Democrats are expressing increased apprehension and undertaking efforts to counter the threat of third-party candidates to President Joe Biden’s reelection chances, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
They are particularly concerned about prominent third-party presidential candidates like independents Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cornel West, the Post reported. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others are ramping up their efforts to combat them by hiring communications professionals and considering the establishment of a new organization to collaborate on countering potential threats.
“The idea of a third party is a threat to our democracy.”
The uniparty is reeling. pic.twitter.com/0dqZd1LyBi
— Montana Libertarian Party (@Montana_LP) February 8, 2024
“It’s clear that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is being propped up and funded by Donald Trump and his allies because they believe that he is a useful stalking horse who could throw the election Trump’s way,” Lis Smith, former adviser to Commerce Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, whom the DNC enlisted in January to counter third parties, told the Post. “We need to sound that alarm every day between now and the election.”
The Middle East crisis under Biden is contributing to the concerns, a Democrat who is familiar with the effort to counter third party candidates, told the Post on condition of anonymity. Israel and terrorist group Hamas are engaged in a conflict and the president has been losing support among young and Muslim voters over his support for Israel.
“A lot of Democrats have come to the realization over the last month that RFK and West are real electoral threats and not just curiosities, and the Middle East crisis is partially driving that, especially in West’s case,” the individual asserted. “The RFK problem is not that he gets 18 percent. It is that he gets 3 percent or 2 percent or 1 percent.”
West has taken a particularly strong stand against Israel’s actions in Gaza, and criticized Biden’s support of them in an interview with the Post.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein is also running for president and there will potentially be a No Labels candidate. Many attribute Hillary Clinton’s loss to former President Donald Trump in 2016 to Stein’s candidacy in that election.
Biden polled at 39%, leading Trump by 2% in a race including Kennedy, West and Stein, according to a January Quinnipiac poll. Kennedy polled at 14% while West polled at 3% and Stein at 2%.
Without these third-party candidates, Biden polled at 50%, a 6% lead over Trump, according to the poll.
Democrats are especially worried that these candidates will chip into their lead with younger and black voters in swing states, the Post reported. Kennedy and West each polled at 13% with black voters, according to the poll.
Young and black Americans are traditionally a Democratic voting bloc but are increasingly not supporting Biden. The Democratic Party has lost almost 20% of its lead over the Republican Party with black voters and young Hispanic Americans between 2020 and 2023, according to Gallup polling data.
Multiple polling analysts and political strategists told the DCNF in September that third-party candidates will likely hurt Biden more than Trump.
The DNC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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