How Much Damage Could Jill Stein, Joe Manchin, and RFK Jr. Do in the 2024 Election?

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

The 2024 election is getting increasingly more interesting. As President Joe Biden remains the presumptive nominee for the Democrat Party and former President Donald Trump continues to cement his front-runner status on the GOP side, the list of third-party candidates is growing.

On Thursday, two-time Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein announced she plans to seek the party’s 2024 nomination. That same day, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) broke the news that he will not be running for re-election next year. Rumor has it, he may make a bid for the White House via No Labels. All the while, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cornel West are running as independents.

So, what does this mean for the Democrat and Republican Party heading into election year? On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Charlie Kirk, CEO of Turning Point USA, to discuss the threat each candidate poses and who it will hurt the most.

Jill Stein 2024

Stein, who was the Green Party nominee for president in 2012 and 2016, announced her campaign with a three-and-a-half-minute video posted to her social media where she declared “the political system is broken” and laid out her plan for combating climate change, creating an “economic bill of rights” that guarantees jobs, healthcare, and housing, and “abolishing” student debt.

In 2016, Stein was blamed for drawing traditionally Democrat voters away from Hillary Clinton in key swing states, thus helping Trump win the election. “Don’t write her off – she’s not going to win, but she’s a spoiler,” Megyn said. “She spoiled it for Hillary, so she’s important.”

Kirk said her campaign video already proves what a threat she could be to Biden. “She’s showing imagery of the Palestinian protesters being arrested – that’s a big deal for [Democrats],” he explained. “Understand that Jill Stein is going to get a boost because a lot of people in the Democratic base are pissed at Biden. There’s a reason why she put that imagery in there.”

The RFK, Jr. Factor

Kennedy initially entered the 2024 race as a Democrat challenger to President Biden alongside Marianne Williamson. When it became clear the Democratic National Committee would not allow for a primary process, he chose to run as an independent. 

Even though Kennedy was polling anywhere from 10 to 20 percent against Biden in polls of likely Democrat voters, Kirk believes he actually poses more of a threat to the Republican Party – specifically Trump. “I will die on this hill – I think RFK hurts Trump,” he said. “I’ve said this to the Trump team. I see it firsthand. I think RFK hurts Donald Trump far more than he hurts Joe Biden.”

Kirk said Kennedy’s outspokenness on COVID-19 and government overreach are attractive to many GOP voters. “Donald Trump is running a race of saying, ‘low trust of institutions,’ ‘the DOJ is corrupt,’ ‘the FBI is corrupt,’ ‘the country’s going to hell,’” he explained. “RFK is saying that the vaccine companies, and the pharmaceutical companies, and the corporations are corrupt, so you have two ‘low trust of institution’ candidates that are going to be competing for those voters.”

Alternatively, Biden is a “high trust of institutions candidate,” Kirk noted. “What’s incredible is Joe Biden’s mantra, attitude, vibe and messaging is identical to George W. Bush’s messaging in 2004,” he added.

No Labels

Another potential foible for the two-party system is No Labels – a upstart party that is spending millions of dollars to get itself on the ballot in all 50 states, though it has not committed to actually nominating a ticket.

With Manchin announcing his retirement from the Senate and plans to travel the country “to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together,” many believe he could be headed for a No Labels run. Rumored running mates include Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who shared in September that he would not seek a second term.

In Kirk’s view, there is a lot at stake. “I think No Labels hurts both Biden and Trump,” he said. “What if [Romney] wins Utah? What if he wins a state that has six electoral votes? That’s not unrealistic.” He also believes states like Nevada, Arizona, and even Pennsylvania could be in play. “It’s conceivable Mitt Romney or Joe Manchin – they’re not going to get to 270, but they’re enough to play spoiler.” 

The question is: “Spoiler for whom,” he added.

2024 Strategy

While it remains to be seen how these third party candidates impact the 2024 election, Kirk said one thing is for certain: Democrats will not be able to employ same strategy they did in 2020. “What the Democrats did in 2020 was so smart,” he said. “They created the European equivalent of a vote of no confidence against Donald Trump.”

As Kirk explained, “very few people voted for Joe Biden.” Instead, ”they voted against Donald Trump and the pressure cooker that was created around him – COVID death tolls on CNN, race riots, disorder in the country… the kind of idea that the country was falling apart,” he said. Biden was pitched  as “kind of a return to normalcy” and “return to unity,” Kirk noted, and negative stories like Hunter Biden’s laptop were suppressed to “keep Joe Biden largely untouched.”

It worked, in Kirk’s view, because Trump lacked his “outsider” status as the incumbent. “Donald Trump is much better as an outsider insurgent candidate than an incumbent candidate – that’s my personal opinion,” he concluded. “He’s much better at calling out the flaws and criticizing an incumbent than defending a record.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Kirk by tuning in to episode 667 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.