By Roger Stone The race for the Republican Presidential nomination is still wide open. If anything the field has gotten thinner with the drop out of Mike Huckabee. Meanwhile NBC has offered Donald Trump an astronomical amount to forgo the Presidential race and renew his contract for the Apprentice. Recent credible polls showed Donald J. Trump still has intense support of around 15- 20% of GOP Primary voters but a full 58-62% would not consider voting for Trump. This means Trump could still score a plurality victory in Iowa or NH but that when the race winnows to a two person field, winning the nomination will more difficult. Romney's support base is about the same but his unfavorable are significantly lower. While not "loved", Romney is acceptable to 7 out of 10 Republicans. Trump's unfavorable ratings have increased based on him taking blunt positions and straight talk and based on the attacks of pro-Obama press. Trump can expect constant press sniping about his business deals and net worth. This is the price of having gone after Obama hard and forcing him to spit up his birth certificate. Winning the Republican nomination is now a $350 million plus endeavor. Romney will raise and spend $150-200 million. Trump would have no choice but to ignore Romney and "out-shout" the media and that would be very, very expensive. Trump would also have to launch a campaign for delegates in all fifty states - a pricey proposition. If Trump won the nomination, which is possible, he'd be a 4 in 10 shot for the general. Here is why Trump running as an Independent makes more sense and why Trump would actually have a better chance of winning as an Independent. Trump could renew his contract with NBC for the Apprentice and enjoy that forum in the Spring of next year. I don't think I want a guy dumb enough to turn down $60 million to actually be President. Trump could wait as long as June of next year and still get on the ballot in all 50 states. A Labor Day to November Independent campaign focused on network television advertising will actually cost less than a prolonged drive for the nomination. The actual campaign would be short, retail campaigning in the sticks (not Trump's strong suit), would not be necessary as there are no primaries. Trump's campaign style of flying in, doing a high profile media event and press conference and leaving for the next media-market is a better style for an Independent in a general election and preserves the cache and star-quality of Trump. Four weeks tramping around Iowa will make Trump just another politician. Familiarity breeds contempt. Ballot access in all 50 states will cost $3-$5 million - not the $150 million alleged. An Independent campaign in the fall of 2012 shortens the period of unfair scrutiny of Trump businesses by a hostile media, otherwise he would have to put up with nineteen months of this crap. Trump would have a broader electorate to appeal to in the general election including many poor-to-middle class whites and Hispanics who like Trump and are not Republicans. Most importantly Trump would make the finals and will be in the televised debates, his strong suit. Based on today's polling Trump is a 3 to 1 shot as an Independent - maybe better depending on how weak the Republican is. The Tea Party is unhappy with the Republican establishment and could be ready for an Independent candidate running on Tea Party principles by next June. Here is what Trump could do to preserve his options; Trump should sign with NBC for just one season, announce that he will not seek the Republican nomination but will decide on an Independent candidacy by next June. This isn't about Party, it's about saving this country. 58% of Republicans said they would be open to voting for an Independent. Trump should announce that he is writing a book to outline his plan to save America and that he will gauge public reaction to the ideas outlined in his book. Trump should authorize a legal study of the ballot access process for an Independent Presidential candidacy in all 50 states. For the balance of 2011,Trump can continue to travel the country and speak out on the key problems facing the nation and can continue to give major speeches particularly to Tea Party groups between now and next June. Trump can wait to become a full-fledged Independent candidate until next June and still be a viable Presidential contender. Ross Perot actually led both major party candidates in 1988 until his campaign imploded. The American people could be ready for an Independent - with the resources to win. Of course, I have no official position in the Trump entourage and don't represent or speak for Trump but this is what I think he should do.