Democrats Frustrated As 3rd Party Runs Threaten 2024

In response to the escalating concern over third-party candidates potentially undermining President Joe Biden’s reelection bid, Democrats are showing heightened worry and are proactive, as highlighted in a report by The Washington Post. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and affiliated groups are intensifying its initiatives, employing communications experts, and pondering the creation of a new entity to work jointly in addressing these emerging challenges.

The rise of significant third-party presidential hopefuls, including independents like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West, raises alarms among Democrats. They are worried that these figures might draw away critical support from Biden, jeopardizing his reelection prospects.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC), which recruited Lis Smith, a prior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, in January for this very reason, is taking these threats seriously. Smith highlighted the concern by noting, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s support and funding from Donald Trump and his backers reveal a strategic move. They see him as a beneficial decoy that could tilt the election in Trump’s favor. This is a warning we must continually emphasize up to the election day.”

The escalating crisis in the Middle East during President Biden’s term adds to the existing concerns. The continued conflict between Israel and Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization, has led to dwindling support for the president among young and Muslim voters due to his stance on Israel.

This situation is complicating the challenge posed by third-party candidates, especially Cornel West. A Democrat involved in efforts to mitigate the impact of these candidates remarked, “In recent weeks, many within the party have come to view RFK Jr. and West not merely as minor distractions but as significant electoral challenges. The crisis in the Middle East, particularly, is seen as a factor amplifying West’s threat.”

While third-party candidates like Green Party’s Jill Stein and potentially a No Labels candidate pose challenges, many attribute Hillary Clinton’s loss to former President Donald Trump in 2016 to Stein’s candidacy. A January Quinnipiac poll revealed that in a race including Kennedy, West, and Stein, Biden polled at 39 percent, leading Trump by 2 percent. Kennedy received 14 percent support, West received 3 percent, and Stein received 2 percent. However, without these third-party candidates, Biden’s lead over Trump increased to 6 percent, with Biden polling at 50 percent.

Democrats are increasingly worried about the possible influence on young and black voters in key battleground states. According to a poll, both Kennedy and West have garnered 13 percent support among black voters. Historically, these demographics have leaned towards the Democrats, yet recent Gallup surveys reveal a slipping allegiance to Biden among these groups. From 2020 to 2023, the Democratic Party has seen nearly a 20 percent decrease in its advantage over the Republicans among black and young Hispanic American voters.