Trump to launch third-party bid? Oh, boy!

Donald Trump says the Republican National Committee had better treat him right at its presidential nominating convention, or else …

He’s going to run as a third-party candidate for president of the United States.

Wow! Where do I begin?

Trump has been hammering the daylights out of his GOP foes. They, too, have returned the fire. The name-calling, insults and cheap shots are piling up all around the knees of the principals.

Trump, who will not be the nominee, is going to insist on a prime-time TV slot to make his speech. His Republican foes don’t want that. They’re going to insist he gets pushed aside, forced to speak at some pre-prime time spot, or perhaps not at all.

But truth be told, RNC officials must be shivering in fear at the prospect of a Trump third-party candidacy.

Trust me on this: He’ll take far more votes from the Republican electorate than he would from the Democratic side — unlike the 1992 independent candidacy of Ross Perot, who gets blamed by Republicans for costing President George H.W. Bush re-election that year and for handing the election to the young Arkansas governor, William J. Clinton.

Polling data from that election, though, suggests something quite different. It is that Perot took votes equally from both Clinton and Bush and that without the third man in the fight, Clinton would have been elected anyway.

Does anyone believe Trump would have a similar impact on a 2016 general election if the nominees are, say, Republican Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton?

If the RNC is smart, it’s going to give Trump the prime-time spot he desires, let him yammer his nonsense, then show him off the stage, escort him out the door and then let the nominee accept his party’s nomination.

However, the RNC will have to determine which course of action will do the party the least harm.

Heck, it might decide that giving this guy maximum exposure at its nominating convention isn’t worth the reaction he’s going to get.

Let’s all stay tuned.

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