Republicans vs. Trump: How the party could stop its frontrunner

As Republican frontrunner Donald Trump moves ever-closer to securing the party's presidential nomination, members of the GOP establishment are pulling out all the stops to stand in his way.

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Republican strategists are openly discussing all kinds of "anyone but Trump" strategies, including ways a dark horse candidate might be able to enter the race and steal the nomination away.

According to multiple U.S. political experts, two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney might be the establishment's preferred dark horse candidate, though he has not announced his candidacy. However, Romney has decided to condemn Trump in a speech at the University of Utah.

But if the GOP hopes to put forward a pro-establishment candidate, it will need to prevent Trump from securing too many states over the next two weeks.

Conservative strategist Amy Kremer says Trump could be stopped if he falls short of winning the 1,237 delegates needed for the "winner-take-all" round of voting, in mid-March. If Trump doesn't enter that round with enough votes to win the nomination in the first round of voting, other candidates would be free to "horse-trade" for votes in order to unseat the frontrunner.

That situation – called a contested, or brokered convention – would allow the GOP to put forward a new candidate, if it chose to do so. "Talk is that would be Mitt Romney," Kremer told CTV's Canada AM.

Mary Kate Cary, a former speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush, says the Republicans will want to keep as many candidates in the current race as possible, in order to keep Trump from securing 1,237 delegates.

Marco Rubio, for instance, could take a big bite out of Trump's fortunes if he manages to win in Florida, Cary said.

"That might keep Donald Trump from getting to (1,237)," Cary told CTV News Channel.

Kremer pointed out that many Republican fundraisers are pouring their money into anti-Trump ads in Florida, to keep him from winning that state.

Romney has not officially entered the race, but he did come out publicly against Trump on Thursday, calling him a "phony" and a "fraud" in a speech at the University of Utah. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the speech ahead of Romney's appearance.

"If I was advising Romney, I would say to go after the policy positions that would hurt Trump supporters on a daily basis," Cary said. "I don't think they realize the implications of his policies in their daily lives over the next four years."

Trump went on the offensive late Wednesday and into Thursday, attacking Romney on Twitter.

Failed candidate Mitt Romney,who ran one of the worst races in presidential history,is working with the establishment to bury a big "R" win!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016

I am the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton. I am not a Mitt Romney, who doesn't know how to win. Hillary wants no part of "Trump"

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016


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