Will Donald Trump Be a Third-Party Candidate in Texas?

Supporters of the New York real estate magnate and reality television star filed paperwork that would back The Donald should he choose to run for president. 
Tue January 3, 2012 8:50 pm
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

While Rick Perry, Ron Paul, and the rest of the Republican presidential primary contenders finish up in Iowa, the makings of a third-party run by Donald Trump is under way in Texas. According to Jonathan M. Seidl of the conservative web site the Blaze, Trump supporters calling themselves the “Make America Great Again Party” filed paperwork with the Secretary of State before the weekend, beating a January 2 deadline. 

In a prepared statement, Trump said:

I am aware and flattered by this filing by my supporters in Texas. I have not authorized anyone to act on my behalf and am not a candidate for president at this time. I will not, however, rule out a third-party candidacy if the Republicans nominate a candidate who cannot defeat Obama and I recently changed my party registration in New York state to preserve my legal option to appear on the ballot in all 50 states if I do decide to run.

When Trump switched his registration from Republican to Independent in December, his special counsel, Michael Cohen, told MSNBC that The Donald would make a decision “after the finale of ‘The Apprentice’ in May of 2012 if he is not satisfied with the Republican nominee for president.” 

(Everybody got that? The Apprentice. Premieres in February. Season finale, May 2012. Not that Trump’s ability to get publicity for politics has  anything to do with getting publicity for his TV show.)

On Monday, as Politico reported, Trump called in to  Fox and Friends,  saying, “I do have my ducks in a line if I want to do it,” and “I think when somebody like Ron Paul gets such a large percentage of the vote potentially, I look at the polls, and I think it’s absolutely madness to even think about it.”

He also seemed extremely comfortable with the party name chosen by the Texans who were not authorized to act on his behalf:

Frankly, I think it’s a great name, make America great. That’s a beautiful name, because that’s what it’s all about—making America great. But I don’t know anything about it. Certainly there are millions of people that would like to see me do something—not because of me, but because I want to protect this nation. We’re being eaten alive by other nations and by, frankly, people that are not smart that are representing us … I’d love to see the Republicans pick somebody that was going to win and take over this country and frankly, to use the expression, make America great again.

But as Aman Batheja of the  Fort Worth Star-Telegram  noted, it’s not a name that’s legal in the state of Texas. “One of the rules of establishing a minor party is that the name of the party can’t be more than three words,” Batheja wrote. “S o, presumably, the founders of the ‘Make America Great Again Party’ will have to come up with something a little more snappy.” 

And if the party’s too-long name should somehow keep it off the ballot, one assumes its would-be presidential candidate would have two simple words for it.

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