There are normally only candidates from the two major parties in presidential elections, but there are exceptions. Maybe some of the most famous elections with third party candidates are 1912 and 1992, both times favoring the democratic candidate in the end. For the upcoming 2024 election, it is too early to say for sure if there will be a rebel candidate, an independent. From the democratic side, moderate senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia has mentioned a potential independent run a few times, which certainly would impact the election and create problems for the democrats. On the republican side, there has been radio silence.
A small but potential important challenge could come from the Green Party. The party has stirred up elections in the past, most famously in 2000 under the leadership of Ralph Nader. In the 2000 presidential election in Florida, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes in Florida. Most of the Green Party voters are close to the democratic party so one could conclude that without the Green Party, the democrat Al Gore would have won the 2000 election. The target for the Green Party is to win 5% of the popular vote. In the past, the have achieved much less than that, but given how close recent elections have been, every vote counts, and the difference can be significant in the swing states.
The front runner in the Green Party is Cornel West. He is a former professor at Harvard University and the first black person to receive a PhD from Princeton University. This makes the democratic nervous. Bernie Sanders has already contemned the Green Party and West and has endorsed Biden for another four years. This is not surprising given Sanders powerful and prominent roles in the Biden administration, including the chairmanship of the budget committee and the force behind the government’s overall spending spree and economic policy.
West focus is on workers, environmentalists and minorities, traditionally core democratic voters. The fact that he is black is another problem for the democrats, given their strong support for the party. Like Robert F Kennedy Jr, media will do their best to silence and censor any opposition to Biden, but there is a difference. RFK Jr key voters are liberals in the northeast, whereas West has a broader base across the country.
The polls are currently tight between the two parties, so a Green Party could create problems for the democrats. There is also an element of anti-establishment sentiment, that could appeal to disenfranchised voters. After all Biden is investigated for corruption and Trump is already indicted in four different states. Washington seems like a corrupt swamp and West can offer an anti-DC vote. The focus areas are also more prominent, in particular for younger people, engaged in environmental issues and with racial concerns.
The strategy for the Biden camp would likely first be to silence the opposition and the second option would be to offer West a prominent role in a potential second Biden administration. Either way, the Green Party will add spice to the 2024 election and at this point, the democrats should be worried.