Donald Trump’s surge toward the Republican presidential nomination following recent election victories has left his party in disarray and has gave fresh urgency to efforts by Republican strategists and donors to halt his race.
Divisions among Republicans has deepened over Trump’s success on the Super Tuesday primaries with a campaign that has exacerbated racial, ethnic and gender tensions.
Republican loyalists have raised the possibility of the party splintering and choosing a third-party option if Trump wins the nomination.
“There are a lot of people who just cannot see themselves supporting Trump, Christine Todd Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, told National Public Radio on Wednesday.
The anti-tax group Club for Growth Action launched a new $1.5 million ad in Florida, casting Trump as a lousy businessman who “hides behind bankruptcy laws to duck paying his bills.”
In Tuesday’s Super Tuesday primary elections, Republican presidential candidate and US Senator Ted Cruz won his delegate-rich home state of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma as well as Alaska.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio notched just one victory in Minnesota.
Cruz’s and Rubio’s victories were unable to alleviate the alarm among their establishment backers, who fear the party is headed toward an annihilating defeat in the general presidential elections in November.
“Republicans are reaping the whirlwind right now, and Democrats should seize the chance to show Americans an alternative to Mr Trump’s politics of rage, and an image of themselves to be proud of, not shrink from,” The New York Times observed.
Trump’s latest wins also compounded the problem for a party whose leaders are both critical of many of Trump’s positions and values and skeptical he can defeat the Democratic Party rivals, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
A recent CNN/ORC poll found that both Clinton and Sanders would easily defeat Trump if the November 8 election were held now.
Clinton, who enjoys overwhelming African-American support, won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Sanders notched wins in his home state of Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado and Minnesota.
Sanders, a self-styled democratic socialist, has vowed to press on with his well-funded campaign that has made shrinking the income gap between rich and poor and providing universal healthcare a central issue of the Democratic contest.