As a result of the concerns that his opponents from third parties and independents could cause him significant harm in the upcoming election, Democrats are exerting pressure on President Biden to confront them.
There are concerns that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein could garner enough votes to assist former President Trump in regaining the Oval Office. These concerns have been expressed by members of the entire party. Up to this point, Biden has been defensive and has avoided outright confronting them in most situations.
However, now that Obama is cruising to the nomination, and more and more polls show that he is losing to Trump when a third-party candidate is a choice, there are those Democrats who want the president to go on the attack, and they are prepared to help aid him from the outside.
“Spoiler third-party candidates are an essential ingredient for any Trump win, and that is why they have been silent about No Labels and RFK,” cautioned Jim Kessler, a Democratic strategist with Third Way, a centrist Democratic think group. Kessler is a member of the Democratic Party.
“Because of this, the Biden team needs to make it abundantly clear that anyone who is contemplating voting for a third-party candidate is not only risking throwing away their vote, but also our democracy,” Kessler stated.
The prospect of a rematch between Biden and Trump has caused both parties to be plagued by concerns regarding the possibility of a third party spoiler. Using extensive public polling that reveals significant disapproval rates for both men, the insurgent candidates have stated that voters do not want either alternative on the top of the ticket. They have cited this evidence to support their position.
Despite the fact that Kennedy and West are facing their own concerns regarding the number of state ballots they will be able to secure, Democrats are still taking them seriously and putting in early legwork in order to free Biden to concentrate on Trump.
“These individuals are nipping at our heels,” said Pat Dennis, the president of American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC that is associated with the liberal political organization. However, this does not mean that they are not harmful. I am of the opinion that they pose a significant threat. Additionally, this is the reason why organizations like as mine are concentrating so much of their attention on them and making certain that people are aware of the true danger that they pose.
Dennis stated, “We are able to conduct ourselves in such a manner because we are not the president of the United States, and this is how I see our role.” “We are to take care of these small-ball opponents who are dangerous but ultimately ineffective,” the statement further read.
Stein, who is running again with the Green Party, and West, who is a committed progressive who is now running as an independent, both believe that Biden is unable to meet the demands of people for a change of direction.
They want him to swing to the left, and they warn him that if he does so, he runs the risk of splintering the liberal coalition that was instrumental in his victory over Trump the first time around. According to the results of polls, he has lost a considerable amount of support among a portion of that core constituency, notably young people.
Biden and his inner circle have been reticent to address those issues in public, which has left the door open for independent voices and voices from third parties to potentially have a lane.
A number of Democratic strategists, like Dennis, believe that their future work will consist of identifying less well-known individuals by means of their policy ideas, while simultaneously attempting to establish a negative connotation that goes beyond name recognition for more prominent personalities such as Kennedy.
Despite the fact that this activity is taking place outside of the campaign infrastructure, there are some Democrats and election experts who believe that Biden would try to draw contrasts with these candidates himself.
Bernard Tamas, the author of “The Demise and Rebirth of American Third Parties,” stated that in order for any of the so-called spoiler candidates to win, they would need to capitalize on a particular issue that voters believe Biden and Trump are not addressing.
“Being a spoiler with a purpose is an effective third-party strategy in the United States,” said Tamas, who is also a professor of political science at Valdosta State University. “They are trying to influence the outcome of the election.” In order to successfully mount a challenge from a third party, it is essential to target some policy subject or stance that the major parties are either ignoring or avoiding.
There is a possibility that the violence in Gaza is a problem. The Democratic administration’s response to the war has been criticized by several of Biden’s winning constituencies from the 2020 election. These constituencies include younger voters, Arab Americans, and Black voters. Furthermore, they have accused Biden of downplaying the Palestinian cause and the high death toll as they work to address the aftermath of the terror attacks that occurred on October 7 which targeted Israel.
When it comes to the matter, Stein and West are both on the left side of Biden. West has been quite vocal in his opposition to the military industrial complex, and Stein is running on a platform that is generally associated with the leftist anti-war movement. According to observers, both candidates have the potential to appeal to those voters who believe that Biden is too steadfast in his traditional view regarding the role of the United States in international wars.
According to Tamas, “The Biden campaign needs to confront this head-on by addressing the issue and trying to coopt it in order to take away the sting that the Stein and West campaigns have caused. A spokeswoman for the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign, Seth Schuster, made a prediction that just “two candidates” will be able to participate in the fall election.
“When voters go to the polls in November, they will be faced with a choice between two candidates who have radically different visions for the country and only two candidates who have the potential to win 270 electoral votes.
President Biden, who will fight for our freedoms and uphold our democracy, and Donald Trump, who will strip away our rights and say he’ll be a dictator on day one,” Schuster said. To ensure that voters are aware of the options available to them, the Biden-Harris campaign will spend the next nine months engaging in direct conversation with them.
During his campaign, West, who is running as an independent candidate, indicated that he would be willing to interact with the president if given the chance.
He stated, “I find it profoundly hypocritical for Biden to ‘defend’ democracy and’redeem’ the soul of the nation by trashing opponents at home and enabling genocide abroad.” He was referring to the fact that these actions were taken by Biden.
Despite the fact that the conventional party position is that Biden should primarily use his role as president to govern and publicly highlight policy accomplishments at this time of the campaign, there are many who believe that more can be accomplished simultaneously.
The popularity for the 81-year-old president is decreasing in important battlegrounds such as Michigan and Georgia, according to polling, and many people are concerned that the addition of a third-party or independent candidate on the ticket would make his chances of winning the election even more doubtful.
This anxiety has been heightened in particular with regard to Kennedy, who is attempting to appear on as many ballots as possible, despite the fact that he has only qualified in the states of Utah and New Hampshire up to this point. As part of what appears to be an effort to increase his access to the ballot, he has recently considered running as a Libertarian candidate.
Even Democrats who believe that these efforts by third parties are implausible admit the possible threat that they pose to Biden and warn that action has to be taken to address the situation regarding these activities.
“There is a reason why every third-party candidate of the last fifty years ultimately fell far short of their polling peak when votes were actually cast,” Kessler said. “There is a reason why this happened.” There are a few lesser candidates who people are interested in, but the majority of them end up choosing one of the two main contenders. The stakes have never been higher than they are in this election, therefore it is imperative that this attempt to speed up the process gets underway as soon as possible.