Thursday, March 31, 2016


BooMan thinks Donald Trump might run third party if he's denied the GOP presidential nomination at the convention, even though his run will be futile:
Due to sore loser laws in many states that will prevent Trump from running as an independent after failing to secure the Republican nomination, he cannot run a successful third party candidacy. But he could get on the ballot in some red states, split the vote, and hand Electoral College delegates to Clinton or Sanders. I can see him doing that out of spite.
I'm seeing speculation about that in my comments. But I don't see it happening.

As it turns out, the "sore loser" laws that prevent losing primary candidates from running as independents in general elections apply to presidential candidates only in a couple of states -- two states according to Ballotpedia, three according to CNN.

However, one of the states where this is an impediment is Texas. It's probably already too late for Trump to run third party there:
No Republican, no conservative can win the presidency without Texas’ 38 electoral votes. So, what does it take to get an independent presidential candidate on the Texas ballot? Petitions have to be filed there by May 9, complete with valid signatures of nearly 80,000 voters who did not vote in the March 1 Texas primaries.
But that's if Trump wants to bail on the GOP now. We're all assuming, I think correctly, that he'll go to the convention with the most delegates, and he'll fight to win there. If he starts a third-party run, it'll be only after he's thwarted at the convention (if he is thwarted).

The Republican convention is July 18-21. At that point, the filing deadline for independent candidates will have already passed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The deadline is July 21 in Michigan, July 23 in Washington State, and July 25 in Missouri. So Trump would fail to make a lot of ballots if he got started that late.

But hey, he could find a party with ballot access that would nominate him, right? Probably not. The Libertarian Party is choosing its candidate before the GOP -- its convention takes place May 27-30. The Constitution Party's convention is April 13-17.

But would Trump seek to run third party anyway, to spite the GOP? It just doesn't seem like his style. The average Trump supporter thinks Trump can push people around and get what he wants. Trump encourages that belief. Why would he want to start in on a third-party campaign in which he can't bully his way onto the ballots of more than a dozen states, and therefore doesn't really have the mathematical possibility of winning the election? Wouldn't that make him look like a loser?

And if it's clear that he's doing this just to hurt the GOP candidate, doesn't that, in effect, make him a Hillary Clinton surrogate? I know a lot of conspiracy theorists think that was the point of his run all along -- he and his friends the Clintons plotted out his run in order to destroy the GOP and clear the way for a Hillary victory. I think that's crazy -- how many people besides Trump himself thought his campaign would be anything other than comic relief? -- but beyond that, I think his evolution into a conservative is sincere. Sure, he's not an ideologically pure right-winger on many issues, but his anger is that of an enraged Fox News viewer. Political correctness is evil! Obama is leading from behind! And that makes sense. Trump is a white male senior citizen living in America. Of course he thinks what's said on Fox makes a lot of sense.

But even if he's not the GOP nominee and doesn't run third party, won't Trump continue to dominate the media? And won't he take advantage of that to tear down the Republican nominee? I think he'll get airtime, but not nearly as much. There'll be no rallies to be aired in full on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. That means there'll be no viral R-rated soundbites cheered on by huge crowds; there'll be no sucker punches and pepper sprayings. There'll just be Trump phoning in to various shows -- and at that point he really will be a loser. He won't be the same ratings draw he is now.

So I think he'll just slink away. Maybe he'll sue someone. Maybe he'll sue a lot of people. Maybe he'll just threaten to sue a lot of people and never actually do it. But I think it's go big or go home for him.


mlbxxxxxx said...

My guess is that a lot of Trump voters probably don't know he really can't mount an independent run if the GOP disses him at the convention (he may not realize that himself.) If Trump gets dumped at the convention and then they discover he doesn't really have any options beyond that, there is going to be an epidemic of compound butt-hurt. Barney Frank may think they can't get organized to make a significant ruckus. I am not so sure.

I remain skeptical that they will have the courage to dump him but, either way, the result is not likely to be good for them. Trump may have no options after the convention, but his voters will. At a minimum, they can boycott the election endangering GOPers up and down the ballot -- they are, generally speaking, inconstant voters anyway so sitting one out is no big deal. I do not agree that the likely result of dumping Trump is a GOP establishment candidate who will win in November. I think their choice is between losing with Trump or without him.

Unknown said...

Since a third party run's only rationale would be as a fuck-you to the GOP, it doesn't matter if Trump couldn't get on the ballot in every state.

More to the point, a third party run would require effort and expense. Trump has repeatedly shown that he's allergic to both.

percysowner said...

Not running as an independent doesn't mean he can't still work as a spoiler. He talks loudly about how the rules are unfair to him. He tells his supporters to not vote for those Republicans who cheated him out of the nomination. He runs against the Republican Party.

Just look at the campaign he is continuing to run against Meghan Kelly. I think that will look mild compared to what he will do if he thinks he wasn't treated fairly. In many ways it's the best of both worlds for him. I'm not convinced he really wants the responsibility of being President, but he doesn't want to lose and he wants to destroy anyone who stood against him. So I fully expect him to act as some kind of spoiler if he doesn't get the nomination.

Jeffery said...

He wouldn't run to spite them. He'll run to keep his media coverage going until November.

Steve M. said...

He'll run to keep his media coverage going until November.

And finish a distant third? Even he's smart enough to know that would happen.

Victor said...

No, he won't run if he's not chosen at the convention.
You'remember right, then he'll look like a loser.

Instead, he'll bitch, shriek, scream, whine, etc., that he was screwed, and the GOP gyped him!
He woulda, coulda, shoulda won the Presidency!

That's a winner's attitude.

Steve M. said...


The New York Crank said...

Umm, but there's a report on CNN that Trump has been meting with Reince Priebus concerning "a productive conversation about the state of the race." [ ]

And further, "After meeting for at least two hours, the real estate mogul and his top aides were silent as they left the venue Thursday afternoon, declining to answer questions from CNN."

Sounds to me like we got a little deal cooking. I would pay half my 401(k) to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. (Well, not really, but you know what I mean.)

Shall we theorize?

Theory #1: Trump says, if the party stops trying to oppose and undercut him, he'll adapt their platform and have all his speeches cleared by Reince&Company.

Theory #2: They searched for, and possibly found, a way to make Donald gracefully bow out before the convention. Maybe Secretary of Commerce. Maybe a lucrative government contract for some Trump business.

Other theories?

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Jeff Ryan said...

He doesn't have the money to run a third-party campaign in the general, and even if he did, he wouldn't spend it. His fortune consists of Monopoly money. It's all "tied up" somewhere, or in "accounts receivable".

Jeff Ryan said...

Dear New York Crank, I don't know why people think Trump would have any interest in a cabinet position. He's not a politician, much less a career one, and he has zero interest in it. He would get nothing from it except boredom and responsibility. He can wheel and deal and hit the casinos now - so he's going to give that all up and move to DC? Not in gazillion years.

And no, he won't get a government contract. It is very hard to buy your cement from the Genoveses and Gambinos, or the Scarfos, with the fed looking over your shoulder. He's never done government work before, and he ain't about to start now.