Would he or wouldn’t he? In the end, Donald Trump signed the Republican National Committee’s pledge, but he did it his own way, in that inimitable, inch-high Sharpie scrawl, at once as angular and overstuffed as the man himself.
The document is Trump’s agreement (along with other Republican candidates) not to mount a campaign as an independent or with a third party in the event that he loses the GOP nomination.
Not that he’s too worried about that. “We’re leading in every single poll,” he noted, correctly, at a press conference Thursday. “A new poll came out today where we’re over 30 percent.” Moreover, he felt that the Republican Party had treated him fairly—at least since he shot to the top of the polls—so he decided to go along with the pledge.
“Frankly, I felt that the absolute best way to win and to beat the Democrats ... is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever they happen to put up,” Trump said. “For that reason I have signed the pledge.”
The RNC’s pledge is the culmination of weeks of handwringing about what the Republican Party could do about its Trump dilemma. The clear vein of discontent into which he’s tapped showed the yuuuuge risk for the GOP: If Trump lost the nomination but decided to run as an independent, or representing a third party, he would likely attract a great number of voters who would otherwise line up in the R column, while winning over far fewer Ds. The winner in such a three-way race would almost certainly be the Democratic nominee. As Trump's campaign started to look durable, Republicans worried while liberals rubbed their hands in glee.