Donald Trump May Keep Running Until November 2016 If the GOP Isn’t Nice to Him

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Republican Presidential Candidates Address 2015 Family Leadership Summit
Photo: Scott Olson/2015 Getty Images

The Republican National Committee has quietly been trying to figure out how to divorce from Donald Trump in a delicate way that does not lead the party away from the White House. The New York Times wrote earlier this month that the RNC was considering “a hands-off approach, fearing attempts to rein him in would only turn him into a political martyr and, worse, tempt him toward that third-party run.”

A third-party run would turn Trump’s primary pregaming into a confusing, emotional, and endless spectacle that ultimately disappoints the Republican leaders deeply invested in it in a way not seen since the six seasons of Lost ended in 2010 — and could send the many conservative voters who have briefly catapulted Trump to the top of the primary polls away from a Jeb Bush or a Scott Walker come November 2016. Donald Trump may not be able to win much more support than he has now, thanks to his record-low favorability numbers, but seeing 5 or 10 percent of reliable voters evaporate from its general-election support is not something that the Republican Party wants to worry about happening.

The real-estate mogul is very aware of the power he has to make the Republican Party miserable. He told the Hill on Wednesday that he is perfectly happy to try and pull the kill-switch on the GOP’s presidential chances if they keep being mean and denouncing him all the time. When asked if he would run as an independent presidential candidate, Trump said, “I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans. Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor.”

The RNC has not been supportive,” he added. “They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy. The RNC has been, I think, very foolish.”

While he continues to scheme about how long his guest-star appearance in the 2016 presidential election should be, he is also getting ready for the big primary debate on August 6. He was eager to lower expectations: “As far as the debate is concerned, these politicians debate every night. That’s all they do is talk. I don’t do that. I do other things. I’m a job creator.”