On September 3rd, Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump pledged not run for a third party if he does not get the Republican nomination. Trump has suggested running as an independent if he does not win the Republican nomination, which some believe will spoil the Republican’s chance at the White House. Trump was the only one of the ten Republicans at the Fox News debate in early August to not rule out a possible third party bid. Signing the pledge may, however, damage his appeal of being outside partisan politics.
The pledge asks candidates to “endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is,” and that the signer “will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate, nor . . . accept the nomination for president of any other party.”
The thought of Trump pursuing a third party bid revives a name in American politics: Ross Perot. In 1992, Ross Perot ran as an Independent candidate, but had a conservative platform that appealed to Republican voters. It is believed that Perot’s run for president split the Republican vote between him and President George H. W. Bush, thus giving the election and presidency to Democrat Bill Clinton. Although Perot didn’t win any states, he did get 18.9% of the national vote; however, Bush was already in hot water before the election started. Some may deny that Perot’s influence changed the election, but Trump’s third party bid may have been more significant.
It should also be stressed that the American election isn’t until November of 2016, over a year away. America’s nauseatingly long campaign could mean Trump losing momentum, losing the nomination, and being forgotten before the ballots are even printed; however, if Trump continues to alter the Republican image with his blunt language, the Republican Party may regret ever writing the pledge.