An independent presidential run by Donald Trump would sink Republican chances of winning the White House, but Trump would be the biggest loser. And if there is one thing Trump can’t afford or stomach, it’s losing.
During the wealthy businessman’s latest dustup with the GOP establishment over his proposed travel ban on all Muslims, Trump used a new USA Today/Suffolk University survey as a thinly-veiled threat.
“A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent,” Trump posted on Facebook, which also went out on Twitter. . . .
At a minimum, Trump would virtually destroy the GOP presidential nominee’s chance of getting 270 electoral votes. Republicans don’t have enough margin to give up 6 percent of GOP voters who would normally vote for the Republican nominee, and win any of the swing states including Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia. And 6 percent from the GOP nominee would put North Carolina, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and Georgia at greater risk as well.
There is a logistical challenge of running as an independent. One expert told CNN it would take about 570,000 signatures to gain ballot access in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. But Trump can afford to spend the money necessary to pay people to gather those signatures, if he wanted to go that route, and it’s certainly possible that Trump will run as an Independent to spite the Republican Party after feeling mistreated during the primary process.
But Trump could have even more to lose than the Republican Party. Trump would be risking political bankruptcy and damage to the “winning” Trump brand.
A third-party candidacy would lead to a loss, and losing is the antithesis of who Trump says he is and often comes with a dose of humility; a character trait Trump is neither familiar with nor interested in cultivating.
After the election, would Trump call in to the networks and cable shows every day to answer questions about how and why he lost?
Also, “sore loser” laws would keep him off the ballot in many states, and if the threw the election to Hillary he’d be hated, and blamed. None of which, of course, guarantees that he won’t do it. And people worrying about Trump going third-party may be underrating the possibility that he’ll get the nomination. . . .