Donald Trump’s emergence as the big fish in a now-tiny pool of three remaining Republican presidential candidates has touched off a remarkable scramble by political powerbrokers to quickly choose sides, all while talk of a potential independent run isn’t going away.
The feverish effort to either boost or block Trump is leading to unexpected alliances as some hitch their name to the GOP front-runner, and others do whatever they can to try and thwart him. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former candidate who previously had backed Jeb Bush, was the latest surprise, announcing Thursday he’s now banking on Ted Cruz.
Graham bluntly acknowledged he prefers Ohio Gov. John Kasich – but said only Texas Sen. Cruz has a path to defeating Trump in the primary.
“If we give the banner of the Republican Party to Donald Trump, we tarnish it, maybe, forever. That might be the end of the Republican Party as we know it,” warned Graham, who plans to hold a fundraiser for the Texas senator.
On the sidelines, a trio of conservative leaders also held a meeting in Washington Thursday to discuss a “stop-Trump” strategy. As first reported by Politico, Erick Erickson, the founder of RedState.com, was joined by former adviser to President George. W. Bush Bill Wichterman, and South Dakota businessman Bob Fischer.