Texas has a unique law that says any party that wishes to petition for a place on the ballot must tell the Secretary of State no later than January 2. The law would probably be held unconstitutional if it were challenged, but it has never been challenged. It was passed in 1993. The law is wildly irrational because the petition itself can’t legally begin to circulate until April. If this law has been in existence before 1993, many important minor parties, such as Strom Thurmond’s States Rights Party of 1948, and Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party of 1912, and the Republican Party in 1854, would have been barred from the Texas ballot, because they weren’t formed until the middle of the election year.
Texas also has discriminatory ballot access laws that make it far more difficult for an independent presidential candidate to get on the ballot, than for a new party.
Donald Trump feels that it is possible he may wish to be an independent presidential candidate in 2012. Therefore, because he was aware of the Texas laws, he took the precautionary step of having his supporters tell the Texas Secretary of State that the “Make America Great Party” may wish to circulate a petition in Texas later this year. By having taken this step, if he should decide to be an independent presidential candidate in 2012, he is free to use the easier minor party petition procedures in Texas instead of the independent candidate petition procedures.
Texas election law section 161.002(a) says a party name may not be longer than three words. UPDATE: the offical filing says the name of the party is “Make America Great”, not “Make America Great Again”. The first draft of this post has been revised to show the corrected party name. Thanks to Bill Van Allen for this news.