Buchanan: ‘Significant’ Number of GOPers Could ‘Walk’ On Trump, Could Be ‘Goldwater Situation’

Columnist and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said that “a significant slice of the Republican Party would take a walk” on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “and you could have a Goldwater situation,” and questioned the general election viability of other candidates Ted Cruz and Ben Carson on Monday’s “Sean Hannity Show.”

Buchanan was asked whether Trump should pledge not to run as a third-party candidate. He answered that while this is “a political decision” for Trump, it would be “hard” for the Republicans to win if he runs third-party. Buchanan added, “I think it would be the right thing for him to do, to take that pledge, because I think it would enhance his strength inside the Republican Party. It would remove a problem a lot of Republicans have with him, and I think if he runs third-party, he is not going to win the election. He’s going to be blamed for electing Hillary Rodham Clinton. And having run third-party, Sean, and taken four states away from George Bush, if I were him, I would take the pledge.”

Buchanan also stated that if he were advising Trump, he would have told him to “get some substance in there” before the debate. He specifically talked about Trump’s plan to make Mexico pay for a border fence, and said Trump needed to explain his plan to do so.

Earlier, Buchanan said that Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina are outsider candidates, and that “there’s a real disgust with the political establishment, a hostility to the political establishment, and I think the Republican Party does not want the establishment candidates who are being put on offer right now, the Beltway-preferred candidates. They seem not to be selling well, and they seem to be sinking, especially, for example Jeb Bush.”

He added that he would “bet on Trump as the favorite” if the primary process began now, but that it depends on what happens in six months. Buchanan continued, “it is hard for me to see how the insurgent and outsider candidates, Cruz and Carson and Donald Trump amass 270 electoral votes, except for the fact that Hillary is upside down in the polls. So, I think it’s a very remote possibility that I think we’ll see Donald Trump as president of the United States. A stronger possibility that you would see him as the Republican nominee, although I — my guess would be that the Republican establishment, as soon as primaries winnow the field, will all move en masse behind an alternative to Trump.” And that the alternative is “still Bush,” but “could be Rubio.” Buchanan said of both Rubio and Bush that he has a hard time seeing where they win their first primary. Later in the interview, after discussing ISIS policy, Buchanan stated that while “a conservative can win” and moderate candidates don’t get “the fire and the energy” behind them, “a significant slice of the Republican Party would take a walk” on Donald Trump “and you could have a Goldwater situation.” And “the same thing, to a lesser degree might happen with Ted Cruz.” Buchanan also wondered if “you can sell Ben Carson given his lack of national experience, to a skeptical country which is very concerned about foreign policy, about Russia, about Iran, about Iraq, about China in the South China Sea.”

Buchanan also stated that if Trump fades, “Cruz inherits the estate” from Trump. He further praised Cruz’s “valuable asset,” the ability to “move a crowd.”

He further criticized the Republican Party’s failures in power, and for embracing “this globalization philosophy” on trade.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett