Slate Looks at Third-Party Voting

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Over at Slate is a decent, albeit left-slanted analysis of how "third-party candidates" might affect the 2024 election. It makes its most interesting point midway when it discusses the erosion in support such candidates suffer in the two-party system as Election Day rolls around.

The piece then offers an interesting possible exception to that historic pattern, though:

[A]lthough there are good reasons to think that third-party support will crater as Election Day approaches, it isn't guaranteed -- especially not if Kennedy in particular is able to stay visible throughout the cycle by participating in televised debates and scoring press coverage that goes beyond treating him like a spoiler. And that means we're all facing another round of vote-shaming and counter-vote-shaming as panic about third-party spoilers sets in, especially on the left... [bold added]
I agree that a third-party candidate could overcome that pattern, but doubt it would be Kennedy, an all-purpose kook whose anti-vax nuttiness should repel most lefties, and whose far-left positions should repel most disgruntled conservatives.

In short, I think the longer he talks, the more he will turn people off who initially reach out to him out of desperation or the faint hope that nobody could be as bad as either major party candidate: RFK, Jr. is best-of-breed from hell worse.

The candidate for Trump/Biden to worry about will be the No Labels candidate -- if they can find one.

The bar in this election is very low: To appeal to the silent, disgusted majority, No Labels need only put a non-geriatric someone on that podium who is halfway reasonable and can offer easily-grasped arguments for an anodyne agenda that only has to contrast with the worst parts of Biden's economic platform and Trump's theocratic/nationalist one.

It's a low bar. But the fly in the ointment is that, so far, No Labels is having trouble finding a politician who recognizes opportunity when it comes knocking.

-- CAV

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