If Bernie Sanders does not get the Democratic nomination (as is quite possible, given the Super Tuesday results), could he still switch gears and run for office as an independent candidate? Or is there something that forbids him for running as an independent?

  • 2
    There's nothing stopping him, but Bernie wouldn't want to run as an independent; that would only result in him stealing votes from Clinton, and causing the Republican nominee to win. Bernie and his supporters would rather elect Bernie than Clinton, but he would much rather elect Clinton than elect a Republican.
    – Vitruvie
    Mar 3, 2016 at 3:58

1 Answer 1


Yes he could.

Anyone can get on the ballots as long as they have enough signatures; their participation in a private event like a party primary is irrelevant), as long as that candidate manages to get on the state ballots in time[1].

The concept of 3rd party run by a loser isn't new - it was raised previously in 2016 election when a possibility of Trump doing so was discussed among Republican party.

According to this article discussing Bloomberg's possible run as an independent in International Business Times:

But time is running out. Logistically, he has to get the required amount of signatures — anywhere from 1,000 to 89,000 — in each of the 50 states before each state's cutoff date

The exact deadlines vary state by state but from what I was able to discern, most are around 2 months; meaning you need to submit enough signatures to each state by start of September.

The requirement is called "Ballot Access" and is discussed in detail on Wikipedia, including legal basis explaining the "Yes" answer on top; and state by state notes.

[1] - There seem to be less stringent (if any) requirements for being a write-in candidate, but that's getting too much into the weeds

  • 1
    It would be nothing short of amazing if we had Cruz on the Republican ticket, Hillary on the Democratic, and then Trump and Sanders as third-parties. I don't think it'll come to that, but it would be a hell of a race. Mar 3, 2016 at 14:27
  • @PointlessSpike - that'd be entertaining to watch. Unlikely for Sanders, though :(
    – user4012
    Mar 3, 2016 at 15:17
  • Probably for the best anyway. I suspect Trump would end up winning, and that would just be... unacceptable. Mar 3, 2016 at 15:23
  • 2
    @PointlessSpike - Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man
    – user4012
    Mar 3, 2016 at 20:00

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