One way to avoid a Trump third-party run
Right out of the gate, please allow me to disclose two things: 1) I am a Ted Cruz supporter, and 2) if Donald Trump is the nominee, I will happily and enthusiastically low crawl (that's an Infantry term) over broken glass to flip the lever for him, thus denying the socialist Sanders or the criminal Clinton the opportunity to appoint one or more Supreme Court justices. In short, this is not yet another unwarranted blast about how bad Trump would be for the party. I will support him if he is the nominee. I utterly rebuke any effort to deny him the nomination via establishment chicanery. If he gets 1,237 delegates, I will support him, period, full stop.
As things stand at this point, I predict each of the Republican contenders still in the race, showing up in Cleveland, somewhat short of the required delegates to win. This will, according to current rules, start a series of ballots until someone achieves the magic number of 1,237 delegates. The rules of delegate selection and voting are set by the state committees individually and by the national committee at the convention. Essentially, delegates from different states have differing limits as to how long, if at all, they are bound to a particular candidate due to primary/caucus results.
Moreover, there is the now infamous "Rule 40," supposedly put in place to protect a "President Romney" during his re-election effort and lately envisioned to help ensure that Jeb! gets the nomination. This rule says that in order to be placed into nomination, a candidate must win delegate majorities in at least eight state primaries/caucuses. If, as some are advocating, the "establishment" eliminates this rule and thereby appears to usher in a nominee who hasn't won a primary, much less come close to 1,237 on the initial ballot, appearing to be chosen over the stated will of the voters, there will be, as Rush Limbaugh says, "hell to pay."
This is where, depending on the actions of the Republican National Committee, the Rules Committee, and the delegates themselves, Mr. Trump, citing unfairness, could decide to go his own way, thus ushering in another four years of horrific denial of personal liberty, following the previous eight.
Here is a proposal that might diminish Trump's credible ability to claim "unfairness" or "ignoring the will of the voters." If the current three candidates arrive in Cleveland and none of them achieves 1,237, then the second ballot should be conducted thusly:
1) Any candidate who arrives in Cleveland and meets Rule 40 gets to keep any delegate already "earned" via the votes in the primaries. This would likely put out a Trump vs. Cruz slate.
2) Delegates not committed to those qualified candidates are released for the second ballot.
3) Conduct ballot #2. Better'n even money, somebody comes up with 1,237 delegates, especially if, as I believe will happen, only Trump and Cruz show up in Cleveland qualified under Rule 40.
The advantage of this plan is that it eliminates the "will of the voters" issue for Donald Trump. Each finalist keeps the delegates he was awarded by the voters. Although it doesn't necessarily eliminate the "establishment control" issue, I believe it ameliorates its effects.