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NEW MEMO: RFK Jr., Stein & West: Off the Debate Stage but Threatening to Reelect Trump




To: Interested Parties

From: Rahna Epting, Executive Director, MoveOn Political Action

RE: RFK Jr., Stein, & West: Off the Debate Stage but Threatening to Elect Trump

Date: June 27, 2024


Third-Party Presidential Candidates Are A Threat Democrats Cannot Ignore.    

With tonight’s debate, President Biden and Donald Trump will go toe-to-toe with dueling visions for our country—one a positive economic vision that will protect civil and reproductive rights, and the other an authoritarian hellscape that rips away the hard-fought progress we’ve won while tipping economic scales further toward billionaires. Simply put: We cannot go backward. We must go forward—and that means defeating Donald Trump at the ballot box in November. 

In what is already a difficult environment for any sitting president, President Biden has the distinct misfortune of competing against Trump with third-party spoiler candidates threatening to peel off just enough support to tilt the election Trump’s way. Just as Jill Stein and Gary Johnson did in 2016 and as Ralph Nader did in 2000.

Unfortunately, that is by design. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is receiving financial backing from Trump’s largest donor, to the tune of $25 million. Jill Stein, running almost openly as a puppet for Vladimir Putin, refuses to attack Trump—saving barbs solely for President Biden. Meanwhile, Cornel West is actively accepting help from GOP operatives to get on the ballot in multiple states

Trump has even gone so far as to praise West and Stein for the votes they will assuredly take from President Biden, and in doing so, he is saying the quiet part out loud: third-party candidates are core to his electoral strategy.

To be clear, RFK Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornel West have no chance of winning the presidency, and their presence in the race will continue to be a boon to Trump—and he knows it. A vote for any of those candidates will move us perilously closer to a second Trump presidency, in which our democracy may not survive. 

The stakes could not be higher, and that’s why we are sounding the alarm and fighting back. In 2000 and 2016, Democrats saw the disastrous effect third-party candidates can have on an election’s outcome. Moreover, our entire country felt the consequences of sliding-door moments that took our country offtrack. We cannot afford to make those mistakes again.


Spoiler Candidates Are Getting On Battleground Ballots—With Gop Help.  

In states across the country, third-party candidates are working hand in glove with shady Trump operatives to help get RFK Jr., Stein, and West on the ballot. Republican involvement signals that their true intent is to damage President Biden’s reelection chances by peeling away thousands of votes where the margins are already razor thin. By accepting Republican support, those same third-party campaigns are betraying the very voters they are courting. We will continue to monitor, call out, and publicly challenge the association between third-party candidates and Republican operatives and donors—to make it clear what actual team these candidates are playing for.

Here are the latest updates on ballot access: 

  • Just last night, the North Carolina election board voted 3-2 to halt RFK Jr.’s and Cornel West’s efforts to establish new political parties pending further scrutiny. 
  • Kennedy qualified for the ballot in Michigan by becoming the nominee of the obscure “Natural Law Party” at a two-person nominating convention led by a part-time magician. 
  • RFK Jr. is suing the Nevada secretary of state; meanwhile, the Nevada Democratic Party is challenging his signatures, as well as Stein’s.
  • RFK Jr. faces a lawsuit in New Jersey seeking to keep him off the ballot.
  • West has been caught in North Carolina and Virginia using Republican operatives to collect signatures to help get his We the People party onto the ballot.
  • The process to collect signatures for independent candidates in Wisconsin begins on July 1.


RFK Jr. Poll Numbers Are Fading—But It Will Take Only 1 Or 2% To Help Trump Win.  

    • RFK Jr.’s favorable rating with registered Democrats was a dismal 9%, but he enjoyed 33% favorability among Independents—suggesting a route to crushing his support will flow through purple voters.
  • However, the seven battleground states were each decided by less than 3% in 2020, including three states (PA, MI, WI) decided by less than 1%. 


Recent Press Coverage For Spoiler Candidates Is —Yikes!

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 

  • The Supreme Court rejects COVID-19 vaccine appeals from a nonprofit founded by RFK Jr. One of the legal challenges was related to the FDA’s authorization to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to children.


Jill Stein


Cornel West

  • According to NBC Washington, the Cornel West campaign is working with Trump operatives in Virginia to get West on the ballot by lying to voters and collecting signatures under the false pretense of getting “Donald Trump off the ballot.”
  • West was also caught relying on Republican operatives to get on the ballot in North Carolina, where “volunteers” were asking voters outside Trump events to help West siphon votes from President Biden. 


We Ignore History At Our Peril. 

RFK Jr., Stein, and West cannot win the presidency, but in a race that may be decided by 1 or 2% in a half dozen states, their impact will be outsized, and their threat must be mitigated. We will keep fighting to make sure Americans understand what is truly at stake: A vote for RFK Jr., Stein, or West is the exact same as a vote for Trump.

This is an all-hands-on-deck moment that requires support from everyone in the anti-Trump coalition to defeat the third-party threat and deny Donald Trump a second, more dangerous shot at power.


MoveOn is celebrating 25 years of people-powered progress this year. For more than a generation, MoveOn has built independent political power and mobilized the left to elect Democrats and enact progressive change. MoveOn is a bulwark against the radical right, channeling our collective voices to drive progressive foreign policy, protect democracy, and advance justice for all.