Donald Trump probably can't win as a third-party candidate

Donald Trump risks being a "sore loser" if he ditches the Republican Party
(Image credit: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll, combined with Donald Trump's increasingly out-of-the-mainstream proposals, have increased Republican concerns about their presidential frontrunner and fueled speculation about Trump ditching the party and running as an independent. Fanning that speculation is one Donald J. Trump:

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Trump also raised the possibility of running a third-party campaign to The Wall Street Journal in late November, complaining that he's not being "treated fairly" by the GOP establishment. A third-party run by Trump would probably result in a Democratic victory next November, but Doug Mataconis offers some reassurance to Republicans and advice for journalists:

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It's not as clear-cut as Mataconis suggests. Most states do have "sore loser" laws that prevent candidates who run for one party's nomination to switch to another party when they lose — 47 states, law professor Michael Kang tells CNN. But most of those laws apply to congressional races, and presidential candidates are often exempt. Still, Ohio has already ruled Trump irrevocably a Republican candidate for the presidency, and Trump would likely be prevented from running as a third-party candidate under Michigan's "sore loser" law. Trump could theoretically win without Ohio and Michigan, but if he tries, it's hard to imagine him acting as anything other than a spoiler. Or, legally, a "sore loser."

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