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Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich have suspended—or plan to end—their campaigns, which virtually guarantees that Donald Trump will be the party’s nominee, according to a UT expert.

Rich Pacelle, head of the Department of Political Science, noted that members of the Republican Party had discussed ways to stop the controversial front-runner when there were still other candidates in the running. But with Trump as the only candidate standing, “I do not think they can manipulate anything at this point,” he said.

“If they did not go with Trump, they would have a major public relations problem,” Pacelle said. “As long as someone was left in the race, there was a slim chance of some shenanigans. That effectively ended when Cruz suspended his campaign.”

For someone else to jump into the race now would be practically impossible, and the GOP would take a huge risk in trying to deny Trump the nomination, he said.

“They would pay a huge price for trying to stop him now, and there is no effective opposition,” he said.

The GOP might try to tie Trump to a certain platform that it favors. The party—or some element of the party—also could attempt to launch a third-party candidacy, Pacelle said.

“I do not think the party will do this, but some factions might decide to do this,” he said. “The odds of a third-party candidacy are maybe 15 percent, everything else less than 1 percent unless Trump does something to disqualify himself.”


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Rich Pacelle (865-974-2845,