By Naveen Athrappully
Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is expecting a potential third-party candidate like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to make it harder for candidates to “cheat” in the upcoming 2024 presidential race.
Her comments came following RFK Jr.’s suggestion that he may consider “other alternatives” rather than simply pursuing a Democratic nomination.
“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is talking about running as a third party candidate,” Ms. Lake said on “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” on Sept. 9. “That’s going to make it really hard when there’s three people, three parties running in any election, whether it be the senate seat in Arizona, the presidency. It makes it a lot harder for these people to cheat because they don’t know what’s going to be on the inside of the ballot. It might be a Democrat voting, but that Democrat might be voting independent this time around to vote for RFK Jr.”
“So, I think we’re going to see some dynamics in this election that’s going to make it harder for them to cheat and we’re going to work through the court system to also make it harder for them to cheat.”
Mr. Kennedy had said in a Sept. 8 interview with Forbes that he may look for “alternatives” rather than solely focusing on fighting the 2024 presidential race as a Democrat.
“It’s pretty clear that the DNC (Democratic National Committee) does not want a primary. I don’t want to say that they want a coronation, but I think that that’s a fair way to put. They’re essentially fixing up the process so that it makes it almost impossible to have democracy function. They’re effectively disenfranchising the Democratic voters from having any choice and who becomes the Democratic nominee.”
Mr. Kennedy stated that the DNC made rules that none of the votes cast for any Democrat candidate campaigning in Iowa or New Hampshire would be tallied.
“In other words, any delegate that I win in New Hampshire or Iowa would go instead to the president. And now they’re trying to change it so that if I campaign in New Hampshire, that none of the votes cast for me in Georgia will count. That’s significant because it’s hard to win the nomination without Georgia.”
The DNC is “rigging it,” he said.
“We’re looking at it, the tabulations that look like If you add up all the super delegates that they control and all of the automatic delegates that just go to the party and go to the president, I would have to win on almost 80 percent of all of the states in order to beat President Biden even if he only wins 20 percent.”
The DNC is also considering forcing RFJ Jr. and other Democrat candidates like Marianne Williamson to pay for primaries based on the reasoning that the party does not need a primary as they already have a presidential candidate in Biden, RFK Jr. said.
“We live at a time in American history when a lot of Americans think that democracy is broken, that the political system is rigged, and that there’s not really any democracy. And unfortunately, the DNC is taking a lot of steps that confirm on that outlook.”
“If the DNC is going to rig it so that it is simply impossible for anybody to challenge President Biden … I need to look at other alternatives.”
The Third Candidate
The possibility of Mr. Kennedy running as a third-party candidate could be bad news for the party as he is the second most popular figure among Democrats in the race after President Biden.
According to opinion poll analysis firm FiveThirtyEight, President Biden had the support of 65.8 percent of voters in the Democratic primaries, followed by second-placed Mr. Kennedy with 12.3 percent, as of Sept. 8.
A recent poll commissioned by American Values 2024, a SuperPAC supporting Mr. Kennedy, showed that RFK JR. received 41 percent support in New Hampshire against President Biden’s 49 percent in case of a two-way match between them.
In a three-way poll between President Biden, Mr. Kennedy, and Ms. Williamson, the former held his ground with 31 percent support against President Biden’s 46 percent.
The reason why a third-party candidate like RFK Jr. is dangerous for Democrats is that he can end up taking away votes from President Biden in key races, which could play in the favor of former President Donald Trump.
RFK Jr. can also create a situation where no presidential candidate succeeds in securing 270 electoral votes necessary for a win. This would allow state delegations of the House to choose the winner of the presidential election. Such a situation can also benefit President Trump as Republicans have a majority in the House.
In addition to RFK Jr., another alternative that could play a spoilsport in the 2024 presidential race is No Labels, an organization that could field a candidate in the race. No Labels has already won ballot access in 10 states and intends to get access in all 50 states plus Washington D.C.
A survey by No Labels in eight battleground states found that 63 percent of registered voters were open to a moderate independent candidate.
Several groups aligned with the Democratic Party are pressuring elected officials to denounce any presidential campaign from No Labels. The Arizona Democrat Party had filed a lawsuit to stop No Labels from appearing on ballots in the state.
“No Labels and RFK Jr. are the two biggest threats to Democrats defeating a far-right Republican like Trump or DeSantis,” Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and consultant, said in a June 28 post on X.