Trump’s staunchest allies see third-party candidates as his path to victory over Biden

Former President Donald Trump’s allies are seeking to bolster support for third-party candidates, particularly Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in an effort to draw voters away from President Joe Biden

Marketing Kennedy as a “champion for choice” for abortion and an environmental activist, Trump allies plan to highlight to Democrats that they have another choice on the ballot. Polling reveals that third-party candidates will play a pivotal role in the outcome of the election, particularly drawing more votes away from Biden than from Trump. 

“The path to victory here is clearly maximizing the reach of these left-wing alternatives,” Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist under Trump, told the New York Times

So far, the largest single donor to Kennedy’s biggest super PAC is Timothy Mellon, giving $20 million to Kennedy’s campaign efforts. Mellon is also the largest donor to Trump’s super PAC, according to the outlet, having given $15 million to MAGA Inc.

Bannon also pointed out how those following environmental issues closely, such as third-party presidential candidate Jill Stein, are privy to the fact that the oil production under the Biden administration is the highest it’s ever been.

“No Republican knows that oil production under Biden is higher than ever. But Jill Stein’s people do,” Bannon said. “Stein is furious about the oil drilling. The college kids are furious about it. The more exposure these guys get, the better it is for us.”

In 2016, Stein took votes away from Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, possibly costing Clinton the states and the election. Trump supporter Bernie Marcus reportedly helped financially boost Stein’s campaign that year. 

“There is no question that in a close presidential race, independent or minor party candidates can have a disproportionately large impact,” Roger Stone, Trump’s political adviser, told the outlet.

Polling from Quinnipiac University in March revealed that in a hypothetical five-way race between Trump, Biden, Kennedy, Stein, and Cornel West, Trump led the race by 1 percentage point, but in a race between just Trump and Biden, Biden led by 3 percentage points.

In addition to donating money to third-party candidates, Trump’s allies are working to ensure that they are able to get on state ballots. Conservative activist Scott Presler publicly reached out to Stein and West to offer his help.

Meanwhile, Democrats have asked a group of lawyers to see if independent candidates have done everything by the book in their quest to get on the ballots, particularly in swing states.

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The campaigns for third-party candidates such as Kennedy and Stein have bashed Biden and the Democratic National Committee for their actions, with Stein’s campaign manager telling the Washington Examiner, “We find it both offensive and pathetic that the Democrats are choosing to use their vast resources, acquired in large part through their donors in the fossil fuel industry and the war machine, to impede democracy rather than support it.”

Biden and Clinton reportedly discussed third-party and independent candidates and their repercussions for his campaign last fall during the former secretary of state‘s trip to the White House for a Japanese-sponsored art award ceremony.

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