Is the Once Threatening Trump Relenting? He Made a Promise to Republicans

Billionaire Donald Trump signed a pledge to support the Republican candidate who wins the party nomination for the 2016 presidential election, regardless of who wins. This move by Trump, who is the current favorite for the presidency out of all 17 Republican candidates, rules out his run in the 2016 elections as an independent candidate.

“The best way for the Republicans to win is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever (Democrats) happen to put up, and for that reason I have signed the pledge,” said Trump after meeting Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Trump emphasized that, other than the RNC’s assurances of honesty, he received no benefits of any sort in exchange for signing his loyalty declaration to the Republican Party and conservative principles.

The Republican establishment has insisted, for some time now, that Trump sign an affirmation to prevent his running as an independent candidate in the 2016 presidential election if he does not win the Republican nomination. Originally, Trump refused to sign such an agreement, such as during the first GOP debate, broadcast by Fox News back in early August. If Trump were to run as an independent candidate, it would risk division among Republican voters, which could potentially hand victory to the Democrats.

Trump assured that he saw no reasons which would make him tear up his loyalty agreement. However, commentators point out that his signed pledge of support for the winning Republican candidate has no legal validity and that there is no guarantee that Trump, a real estate magnate and TV personality, will not change his mind. This is particularly of concern considering his past statements about making his own decision, independent of how he is “treated” by Republicans.

In the meantime, Trump’s growing popularity among voters is consternating party leaders, who previously have made no secret that they find his controversial views, regarding immigration (Trump called immigrants from Mexico criminals and rapists), women (Trump suggested that journalist Megyn Kelly was aggressive toward him during the Fox News GOP debate because she was menstruating), or other Republicans, rather embarrassing. Analysts claim that Trump’s statements harm the image of Republicans in general, who must be open toward women and Latin minorities if they want to take over the White House.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is currently the Republican establishment’s favorite, but it is Trump who, 14 months before the 2016 presidential election, leads in the polls. With around 30 percent support from Republican voters, he is leaving the other 16 candidates far behind. Taking into account the fact that no one initially gave him a chance, he is doing exceptionally well. According to a very recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, Trump is now beating Bush by 20 percentage points, among surveyed Republican supporters. Only 8 percent want to vote for the son and brother of former U.S. presidents.

Analysts point out that Bush’s popularity plummeted after his argument with Trump, in which he criticized Trump’s stance on immigration. He referred to Trump’s declarations, to deport all “undocumented” (Trump’s euphemism for illegal) Mexican immigrants from the U.S. and build a Mexican border wall, as costly and unrealistic.

Trump’s advantage, according to commentators, is his carefully designed image of an independent politician who is not afraid to say what he thinks and who does not hesitate to criticize those in power. The Ipsos poll found 77 percent of Republicans like Trump’s lack of effort to remain politically correct and his challenging of the media. Sixty-eight percent of those who took part in the poll believe Trump’s huge fortune and the fact that he does not need to rely on donors are his motivations to challenge the party establishment and to open the party to new ideas.

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