U.S. Republican (GOP) presidential candidate Donald Trump is threatening to run as a third-party presidential campaign if the party does not treat him like other party candidates.
“I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans. Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor.” said the Republican businessman who is currently leading most national polls as the preferred Republican presidential candidate despite being criticised by party leaders who do not see him as a serious contender but as someone that could harm the GOP brand.
Political experts said some party leaders fear Trump running a third-party campaign would pull votes from the Republican nominee in the presidential race.
Former Republican Rep for Virginia, Tom Davis said "“You’ve got to keep him in the tent. He just wreaks havoc, and every vote he takes comes out of our hide.”
A poll this week which tested a hypothetical three-way race between Trump, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, and Democrat Hillary Clinton, showed Clinton (46%) ahead of Bush (30%) and Trump (20%).
Trump earlier this week singled out the Republican National Committee for treating him unfairly.
“The RNC has not been supportive,” he said. “They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy. The RNC has been, I think, very foolish.” he said.
The RNC attacked Trump last weekend after he rubbished the war record of Sen. John McCain saying he was “not a war hero” before flip flopping, repeatedly claiming the opposite. McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years when his plane was shot down.
The last time a third-party candidate ran with some success was in 1992 and 1996, when Texas billionaire Ross Perot contested the presidency. His first candidacy has been blamed for pulling votes from President George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaign, giving victory to Bill Clinton.
Dan Senor, an adviser for GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 said “Perot’s intensely nationalist and protectionist politics resonated with a lot of center-right voters that otherwise would have voted Republican. And the environment today is even more intensely populist. If Trump were to run as an independent, who knows what impact he could have in what will otherwise be a close election?”