Saturday, August 8, 2015 article on Trump and Michigan's sore loser law

At the first Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump refused to take a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and did not rule out an independent run for President.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Trump could run afoul of Michigan's sore loser law
Donald Trump's answer to the first question of Thursday night's debate, that he would not pledge to support the Republican nominee and would not rule out an independent run for President.  If Trump ran as an independent, he would have to make a decision by December of this year, two months before the first votes are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Otherwise, the current leader in the polls for the Republican nomination might end up without his name on Michigan's ballot in November 2016.

The reason Trump's name might be absent from next year's general election ballot if he runs as an independent is Michigan's "sore loser law."  This provision of Michigan's election law prevents the loser in one party's primary election from running as an independent or a nominee of another party in the general election.  Unlike most other states' version of this law, Michigan's also applies to presidential candidates.

According to, Trump's name is likely to be placed on the primary ballot by the Secretary of State as one "of the individuals generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates for each party's nomination."  If his name is not listed, then his campaign has until Friday, December 11, 2015 to file to get on the ballot for the March 8, 2016 primary.  Normally, candidates have three business days to withdraw their names after the deadline, which would make the final deadline to decide on appearing on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate Wednesday, December 16.  After that date, Trump's name will remain on the ballot for the primary, making him subject to the "sore loser law."
The story of Gary Johnson, the last presidential candidate to end up on the wrong side of Michigan's sore loser law, at the link.  It updates what I wrote in Michigan Secretary of State attempts to screw over Libertarians three years ago, which I crossposted to Michigan Liberal.  Also, click on the link for a video about Trump refusing to rule out an independent candidacy.  It's not this one from Wochit: Trump-inspired Debate Drama Highlights Unsettled GOP Field .

It took just one question for chaos to erupt in Cleveland. "Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person," asked Fox News' Bret Baier to kick off the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign for president. Only one hand went up, and with it, billionaire businessman Donald Trump sparked fresh waves of anxiety within the GOP as he went on to headline a debate that at times felt more like a circus than a forum for those who aspire to the White House.
As I've written several times already, Donald Trump is both good copy and great entertainment, as I expected he would be.


  1. Hmmmph. Well, I think that Trump, being the kind of guy he is, would prefer to miss getting his name on the Michigan ballot and write off the state as unwinnable (along with however many other states have such laws applying to Presidential candidates) rather than let his option to run independently be constrained. He knows he's not going to win the Presidency running as an independent -- the point is to keep himself at the center of attention and to pwn the Republican party against which he is rapidly piling up grudges. And I assume at least some of the baggots in Michigan can spell well enough to scrawl "Trump" in the write-in space anyway.

    1. Oh, I think you're quite right on all counts. However, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to present a unique angle on the story of Trump running for President as an independent, especially if I'm going to get paid for what is really high-quality concern trolling hidden inside a piece of journalism. Besides, my editors liked it. They approved it as newsworthy and passed it on to Google News in record time.