I am not looking for opinion here, but actual laws or case evidence support for or against if this has been done / could be done legally.

Example: Could Bernie run in the 2020 primaries as a Democrat and as an Independent? The idea is that if he only wins one party's nomination he would run for President as a member of that one party, but if he wins both party's nomination he would run as a coalition candidate representing both Democrats and Independents.

This is a slightly different question than this one in that I am asking about the rules surrounding primaries whereas that one focuses on the general election rules.

  • 1
    Not exactly a duplicate. In particular, the answer to "Could Bernie run in the 2020 primaries as a Democrat and as an Independent?" is different. – Brythan Dec 2 '16 at 19:56
  • Bernie who? You might want to elaborate political slang from 2016 to make sure the question is broadly applicable – user4012 Dec 2 '16 at 20:16
  • Independent means "non-partisan" so it wouldn't really be a coalition, and I'm not sure it makes sense to run as independent and with a party. A more reasonable case would have been if Ron Paul ran as Republican and Constitution Party or William Jennings Bryan running as a Democrat and a Populist. – eques Dec 2 '16 at 20:19
  • I was going to mention the example of William Jennings Bryan running at the head of two party tickets in 1896, but I see eques beat me to it! – Lorendiac Dec 3 '16 at 1:12
  • This happened most recently in 2016. Hillary Clinton ran for president in New York as a candidate for three parties, and Donald Trump and Gary Johnson ran for two parties each. See elections.ny.gov:8080/reports/rwservlet?cmdkey=Candidat_32. – phoog Dec 3 '16 at 7:13

Could Bernie run in the 2020 primaries as a Democrat and as an Independent?

In the US, an independent is not a member of a separate party (at least in most states) and does not compete in primaries. An independent gets on ballots in individual states by collecting signatures. Only the Democrats and the Republicans participate in primaries to choose the delegates to their conventions. And only the Democrats and Republicans are guaranteed a ballot spot in the general election for whatever candidates their conventions choose.

Sore loser laws would block a candidate from appearing in both the primaries and the general election in two states (Texas and South Dakota).

You should also remember some other very good arguments against Bernie Sanders doing this. First, it would tend to fragment the general election vote. Second, Sanders would be 79 in 2020, the oldest presidential candidate ever. It seems likely that Sanders would support a different candidate, possibly Elizabeth Warren, rather than running again himself.

Also note that not every state will fuse the two candidacies together. So in some states, Bernie Sanders, Democrat and Bernie Sanders, Independent would be two separate candidates for the purpose of vote counting. As the referenced question explains, it would work in states like California and New York but not everywhere.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .