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.