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Bipartisanship trembles: Third-party candidates that could shake up the next election

Robert F. Kennedy, Cornel West and Jill Stein could be decisive in determining who will be the next president.

Los candidatos presidenciales Robert F. Kennedy Jr. y Cornel West

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West (Voz Media-Cordon Press)

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Since the fourteenth President of the United States, Franklin Pierce, took office on March 4, 1853, the bipartisan government managed to consolidate its dominance and alternate in power. Over time there have been other political parties that have received some votes in each of the presidential elections that have been held. Before him, there were other politicians in the Oval Office, who represented other factions such as the defunct Whig Party, the Democratic-Republican Party or the Federalist Party. Others did it on their own, like George Washington.

For the next presidential election, there are already candidates who are hoping to make it to the White House as independents or by representing other parties. They represent the third way of getting elected. Analysts and pollsters believe one of them could be a strong competitor for the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

At age 69, former President John F. Kennedy's nephew announced in April that he will run in the Democratic primaries against Joe Biden and the rest of the candidates to keep the party in the White House. A few months later, in October, Robert F. Kennedy decided to abandon his candidacy as a Democrat - after revealing ideas and opinions that were contrary to the party line. One example of this is his stance against vaccines. Therefore, he has decided to run as an independent.

This trend would help him win votes from undecided or dissatisfied voters in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. He could also win the votes of Americans who are not convinced by any of the candidates.

Kennedy is the best-known figure within the political third way and most likely to challenge the victory of the two major parties. Analysts such as CNN's Harry Enten pointed out that Kennedy has a chance of running against Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the major parties' favorite candidates, in the 2024 elections. He is basing this on the polls. Some give him a better rating than other candidates. Others, such as the one compiled by Reuters in November, give him 20% of the votes if he were to run against Trump and Biden.

Cornel West

In June, socialist Cornel West, 70, made his candidacy official for the 2024 elections representing the People's Party. Four months later, he reported that he did not plan to drop out of the presidential race, but he will run as an independent. "I am running as an independent candidate for the Presidency of the United States to end the iron grip of the ruling class and ensure true democracy," he wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

West has spoken out against two-party rule and declared that we must "end the duopoly and give power to the people." He is considered a radical leftist and took part in numerous protests such as Occupy Wall Street in 2011. He is also an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America and supported Bernie Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Political analysts do not believe he will succeed in his first electoral run. They even believe that he would make it easier for Trump - or the elected Republican candidate - to win by taking away votes from the Democratic Party. CNN's poll puts him at 4%, which doesn't help his case. However, he has no plan of giving up, as he explained in an interview with The Guardian.

Joe Manchin

A few days ago, the Democratic senator from West Virginia confirmed that he will not run for reelection. "I have made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and have decided that I will not run for reelection to the United States Senate," said Joe Manchin. But that was not the end of his announcement, as he hinted that his political career was not over and that he would try to "mobilize the center and unite Americans."

These words were seen as another example of the legislator's intentions to run as an independent. In an interview on NBC, he was even more direct, stating that he was considering making it official.

As in Kennedy's case, Manchin would likely be able to rally the votes of Republicans and Democrats who are dissatisfied with their parties. His status as a moderate would help him, but at the same time hurt him since he would lose the support of his colleagues in the Democratic Party.

Jill Stein

This is not the first time she has run for President of the United States. Jill Stein (73 years old) is running to represent the Green Party for the third time, after making it official on her X account (formerly Twitter). The first time she ran (2012), she got less than 500,000 votes. The second time (2016), she received triple. She came in fourth place in both elections and was outperformed by Republicans, Democrats and even Libertarians.

In her candidacy video, Stein blames the Democratic party (as the one who can do the most damage by taking away votes) which she claims has "betrayed their promises for working people, youth and the climate." She says that the Republicans "don't even make those promises."

The polls indicate there is no chance that Stein will get enough votes to run for president in the next general elections.