New York City businessman and reality show TV host Donald Trump officially left the Republican Party on Friday, so he could have an unaffiliated status. According to a reported statement from Mr. Trump’s counsel Michael Cohen:
“Mr. Trump has done that in order to preserve his right to run as an independent after the finale of his television show “The Apprentice” at the end of May.”
“Something’s he’s stated over the past six months he might elect to do if, in fact, he’s not satisfied with who the Republican candidate is and does not believe that that candidate can defeat Obama in 2012.”
The statement above is a little confusing only because it seems as if Mr. Trump’s counsel may not realize that just because Mr. Trump filled out the paperwork to become unaffiliated, does not mean the change has taken place right away.
Mr. Trump’s latest affiliation change does not take effect until after the 2012 November general election is over, so Mr. Trump’s move “preserves” nothing, really. This means Mr. Trump is still a registered Republican and still has the opportunity to vote in New York’s presidential primary.
According to New York State’s Board of Election website:
“If you wish to change your enrollment from one party to another or from not-enrolled to a party, send a Voter Registration Form with your new choice to your county board of elections. The board will notify you when the change takes place, by Law, after the next general election.”
Trump could run as an independent, even if he was still a registered Republican. He would just need that party’s permission and meet that state’s particular requirements from whatever line he chooses to run on.
For example, if he wanted to run on the Independence Party line in New York state, he would need a Wilson-Pekula (a New York legal term granting permission to run on a party’s line that you are not a member of) from that party.
This, in fact, is the same exercise the media is going through with Trump that it went through in 1999 with him, when the New York real estate mogul left the Republican Party and joined New York’s Reform Party, instead.
In 1999 Mr. Trump said he left the GOP, because:
“The Republican Party has just moved too far to the extreme right. The Democrats are too far to the left. I believe the Reform Party can be the true centrist party. And that’s very much in line with my thinking.”
Trump first registered as a Republican in the early 1980’s and became a Democrat in 2001 after joining the Reform Party in ‘99, when he first kicked around the idea of running for president.
Apparently, the timing of this party affiliation switch announcement may have more to do with Trump feeling disrespected by the Republican Party after the Newsmax sponsored GOP debate he was to moderate was cancelled.
The debate was supposed to happen on December 27, but with only two candidates (Gingrich and Santorum) who agreed to attend, Trump announced he would not only cancel the debate but also announce his intentions to run for office in May of 2012 after the season of NBC’s “The Apprentice” ended.