Many voters are weary about a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024. Third parties hope they can fill the gap.


   Indeed, the 2024 presidential election is shaping up to be quite an exciting and diverse race with a mix of independent, third-party, and unconventional candidates. The political landscape is marked by a sense of ambivalence and frustration among voters, possibly fueled by the prospect of a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

In the history of the United States, George Washington stands out as the only president to have won office without a party affiliation. Additionally, the tradition of incumbents securing their party's presidential nomination has been longstanding, with Franklin Pierce 1856 being the last incumbent to lose the nomination within his party. Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 as the first Republican president is also a historical reference to the last time a candidate from a new party claimed the presidency.

The current field of candidates includes individuals from various backgrounds, such as members of Congress, academics, and even those with ties to prominent political families. Despite the odds being described as exceedingly long for these candidates, the dynamics of the election and the electorate's mood appear to create an environment where alternative paths to the White House are being explored.

It will be interesting to see how these candidates navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by a political landscape craving change and alternatives to the traditional party system.

The political landscape is shifting with a sense of restlessness among voters, discontent with the prospect of another Biden-Trump campaign. Third-party candidates are optimistic about tapping into this discontent, believing that the current climate is ripe for independent politics. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee in 2012 and 2016, expressed this sentiment, emphasizing the hunger for principled politics and alternatives beyond the two major parties.

Despite the historical challenges faced by third-party candidates, the current environment is marked by notable activity and a perception that voters may be willing to defy traditional political patterns. Stein, a physician and environmental activist, has announced her candidacy for the 2024 election, citing dissatisfaction with the major parties that has been steadily growing since her first presidential campaign.

This dissatisfaction is reflected in polling data, with a significant percentage of Americans expressing reservations about both Biden and Trump. According to an August poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 75% of Americans believe Biden should not run for president again, and 69% think the same about Trump. Both candidates face challenges with their approval ratings, with more Americans viewing them unfavorably than favorably.

Age and legal issues further complicate the prospects for Biden and Trump. Concerns about Biden's age, at 81, are prevalent among Americans, while opinions on the criminal charges against Trump, 77, are divided. Trump, who has been indicted four times and is facing trial next year, adds another layer of complexity to the political landscape.

Overall, the dissatisfaction with the major parties, coupled with the perceived restlessness among voters, creates an environment where third-party candidates believe they have an opportunity to offer alternatives and reshape the political narrative. The upcoming election will be closely watched to see how these dynamics play out.

Both Democrats and Republicans, conscious of their candidates' middling approval ratings, are keeping a close eye on third-party campaigns. Many Democrats hold Jill Stein responsible for Trump's victory in 2016, as they believe her Green Party candidacy drew votes away from Hillary Clinton. Stein disputes that votes can be "stolen" from major parties.

In the Democratic primary, a little-known Minnesota congressman, Rep. Dean Phillips, is challenging Biden. Phillips argues that Democrats are heading towards disaster by nominating an unpopular president who is also the oldest person to hold the office. He criticizes fellow Democrats for not openly addressing these concerns and following the party's traditional lines to secure campaign funding.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently shifted from his Democratic primary challenge to Biden and is now running as an independent. Despite his deep ties to the Democratic Party through his family, Kennedy had higher approval ratings among Republicans. His controversial views, such as his vocal opposition to COVID-19 vaccines, have garnered support from some conservatives and far-right figures. Kennedy's connections with figures outside traditional Democratic circles add a layer of complexity to the political dynamics.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s anti-vaccine organization, Children's Health Defense, is currently involved in a lawsuit against several news organizations, including The Associated Press, accusing them of violating antitrust laws by taking action to identify misinformation, particularly regarding COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. Despite Kennedy taking leave from the organization upon announcing his presidential run, he is still listed as one of its attorneys in the lawsuit.

On a different front, the bipartisan group No Labels is actively working toward ballot access in all 50 states, with over a dozen already approved. This has raised concerns among Democrats who fear the group's support may primarily come from potential Biden voters, potentially aiding Trump's return to the White House. The possibility of No Labels winning one or more states could also lead to a situation where no candidate receives a majority of Electoral College votes, potentially requiring the House of Representatives to decide the election.

No Labels has yet to provide details on how it will select a candidate, causing further anxiety among Democrats. The group was expected to release its selection process in October, but the timeline has slipped to November and may be further delayed.

Amid these developments, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who recently announced he will not seek reelection but will explore an independent presidential campaign, has become a focal point. A new group has emerged advocating for a No Labels ticket featuring Manchin and Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. The group is polling in Arizona and Michigan to gauge the viability of such a bipartisan ticket.

Manchin emphasizes his goal to invigorate centrists who feel overlooked in the political system. He contends that he will consider running if no candidate emerges to represent their interests in the presidential campaign. Despite this, he asserts that he does not want to be a spoiler and aims to unite Americans.