Skip to content

Will third-party candidates like RFK Jr. swing the presidential election? Here’s why it’s highly unlikely

People in this story

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks during a campaign event at Independence Mall, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Monday that he was switching parties to run for president as an independent rather than as a Democrat. Progressive activist Cornel West is also running as an independent, after initially planning to run for president as a member of the People’s Party and then the Green Party. Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, remains coy about a rumored third-party presidential run with the No Labels organization.

Will these candidacies swing the election? William Crotty, professor emeritus of political science at Northeastern, says no. “The American electorate is always angry, that’s not unusual. When the anger boils over into the third-party vote and influences the election, that is unusual, and that is pretty rare,” Crotty says. “It won’t happen this time.” 

Crotty says that the idea of a third party is kind of a misnomer, as there is no official “Third Party” under which all non-Democratic or non-Republican candidates run. Moreover, there is no consistent party ideology that non-Democratic or non-Republican candidates espouse.

Read more at Northeastern Global News.

More Stories

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, May 22, 2024. European Union countries Spain and Ireland as well as Norway announced Wednesday May 22, 2024 their recognition of a Palestinian state. Malta and Slovenia, which also belong to the 27-nation European Union, may follow suit amid international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip following Israel's offensive. (Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via AP)

Spain, Norway and Ireland recognize Palestinian statehood. How might the rest of Europe respond?

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the November 3 election. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)

Biden is losing (and Trump is gaining) support, especially among young voters, Northeastern-led research finds


ShotSpotter improves detection and response to gunfire, but doesn’t reduce crime, Northeastern research finds

All Stories