We more than occasionally wave our hands at the possibility of Trump going independent if, say, he goes into the convention with a big lead (but less than the 1237 delegates needed to clinch), and is denied the nomination in a contested convention.
But we haven’t gotten into details like: is it too late to mount an independent run? If not, when does it become too late? What are the deadlines and requirements? What states would Trump want or need to run in, if he chose not to run in all 50 states?
Hence this thread.
Ballotpedia would be a good place to start - they’ve got a table of the filing deadlines and requirements for independent candidates in the 50 states + DC.
Short version with respect to deadlines is that most states’ deadlines are in August.
Texas and North Carolina are really early (May 9 and June 9, both requiring ~80K-90K signatures) so they’d be out unless Trump jumps ship well before the end of the primary season. (ETA: and Texas’ deadline is likely irrelevant due to a sore-loser law, see below.) Three more states’ deadlines are at the end of June, another half-dozen in early to mid July, another three in late July, then 32 states at various times in August, and 5 in early September, with the last deadlines falling on September 9.
Now, signatures: nine states require 1000 or fewer signatures. Another 20 states require 5000 or fewer signatures. Another 7 states, fewer than 10,000. Then 7 states requiring between 15K and 30K signatures, another 4 requiring between 36K and 50K signatures, and finally 4 states (TX, NC, FL, and CA) requiring between 79K and 180K signatures.
Sore loser laws: according to Ballotpedia, they largely don’t apply to Presidential campaigns, with Texas’ and South Dakota’s laws being the only ones that apparently do.
Much more at the link, of course.