Donald Trump Will Run as a Third-Party Candidate if He Can’t Win the Nomination – In the run-up to the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, only one candidate would not vow to mount a third-party campaign should he fail to win the nomination. That was of course Donald Trump, who did go on to win the nomination and then the White House.
Now as the disgraced former president seeks a comeback, he is again flirting with the idea of a third-party run should the Republican Party not want him. Such a move would likely split the GOP and be welcome news to President Joe Biden – or any other Democrat running in 2024.
In a posting to his Truth Social platform last month, Trump shared an article from the pro-MAGA website American Greatness, which called for the former president to punish the GOP for its disloyalty. Writer Dan Gelernter compared the situation to the 1912 presidential race, in which former President Theodore Roosevelt attempted to launch a comeback and ran as a Progressive against then-Republican President William Howard Taft and Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
In the end, Roosevelt actually won more states and a higher percentage of the popular vote than Taft, but Wilson won the White House. Gelernter suggested that this would teach the “corrupt gravy-train” a lesson – which apparently would only ensure Joe Biden gets a second term!
That explains why he threatened a third party run in 2015 and then again threatened to launch a new party in 2021 as some Republican senators weighed up whether to convict him in his impeach trial over the Capitol riot.
Donald Trump Did Try It But Failed
What is now largely forgotten by most Americans – if in fairness they ever actually paid any attention in the first place – was that Donald Trump briefly mounted a third-party run.
In 1999, before he was a reality TV star and was still largely known as a real estate magnet, he launched an exploratory committee to determine whether he should seek the nomination for the Reform Party – the third party started by Texas billionaire Ross Perot in 1992.
Trump was persuaded by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who had been elected in 1998 on the Reform Party ticket. Trump’s platform focused on fair trade, elimination of the national debt, and achieving universal healthcare. Critics quickly questioned the seriousness of his campaign, and there was rampant speculation it was simply a tactic to help him build his brand and to sell books.
However, Trump claimed it was a serious endeavor and that he had a chance to win.
He qualified for two presidential primaries, and longtime aide/veteran campaign strategist Roger Stone was even hired as director of the exploratory committee. Trump seemed quite serious, at least for while, pledging a personal campaign investment of $100 million.
Stone also suggested that the time was right as popular culture was beginning to overwhelm the political establishment, while Trump stated in an interview, “non-politicians represent the wave of the future.” It also wasn’t by any means a “traditional campaign.” Then girlfriend Melania Knauss, who had been a glamour model, posed scantily clad on a large presidential seal for Talk magazine.
However, by February the campaign ended before it officially began – having never moved beyond an exploratory committee. After Ventura exited the Reform Party, Trump officially ended his campaign feeling that the party was too dysfunctional. Despite that fact, he still won both of the primaries.
What is also largely forgotten is that Trump had resigned his membership in the Republican Party, and told reporters he believed the GOP had become “Just too crazy right.”
Such a choice of words could be used today to describe Trump and many of his most loyal supporters.
More: Is Donald Trump Going Crazy?
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.