Donald Trump at Jewish Republican Coalition
Donald Trump at Jewish Republican Coalition Reuters

After Donald Trump swept four of Tuesday’s five state primaries, party bigwigs are set to meet on Thursday to lay out a plan to derail the frontrunner’s path to the nomination.

According to Politico, the meeting was organized by former Bush administration official Bill Wichterman, conservative activist Erick Erickson, and Bob Fischer, a prominent GOP fundraiser and bundler.

Aside from coordinating efforts to prevent Trump’s nomination, conservative activists and party leaders will also mull an option that was unthinkable just half a year ago: breaking with the Republican Party and launching an independent, third party bid for the White House.

The idea of a third party conservative bid was first seriously broached in February when Republican donors called for research into the feasibility of such a scheme.

A memo produced by the conservative polling firm Data Targeting in late February was publicized by Politico, revealing research results indicating that “it is possible to mount an independent candidacy, but [it] will require immediate action”.

According to exit polls from Tuesday’s vote in critical battleground states, a third party run may enjoy wide backing among Republican voters.

A total of 39% of GOP voters in Florida, Illinoi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio said that they would seriously consider backing a third party if Trump became the nominee. And a full 27% told pollsters that they would never vote for Trump under any circumstances, even if he won the nomination.

While the Republican Party is edging closer to a split, Democratic voters are also expressing frustration with frontrunner Hillary Clinton. According to last week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 33% of Sanders supporters would never vote for Clinton in a general election.

In addition, Clinton’s poor performance among working class whites in the Rust Belt indicates serious problems for her among that key demographic group in a head-to-head election with Trump. Trump has performed well among blue collar whites and could potentially pull many traditionally Democratic voters away from Clinton in a general election, particularly in the Midwest.