Donald Trump, current Republican front-runner, refuses to rule out the possibility of campaigning as an independent, third-party candidate. It would be the GOP’s worst nightmare come true. Quoting an unnamed “expert,” debate moderator Bret Baier said, “an independent run would almost certainly hand the race over to the Democrats and likely another Clinton.”

In response, Trump equivocated. “I cannot say I have to respect the person that if it’s not me, the person that wins,” he said, reminding the room that he is currently favored to win the GOP nomination. However, he was quick to add, “I want to win as the Republican.”

Rival Rand Paul called Trump out on his record of playing both ends against the middle: “He buys and sells politicians of all stripes. He’s already hedging his bets on the Clintons…he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.”

Indicating Paul, Trump replied, “Well, I’ve given him plenty of money.”

The bottom line that has the GOP still sweating: Donald Trump refuses to commit his support to the Republican nominee unless it’s Donald Trump.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.