affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. If he doesn’t understand this critical distinction then he doesn’t belong in politics.
It looks like Donald Trump is trying to blackmail the Republican Party into giving him the nomination. Essentially Trump is saying, “Nominate me or you can kiss your chances at 2012 goodbye, because I will run as an Independent.” The truth is that Trump probably wouldn’t be able to fund his own candidacy because his billions are more a myth than actual cash, but with his name recognition and the platform that Fox News has given him for months, he could still wreck the Republican Party’s hopes of challenging Obama.
Trump is treating the 2012 Republican nomination as an asset to be acquired. He doesn’t seem to realize that he can’t make a deal for the nomination. He has to run for it. I can’t see Trump making the rounds in Iowa and New Hampshire. I can’t picture The Donald shaking hands and kissing babies. Trump is an opportunist who sees an opening in the GOP, but he knows nothing about the mechanics of politics.
I can’t see Donald Trump playing the part of retail politician, but I can see him running as an Independent in the fall, and that is the problem for the Republican Party. Donald Trump wants the nomination without working to win it, and the easiest means to his desired end is an Independent bid.
Donald Trump is threatening to become Ross Perot 2.0.
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