In his speech at CPAC yesterday, Donald Trump said that he is not starting a third party. He stated:
You know they kept saying, ‘he’s going to start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican Party: it’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news.
Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s divide our vote so that we can never win.
I don’t think anyone expected that Trump would start a new party. . .now. Trump is the dominant figure in an existing party — one that nearly won the presidency last year and that is not many votes shy of controlling both chambers of Congress. As Trump said, it makes no sense to leave that party.
But what if Trump runs for president in 2024 and the GOP nominates someone else? In that case, I consider it quite possible that an embittered Trump would run as a third party candidate, claiming, I suppose, that he really won the nomination only to have it stolen from him. Such a move would be entirely in keeping with his character and his recent behavior.
Remember, Trump promised only “I am not starting a new party” (present tense). He didn’t say he will not start one in the future.
As I said, I don’t think anyone seriously thought Trump would launch a new party now. Thus, his statement that he isn’t starting one doesn’t come as news to anyone who has been paying attention.