Then Trump pledged at Tuesday night's debate, "I am totally committed to the Republican Party." He even expressed respect for his rivals for the GOP nomination.
A few days ago, Trump at the very least viewed an independent candidacy as important leverage over a GOP establishment he feared was moving against him. Now he's swearing off it. What changed?
First, whatever the Republican National Committee said to reassure Trump and Ben Carson that a contested convention wasn't a conspiracy against anti-establishment candidates — the RNC reportedly met with Trump's campaign — seems to have worked.