Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Why Robert Kennedy’s Candidacy Will Likely Hurt Biden More than Trump

The view of third party candidates has changed significantly in American politics since Ross Perot was polling consistently at 20% during the 1992 Presidential race. Most voters still looked at third party candidates as outsiders in 1992, but these individuals weren’t viewed as being as likely to determine the election as they are today.

The situation is very different today. Most elections over the last 16 years have been very close in the electoral college, and with the country fairly evenly dividend right now, third party candidates tend to be looked at less favorably by many voters on both sides. Several recent examples of this are when Gore blamed Nader for losing Florida in 2020, or Hillary Clinton recently claiming that Jill Stein hurt her in Wisconsin and Michigan in 2016.

The most well-known third party candidate who is likely to be on the ballot in 2024 is Robert Kennedy Jr. The independent whose views cross party lines on issues ranging from what the left calls climate change, to vaccines, and even crypto currencies, is a better known and more recognizable person than we have seen in the recent past with third party candidates. This is why the recent polling data that clearly shows that RFK Jr. would hurt Biden more than Trump if he were on the ballot in 2024 is interesting. Joe Biden is a failed President, and his cognitive short comings and advanced age have led even many Democrats to make clear they would rather see a different nominee of their party. In just September of last year, nearly two-thirds of Democratic voters told pollsters they would rather not see Biden as the Democratic nominee. While polls show that nearly 81 percent of democratic voters will still vote for the incompetent President, there are increasing signs that key parts of Biden’s coalition are growing disillusioned with him. Recent polls have show that Trump is doing significantly better with both younger voters and black voters than the former President performed with these demographics in 2020. Many younger and more liberal voters are also upset with Biden’s position on Israel and his recent decisions to allow some oil and gas projects to proceed.

Despite the fake narrative that the Republican party is divided, Donald Trump remains one of the most popular Presidents with Republicans and conservatives in US history, and the former president also received more votes than any incumbent President in US history. Most Republicans and conservatives view Biden’s presidency correctly as a disaster, and the divisions in the Republican party on policy are far less than the differences between progressives and moderate Democrats on issues such as trade and foreign policy. While obviously some moderate Republicans like Bush and Romney don’t like the former President, the difference in views on policy between moderate and conservative Republicans is more narrow than is true on the left. Even moderates such as Jeb Bush applauded Trump’s tax cuts and his conservative overhaul of the judiciary. The right is fired up and angry, and the more motivated Republican base isn’t likely to find third party candidates as appealing as many disillusioned left wing voters who are not happy with the policy choices Biden has made in key areas.

Third party candidates always seem more appealing the farther out the country is from an election, and usually voters come home as the race gets closer to the end. Still, with most Americans saying the country is headed in the wrong direction and the overwhelming majority of even Democrats saying they would prefer Biden not be the Democratic Party Nominee, Robert Kennedy’s candidacy is much more likely to have a far bigger impact on Biden than Trump.