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Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump warned of riots if the party establishment denies him the presidential nomination, a day after adding several wins on Mega Tuesdays. Despite his clear lead in delegates, there has been ever more frequent discussions of a contested convention in July, which would allow the establishment to effectively stop Trump from becoming the party's nominee.
"I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots," Trump said during an interview on CNN on 16 March. "I'm representing a tremendous many, many millions of people." Trump's loss to Ohio Governor John Kasich in the Buckeye State on Mega Tuesday made it more difficult for the real estate mogul to reach the needed 1,237 delegates, but not impossible.
Trump noted that if he arrives to the convention in Cleveland 100 delegates short, "I don't think you can say we don't get it automatically." He continued: "If you disenfranchise those people and say, 'I'm sorry, you're 100 votes short,' even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would see problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen. I really do. I wouldn't lead it, but I think bad things would happen."
According to CNN, one of Trump's supporters said that these supposed riots "aren't necessarily a bad thing." Scottie Neil Hughes told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "If it means because it's in there fighting the fact that our establishment Republican party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process."
When asked about the word riot, she clarified: "It's not riot as in a negative thing like what we've seen in the past, it's the fact that you have a large amount of people that will be very unhappy. I don't think they would sit there and resort, in fact I know they would not resort to violence, I know they would not do it. However, they would make sure their voices are heard, that they can't be ignored."
Trump's biggest threat, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, appeared to agree and said that party leaders lining behind a brokered convention would be disastrous. "I think that would be an absolute disaster. I think the people would quite rightly revolt. The way to beat Donald Trump is at the ballot box," Cruz said on CNN.
He added that if the two candidates arrive at the convention without the required 1,237 delegates and are "neck and neck" then it would be up to the delegates to decide. Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer said that RNC is preparing "for all contingencies including an open convention" but noted that the party will "let the process work itself out," according to CNN.
Following Florida Senator Marco Rubio's decision to drop out of the race amid a devastating loss in his home state, there are only three candidates remaining in the Republican field. Trump leads with 673 delegates, followed by Cruz with 411 and Kasich with 143.