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“Sure, Why Not?”: Is Donald Trump Serious About His Independent Threat?

Might Donald Trump run for president as an independent next year as he is threatening? Sure, why not.

My first reaction to the report in The Hill that former reality TV star Donald Trump is threatening to run for president as an independent if the GOP is too mean to him was a derisive chuckle – of course he’s not going to run as an independent, I thought. But hey, I also doubted that he’d ever actually declare for the presidency in the first place and even after he did that I wouldn’t have guessed that he’d file a real financial disclosure but he has. (And it’s the classiest, most unprecedented financial disclosure God ever created – I mean, Trump Drinks Israel?)

But having given it a little more thought … sure why not?

The fundamental question one must ask when pondering Trump’s “candidacy” is how seriously to take him as a politician seeking office. Does he really believe that he can be elected president and does he actually want to be? Does he, in other words, believe the nonsense that pours forth from his perpetual-motion-machine mouth? Or is this just a publicity stunt, a more elaborate version of his near-quadrennial attention grab?

If you’re not sure of the answer, consider this from The Hill’s story: “Real estate mogul Donald Trump said … he could run for president as an independent if he’s unable to win the Republican nomination in 2012.” Oops, sorry – that was The Hill’s story from April, 2011. So yeah, we’ve seen this show before.

In any case, regardless of whether you buy Trump as a serious candidate or not, an independent bid is sure-why-not plausible.

Suppose for a moment that he’s serious. If he’s really vainglorious enough to think he can win the GOP nomination barring establishment dirty tricks – and if he really thinks what the country needs is a Trump White House (and of course I mean that literally, with his name in huge gold letters on the roof) then why not run as an independent? Is he worried that he’s going to lose his credibility with Republicans? That he’s going to burn his political bridges? Like he cares? Trump’s political convictions are hardly set in stone. (For example: Per Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, the day before he told The Hill he might run as an independent he told conservative radio host Dana Loesch that “I will only ever run as a Republican.”)

The case for an unserious run is even more compelling: What better way to keep himself in the spotlight without having any chance of actually having to take on any responsibility or govern? What’s the downside? He has already demonstrated an unparalleled ability to get the media’s attention (and so, thus far, keep his poll numbers rising) so all he’d have to do is make some nutty pronouncement every few days and he could continue to soak up the limelight.

Does it ultimately matter if he decides to run? Less than you might think. Running as an independent requires the kind of 50-state political infrastructure for which Trump has demonstrated neither an interest nor any ability. There are 50 different sets of rules for getting your name on the ballot – sorry, Donald, you can’t simply license your name onto it – with 50 different deadlines. If he isn’t on a significant number of ballots is he likely to get onto a debate stage? Or siphon a determinative number of votes from, presumably, the GOP nominee?

It takes more than a sure-why-not campaign to make that sort of difference.

 

By: Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion, U.S. News & World Report, July 23, 2015

 

 

July 29, 2015 - Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, Independent Presidential Candidates | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I believe his numbers will start to fall, so what he does will be moot. He is his own worst enemy.

    Like

    Comment by btg5885 | July 29, 2015 | Reply


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