Joe Biden’s allies are terrified that voters will abandon the unpopular president for third party candidates whose campaigns have persisted despite extraordinary measures from the Democrat party establishment, according to reports.
While long shots to emerge atop the field, Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have proved resilient as oft-competing factions of the party have coalesced around the goal of keeping Biden in the Oval Office.
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Also lurking is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), fresh off an announcement that he will not run for reelection to the Senate and continuing his flirtation with a third-party White House run.
Initial speculation was mixed on if Biden or Donald Trump would be harmed by the emergence of third party candidates. Yet ramped up Democrat activity has sent an unmistakable message that the upper echelons of the party believe Biden stands the most to lose.
NBC News reported:
With the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way acting as the hub, other groups in the coalition have focused on their expertise: MoveOn.org is working to keep progressive voters in the fold; “never Trump” groups like the Lincoln Project are trying to do the same for moderates; a new bipartisan group founded by former House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt has been engaging Washington graybeards to write op-eds and talk to donors; Reproductive Freedom for All produced an ad claiming No Labels wants a national abortion ban; End Citizens United has been playing up potential campaign finance issues; and the opposition research super PAC American Bridge has retained Democratic lawyer Marc Elias to look for opportunities to bring legal challenges to third-party candidates.
Though no third party candidate has won a modern election – and no third party candidate has won electoral college votes since George Wallace carried five Deep South states in 1968 – a handful of candidates have been credited with influencing recent outcomes. Ross Perot’s 1992 race sucked support from George H.W. Bush, helping propel Bill Clinton to the White House. And more recently, Hillary Clinton’s allies blame Jill Stein for eroding Clinton’s support just enough for Trump to emerge victorious in key states.
With Biden’s popularity tumbling as problems at home and abroad mount, West and Kennedy seek to exploit the same opening that the anxious Democrat establishment is shuffling to close. Biden’s allies have even been accused of viciously targeting a former Biden aide who has spoken out against the flailing campaign – a clear threat to others considering breaking the “Biden code of silence.”
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Biden himself has frustratingly hounded the long-friendly mainstream media for reporting (accurately) on the failures of his economic policies – one of the primary planks planned for Biden’s reelection platform.
Voter distaste for another Biden term is so severe that speculation — quiet at first, but taken with increasing seriousness — that Biden will be replaced on the ballot is gaining steam.
Observing the many crises under Biden’s watch, even West himself recently said, “I’m not even sure whether I’ll be running against Biden.”
West’s campaign is far from a naked play at headlines. He is taking serious strategic moves to capture votes.
Perhaps most notably, the enigmatic philosopher and author is making a play for Arab American votes in the critical swing state of Michigan, which Trump narrowly won in 2016 but Biden captured in 2020. By exploiting the bitter divide inside the Democrat party on the Israel-Hamas War, West, who has called Israel an “apartheid state,” is making inroads with a growing radical component of the party’s base hostile to Israel — and often to Jews themselves.
Michigan is one of a handful of states in which thousands of refugees have reshaped the political landscape, with the Democrats’ embrace of almost unlimited refugee entry — in violation of the intent and letter of the law — sparking a drastic shift in the base from its blue-collar origins towards increasing radicalism.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the first Palestinian American member of Congress, represents a Detroit district long a Democrat stronghold that is now likely amenable to West’s messaging.
Tlaib was censured by the House in November for her history of antisemitic language and part in an illegal pro-Hamas protest inside a House office building, yet remains fairly popular in her district.
Minnesota, another state whose political dynamics have undergone radical realignment largely due to thousands of refugees, is another likely target for West. The blue state, home of the largest concentration of Somali refugees in the United States, has also seen its liberal politics rush to the left.
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One Minneapolis borough is so heavily populated by Somali refugees who have resisted assimilation — and vote almost uniformly for the most progressive of candidates — it has garnered the name “Little Mogadishu.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a Somali American and former refugee who represents the district containing Little Mogadishu and like Tlaib has made countless antisemitic remarks, has been one of Biden’s most ardent critics on Capitol Hill. Her fervent opposition to Israel, which clearly strikes a chord in her district, projects well for West — and trouble for Biden — in pockets of Minnesota.
Some Democrats, instead of focusing on the issues, are simply warning voters that support for Biden is the best way to stop Trump.
Jim Messina, Obama’s reelection campaign manager, has warned in interviews and op-eds that third party candidates will hurt Biden. He says West and Kennedy will “siphon off just enough votes in swing states to put Trump back in the White House. That’s a catastrophe.”
Even Anti-Trump “Republicans” are sounding the alarm on third party candidates and their likelihood of helping Trump.
“Candidates not named Trump or Biden will likely outperform previous third-party campaign benchmarks in an unprecedented way,” said Kurt Bardella, a former Republican operative who left the party over Trump. “While I understand the frustration with the two-party system, the reality is when it comes to the 2024 election, a vote for anyone else but the Democratic nominee is a vote for Donald Trump.”
But with millions of former Biden voters looking for an alternative to the hapless president, the protestations of establishment Democrats and their “Never-Trump” Republican allies might fall on deaf ears.
Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.