Ever since the Donald entered the race, wherein he shot to the top of the polls, the Republican Party has been walking on eggshells, hoping not to anger the billionaire business magnate who was teasing at a possible third party run. That would have destroyed the GOP in next year’s elections, and ushered Hillary into the White House. Well, it seems we can all breathe easy* since Trump said he’s “totally committed to the Republican Party” last night.
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked him “are you ready to reassure Republicans tonight that you will run as a Republican, and abide by the decision of the Republicans?”
“I really am, I’ll be honest; I really am” said Trump, which drew applause from the crowd, including Hewitt.
“I’ve gained great respect from the Republican leadership,” he added. “I have great respect for the people who I’ve met through this process. I’ve never done this process before. I’ve never been a politician. I mean, for the last six months I’ve been a politician, but I will tell you I’m totally committed to the Republican Party. “
He closed by saying he was honored to be the frontrunner, and that he would do everything in his power to beat Hillary Clinton.
At the same time, we’ve seen this move before from Mr. Trump. In July, he told The Blaze’s Dana Loesch that his “total focus is to run as a Republican and to win,” despite people who were saying he should consider an independent run. Yet, less than 36 hours later, he said he might do exactly that if the RNC didn’t treat him fairly. Fast forward to August, where reports were trickling in that he was taking into consideration a pledge not to run as a third party candidate, which were confirmed in early September when he signed the RNC pledge not to run as an independent, or accept the nomination of another party, while promising to endorse the eventual nominee. And then around Thanksgiving, Trump decided to throw the third party rumor into the mix again.
We’ll see what happens. Nate Cohn wrote that Trump could win the nomination, but it’s highly unlikely that he does, so I’ll take this commitment to the GOP for what it is for now. In short, the GOP establishment's chances of beating Trump get better as soon as the field begins to narrow:
The notion that Mr. Trump should be considered a strong front-runner based on current polls is understandable, but inconsistent with recent history. In nearly every election cycle, there are candidates who lead national polls and sometimes even win states, but don’t come close to winning the nomination.
The polls at this volatile stage can be particularly misleading. Just consider where we were four years ago, when the race was transitioning from the Cain surge to the Newt Gingrich surge. Or four years before that, when neither John McCain nor Barack Obama led nationally or in any early state.
Mr. Trump shares a lot in common with strong factional candidates who have ultimately fallen short in recent cycles: He does not have broad appeal throughout the party; he is unacceptable to the party’s establishment; and there are reasons to believe that his high numbers may be driven by unsustainable factors — like voters who are less likely to turn out or who are responding to pollsters with “Trump” because they haven’t heard any other name for four months.
In 1996, Mr. Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary, defeating a strong front-runner, Bob Dole.
But Mr. Buchanan did not win another primary. The field thinned, as other establishment-friendly candidates like Lamar Alexander faded or left the race. Mr. Buchanan’s appeal was too narrow.
Polls pitting Mr. Trump against Mr. Cruz or Marco Rubio in a one-on-one matchup have shown a far tighter race than is reflected in the 14-way national surveys. A recent YouGov poll, for instance, showed Mr. Trump at 34 percent in the 14-way race — a better result for him than in most polls — but in essentially a dead heat (51 to 49 percent, either way) in a one-on-one matchup against Mr. Cruz or Mr. Rubio.
It would be tough for Mr. Trump to prevail in a one-on-one contest against a typical mainstream Republican, much in the same way that Mr. Buchanan quickly faltered against Mr. Dole.
Yet, Cohn added that there is no “Dole” running this year, and that for every day the establishment is unable to coalesce behind one candidate; the odds of a brokered convention increase. Oh, and he added that Cruz could also clinch the nomination if the opposition remains fractured as it is today. The odds aren’t good, but it’s within the realm of possibility. Faith through chaos I guess.