The donor class that pulls the strings of America’s politicians is openly fretting the presence of independent or third party candidates on the November 2024 ballot – specifically those which would threaten the reelection of U.S. president Joe Biden.
A big story dropped in Politico on Friday morning detailing donors’ “persistent fear” about third-party candidates who could “undercut” Biden in a hypothetical rematch against former U.S. president Donald Trump next fall.
Did you catch that language?
“As long as we can hand him that.”
Does that sound anything remotely like representative democracy to you?
No … it sounds like what it is: Rigging the game.
In fact, these donors are raising big bucks for what amounts to the active suppression of expanded choice at the ballot box.
“Some leading Democrats, including alums of the Obama and Biden administrations, have begun meeting to discuss ways to pressure (one third party group) from fielding a presidential candidate,” Schneider and Lemire reported.
According to the latest data from FiveThirtyEight.com, 40 percent of voters approve of Biden’s performance in office compared to 55.1 percent who disapprove. That’s a massive disapproval gap of 15.1 percent. Biden has been “underwater” with voters since August 23, 2021 – with his disapproval gap climbing as high as 21 percent Meanwhile, according to RealClearPolitics, Trump is edging Biden by 1.1 percentage points in the latest aggregate head-to-head national polling data – and has either led Biden or been tied with him in twelve of the last fifteen national surveys.
But are any of the third party options to Biden or Trump remotely appetizing? Or anything more than aspirational?
As they have in previous national elections, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party will field candidates across the country. We will also likely see a major ballot access push from No Labels – a group seemingly intent on putting forward a bipartisan ticket that could include Democratic U.S. senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and former Republican governor Larry Hogan of Maryland.
No Labels is the group Democrats are most concerned about – and are most eager to suppress.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is also preparing to abandon his partisan bid and campaign as an independent, although many Biden backers believe he will take as many voters from Trump as he does from his own party’s nominee.
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Also, socialist professor Cornel West is running as an independent – ditching his Green party bid in a move which further complicating the general election calculus. West is widely expected to take votes exclusively out of Biden’s backside.
“Democrats are fretting about (West) for two reasons: he has the ability to appeal to elements of the Democratic Party that are central to President Biden’s re-election campaign,” noted Ken Thomas for The Wall Street Journal. “And in an election that may again be decided by thousands of votes in a handful of states, every vote for West could aid the public intellectual’s larger target: Donald Trump.”
And those are just the third party candidates we know about …
Do any of them stand a chance of winning? Not likely. But they do, collectively, have the ability to determine the outcome of a close election between Trump and Biden.
In whose favor, though?
“Right now, the group of potential independent party candidates are more likely, as a group, to hurt Biden than Trump,” a former pollster for the incumbent president told Schneider and Lemire.
My news outlet has a long and proud history of supporting alternatives to the failed two-party state. I have editorialized frequently on the need for a third party – and have written extensively as to the potential viability such a party might enjoy. I have also decried the profligacy and “progressiveness” of our dysfunctional federal government and the corporate/ cultural forces propping it up (and profiting from its dysfunction).
According to Gallup, 47 percent of the American electorate described itself as independent last month – compared to 28 percent which identified as Republican and 24 percent which identified as Democrat. Needless to say, that is fertile ground for independent presidential bids.
None of the current independent or third party presidential options appeal to me personally, but I welcome them to the race nonetheless. They are needed – all of them – if for no other reason than to serve as a collective, critical institutional reminder. America’s political class has forgotten market principles, you see, choosing instead to “hand us” our electoral choices. The more electoral choices we insist upon, the less bound we are to the terminal velocity of our failed state puppeteers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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