Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reportedly urged President Joe Biden not to underestimate the potential impact of third-party candidates in the 2024 presidential election. Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in 2016 partly due to the votes siphoned off by the Green Party’s Jill Stein, met with Biden at the White House earlier this month and shared her concerns about the spoiler effect.
Biden Faces Challenges from Both Left and Right
According to NBC News, Biden and his allies are worried about the possibility of losing votes to third-party challengers from both the left and the right. On the left, the Green Party has nominated Cornel West, a prominent academic and activist who has been critical of Biden’s policies on racial justice, foreign affairs, and the environment. West, who endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, has vowed to offer a “radical alternative” to the two major parties.
On the right, the No Labels group, a bipartisan organization that advocates for centrist solutions, is reportedly considering launching its own presidential candidate if Biden and Trump face off again in 2024. The group, which has the backing of some wealthy donors and former lawmakers, believes that there is a demand for a moderate option that can appeal to independent and swing voters who are dissatisfied with both parties.
Third-Party Candidates Could Make a Difference in a Tight Race
While third-party candidates have historically received a small share of the national popular vote, they could still make a difference in a tight race, especially in battleground states where the margins are often razor-thin. In 2016, Clinton lost Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania by less than 1% each, and the combined votes for Stein and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson exceeded the gap between Clinton and Trump in those states.
A recent poll by NBC News showed that Biden and Trump are tied at 46% each in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, but when third-party options are added, Trump gains a slight edge over Biden, 39% to 36%, with West getting 6%, the Libertarian Party’s Justin Amash getting 5%, and the No Labels candidate getting 4%. The poll also found that 58% of Democratic voters do not want Biden to run for reelection, citing his age and performance as the main reasons.
Clinton Advises Biden to Take Third-Party Threats Seriously
Clinton, who has blamed her 2016 loss partly on Russian interference and the role of third-party candidates, has advised Biden to take the threats from the Green Party and the No Labels group seriously and to counter them with a strong campaign strategy. She has also warned him of the possibility of foreign meddling in the 2024 election, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin “hates democracy” and will try to influence the outcome again.
Biden, who will be 82 by the next election, has not officially announced his plans for 2024, but he has indicated that he intends to run for a second term. He has also expressed confidence that he can defeat Trump again, saying that he is a “one-term president” who has “done nothing but divide the country”.