What Bloomberg Will Need to Do to Run for President as an Independent
The obstacles seem quite surmountable given his cash and the relevant deadlines.
Former New York mayor, powerful plutocrat, and bonafide Reason #1 "enemy of freedom" Michael Bloomberg claims to be contemplating an independent third party run for president should two candidates he disapproves of, fellow NY moneybags Donald Trump and fellow freedom-hater Bernie Sanders, take the major party reins.
Via information contained in a paper-only issue of Richard Winger's Ballot Access News newsletter, here's a summation of some of the barricades Bloomberg will face.
They are the sorts of barricades that having a lot of money can very much help you jump, allowing you to pay signature gatherers top dollar. He is very wise in not attempting to build a full party apparatus, as the legal qualifications tend to be higher for parties than for lone indies.
Some highlights on ballot access rules Bloomberg would face as a non-party-affiliated independent candidate:
• Only one state, Texas, currently has a deadline any earlier than June (and Winger thinks it is so early it could fall to court challenge).
• 37 states' deadlines not til August or September.
• The most signatures needed for any state is California's 178,039; the least Tennessee's 275.
• Only 4 states require over 50K signatures: California as above, plus Florida (119,316), North Carolina (89,366), Texas (79,539).
• 29 states require 5,000 or fewer signatures, or a similarly small amount of cash payment.
So, Bloomberg has plenty of time and opportunity to make it happen if he chooses, to give America a third completely terrible choice. (The breakdowns of how and from where the signatures need to be gathered are set on a state level and are highly variable, but he has the money to hire the consultants to help him navigate the rules.)
A review essay from 2002 on the "two party system" as a hegemony of both legal power and political science conceptualizing