Robert F. Kennedy Jr., vocal in his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, initially emerged as a noteworthy addition to the Democratic field when he declared his candidacy for president in April.
But as Kennedy prepares to announce his run as an independent, political strategists from across the spectrum are now transfixed by another third-party contender: Cornel West.
In a significant challenge to Joe Biden’s bid for re-election, the prominent left-wing academic and philosopher has announced he is running for president as an Independent.
🚨Breaking News: Cornel West will run for President as an Independent in 2024. He has dropped his bid for Green Party Nomination. pic.twitter.com/OfBCWbMjmY
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) October 5, 2023
“Cornel West is a much bigger threat than RFK Jr. largely because black voters are the biggest part of the Democratic base and have been for years, particularly black women. And so a black candidate is naturally going to pull more black votes than a White candidate like RFK Jr.,” GOP consultant Mark Weaver told the Daily Caller.
West officially entered the presidential race on June 5 as the Green Party candidate. His policy platform is characterized by a commitment to forgive all student debt, advocate for elections conducted using hand-counted paper ballots, establish term limits for congressional members, implement a comprehensive “Medicare for All” system, address the issue of Big Tech monopolies, and advocate for the disbandment of NATO, as outlined on his campaign website.
Mike McKenna, the president of MWR Strategies and a GOP consultant, told the Daily Caller that despite Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s significant name recognition as the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, he believes that the infrastructure supporting Cornel West’s campaign holds greater importance in the context of the 2024 election.
“The real third-party threat in this race is not RFK Jr. The real third-party threat is the Green Party,” McKenna told the Caller, noting the Green Party candidate affected Hillary Clinton’s race for president in 2016. “Cornel West doesn’t have the name ID behind RFK Jr., but he’s probably got a better organization behind him.”
Democratic strategist Brad Bannon shared similar views and also anticipated that the Biden campaign would likely launch advertisements in the coming year featuring prominent members of the Kennedy family, including JFK’s daughter Caroline.
“I just don’t see where RFK Jr’s support comes from as an independent,” Bannon told the Daily Caller. “Because a No Labels candidate, if there was one, has a base and financial support. Cornel West obviously has a base, a small base. I think [RFK Jr.] is pretty much going to fall by the wayside, because I just don’t think he even has a small definable base, that I know of.”
According to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday, a majority of Republican voters are of the opinion that the country requires a third-party alternative due to the perceived inadequacy of the two main options in effectively representing the American people.
According to Gallup, third-party support has reached 63%, marking the third instance where such support has surpassed the 60% threshold among Americans. This level of support represents the highest recorded since data on this topic was first tracked in 2003. In the poll, 58% of Republicans expressed their endorsement of a third political party, 46% of Democrats did the same, and a substantial 75% of Independents voiced their support for the idea.