Donald Trump — the Republican frontrunner for the presidential nomination — is once again threatening to run on a third-party ticket if the Republican Party’s leadership doesn’t treat him fairly. On Facebook, Trump writes:
A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent.
He then linked to a USA Today piece on the poll results.
Earlier Trump also implied he’d consider an independent run if he failed to win the Republican nomination, and especially if he feels the GOP’s elite doesn’t play nice with him.
In effect Trump is trying to take the entire Republican Party hostage. He’s free to criticize everyone, but when someone fires back, he suddenly plays the victim and threatens to run as an independent, which would almost surely hand the presidential election to Hillary Clinton. Every single time he’s done so, Republican leaders have taken a step back and handled him with kid gloves. This is almost certainly one of the reasons that he continues to lead in national polls, because it convinces his supporters that he’s the kind of strong leader they’re looking for.
And that should be reason enough for the GOP’s leadership to stop caving in. If the billionaire can’t stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen. Every single candidate should be vetted, and that goes for Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and — yes — Donald Trump himself. After all, this is the same guy who habitually insults everyone who dares disagree with him, from his Republican rivals to journalists, and from conservative politicians to voters.