The 2024 Election And The ‘Spoiler’ Hysteria

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Decrying “spoiler” candidates who may “split the vote” in 2024 misses the point that Americans are desperate for an alternative vision. Union ForwardRead More

America finds itself at a crossroads as the 2024 election approaches.

4th of July fireworks at the White House, July 2012 [Credit—Matthew Straubmuller, License—CC BY 2.0]

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Polling strongly suggests that Joe Biden and Donald Trump should have no chance of winning the 2024 election.

A clear and durable majority of Americans do not want either of these candidates to run in 2024, including 51 percent of Democrats who do not want Biden to run and one-third of Republicans who do not want Trump to run.

The Democratic and Republican primaries, however, are failing to reflect the electorate’s broad appetite for alternative voices.

As the Democratic Party maintains the increasingly untenable position that incumbent President Joe Biden should not face a contested primary for the party’s nomination—despite 79 percent of Americans who voted for Biden in 2020 agreeing that he should face debates—a string of recent indictments have only strengthened former President Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party.

If Biden and Trump emerge as the Democratic and Republican nominees, there is a growing chance that the 2024 election will feature three, four, or even five viable candidates.


As of August 2023, a group called No Labels and the Green Party are the leading contenders to nominate credible alternatives to Biden and Trump.

The Libertarian Party will select a nominee at its convention in May 2024, who could garner more support than in past years given the unique political environment.

The Forward Party, founded in fall 2021, will not nominate a candidate of its own for president in 2024, although it has not ruled out endorsing or working on behalf of another party’s candidate.

The American Solidarity Party, a Christian democratic party founded in 2011, selected a 2024 presidential nominee in June whose popular support remains to be seen.

Thus far, No Labels has earned ballot access in 10 states, Greens in 17, Libertarians in 31, and Solidarists in just 1.

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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin outside the U.S. capital [Source—Senate Democrats, License—CC BY 2.0]

I. No Labels

No Labels, a group founded in 2010 with the goal of supporting bipartisan lawmaking, appears to be in the best position to nominate a credible alternative candidate in 2024.

No Labels’ leadership team includes former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, former Senator Joe Lieberman, former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

Nancy Jacobson, No Labels’ co-founder and CEO, said in July that the group had nearly reached its fundraising goal of $70 million as an “insurance policy” to nominate a third candidate only if the major party nominees are excessively unappealing, as Biden and Trump would be.

No Labels released a “Common Sense Policy Booklet” in July 2023 following two years of conversations with and surveys of the American people.

The policy booklet covers an array of issues, including calls to balance the federal budget, to embrace both fossil fuels and renewables, to create affordable housing by building more homes, and to reform Social Security before the program reaches “fiscal insolvency.”

The group declines to disclose their donors on the basis that they are protecting donors’ privacy from a “coordinated campaign to intimidate and bully No Labels supporters and pressure them to abandon our movement,” which they are free to do as a nonprofit rather than a political party.

It remains unclear who would appear on a No Labels 2024 ticket, although West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has publicly flirted with leading the ticket.

Cornel West at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona [Credit—Gage Skidmore, License—CC BY-SA 2.0]

II. The Green Party

While No Labels garners headlines and tens of millions of dollars, the Green Party is also gearing up for an historic and fiercely anti-imperialist campaign with philosopher and political activist Dr. Cornel West.

His campaign is built upon three major policy pillars, the first of which is to dismantle the U.S. empire.

West proposes slashing military spending, dismantling “non-defensive security alliances” including NATO, and breaking the link between U.S. foreign policy and corporate profits.

The second pillar of his campaign is to “unleash democracy” through substantial investments in America’s social well-being and electoral reforms including public financing of elections, ranked-choice voting (RCV), and the abolition of the Electoral College.

West hopes to provide Medicare for all, to decriminalize drugs, to end mass incarceration and reverse the militarization of policing, to make college tuition free and to pass reparations for past injustices against black Americans.

The third and final pillar of his campaign is to avert “escalating ecological catastrophe” by embracing “regenerative and renewable energy” over fossil fuels.

West is the most high-profile alternative candidate in decades, raising the possibility that the Green Party could pose a more credible challenge to the two-party system in 2024 than ever before.

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Former U.S. Representative Justin Amash (Libertarian) at Revolution 2022 hosted by Young Americans for Liberty, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Kissimmee, Florida [Credit—Gage Skidmore, License—CC BY-SA 2.0]

III. The Libertarian Party

Similar to the Green Party, the Libertarian Party has a unique opportunity to chart a new path for itself in 2024.

The 2024 election will be the first for the Libertarian Party under the control of the Mises Caucus, a group formed in 2017 that replaced the party’s previous leadership during the 2022 Libertarian convention.

The party does not shy away from controversial messaging, angering some Libertarians who believe that the party’s public image has suffered as a result.

In the months after the 2022 Mises Caucus takeover, the Libertarian Party of Virginia dissolved, the Libertarian Party of New Mexico voted to disaffiliate from the national party, and Libertarians in Massachusetts were split into two competing camps.

On the other hand, Libertarians are entering the 2024 election cycle after nearly doubling their number of elected officials in 2021 from approximately 150 to more than 300.

According to one poll, the presidential field is currently led by former vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee Joshua Smith and 2022 Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia Chase Oliver.

Joshua Smith’s platform is centered around ending America’s forever wars, closing down U.S. military bases abroad, launching investigations into the tyranny of the “Covid regime,” and ending the U.S. Federal Reserve System—as former Representative Ron Paul called for.

Chase Oliver’s platform is built upon promises to end the U.S. war on drugs and de-schedule cannabis, to end qualified immunity for federal law enforcement, and to end the forever wars in which the U.S. has been engaged for his entire adult life.

Smith and Oliver both pledge to pardon whistleblowers such as Julian Assange and to prioritize reversing the erosion of civil liberties from legislation like the Patriot Act.

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Andrew Yang at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Des Moines, Iowa [Credit—Gage Skidmore, License—CC BY-SA 2.0]

IV. The Forward Party

The Forward Party, founded in 2021, is approaching 2024 with a different set of priorities than No Labels, Greens and Libertarians.

Forwardists announced in April of this year that they will not nominate a presidential candidate in 2024.

Instead, the new party will be primarily focused on local elections, state elections, and electoral reforms designed to end the third party spoiler effect.

Forwardists champion three key electoral reforms that they hope will eliminate the third party spoiler effect, thus enabling alternative parties to compete on a level playing field with the two major parties.

First, the party calls for a replacement of America’s traditional choose-one voting system with one of three alternative voting methods: RCV, approval voting, or score-then-automatic-runoff (STAR) voting.

The mechanics of each voting method are different, but each one aims to reduce or eliminate the spoiler effect by enabling voters to rank, rate, or approve of multiple candidates instead of being forced to select just one.

Second, the party supports a nonpartisan primary system in which all candidates from all parties compete in one primary election instead of holding separate contests for each party, similar to the top-two primary system used in California and the top-four primary system used in Alaska.

Third, Forwardists support independent redistricting commissions, which are designed to hand redistricting power to a nonpartisan or bipartisan commission which, in theory, would not have the same incentive to gerrymander districts as state legislatures do.

As of August 2023, more than 30 elected officials across the country have registered as Forwardists or publicly “affiliated” with the party’s goals.

The Forward Party has not ruled out endorsing or working on behalf of another party’s presidential candidate in 2024.

V. The American Solidarity Party

The American Solidarity Party, founded in 2011, stands out among minor parties for its unique mix of Christian democratic values with left-wing economics.

Solidarists nominated Peter Sonski, treasurer of Connecticut Regional School District 17’s Board of Education, as their presidential candidate in June of this year.

Sonski has more than twelve years of political experience as a member of his municipal Boards of Finance and Selectmen.

His Christian faith informs his platform and policies, including his decades of work in the pro-life movement and his opposition to capital punishment.

As the Solidarist nominee, Sonski hopes to advance an agenda based on strong families and an ownership economy in which local businesses and producers can flourish.

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Abraham Lincoln memorial, Oslo, Norway [Source—National Library of Norway, Public Domain]

The last time that America’s two-party system split apart was in the 1850s when the abolitionist Republican Party arose to replace the collapsing Whig Party.

The 1860 presidential election reflected this breakdown with four major candidates splitting the vote, enabling Abraham Lincoln to win the White House with less than 40 percent of the popular vote.

Today’s two-party system faces the prospect of a similar breakdown in 2024.

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Unsurprisingly, alternative presidential candidates are being met with lawsuits to block them from the ballot and relentless criticism from mainstream media outlets who fear a split in the vote.

There is growing solidarity among minor parties, however, on the necessity for key electoral reforms that can weaken or eliminate the spoiler effect.

These suggested reforms includes, but are not limited to, alternative voting methods (such as RCV, approval, or STAR voting), proportional representation, and campaign finance reform.

Libertarians’ success in doubling their total number of elected officials in 2021 and Forwardists’ success in convincing more than 30 elected officials to affiliate with them provide blueprints for growth that could be applied across the country.

Will 2024 be the year the two-party system is finally challenged?

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American Solidarity Party Gains Presidential Ballot Status for 2024 in Arkansas — Ballot Access News

Ballot Access — Green Party

Biden Voters Want President To Face Debate in 2024 — Newsweek

Biden world moves to stave off Cornel West and No Labels threat — POLITICO

Common Sense Policy Booklet — No Labels

Division of Elections to begin Implementation of Top Four Primary and Ranked Choice Voting — Division of Elections, State of Alaska

How We Got Here — Libertarian Association of Massachusetts

Joe Manchin and Jon Huntsman flirt with third-party 2024 ticket in New Hampshire — NBC News

Latest Polls: 2024 Democratic primary — FiveThirtyEight

Latest Polls: 2024 Republican primary — FiveThirtyEight

Libertarian National Convention 2024 — Libertarian Party

Libertarian Party of Virginia Dissolves — Independent Political Report

Libertarian Party Shatters Records as Unprecedented Number of Libertarians Elected to Office — Libertarian Party

Libertarian Presidential Primary Poll — BetterBallotSC

Mises Caucus Takes Control of Libertarian Party — Reason

New Hampshire governor denounces tweets by state Libertarian party as ‘horribly insulting’ — The Boston Globe

No Labels is getting on state ballots, drawing a lawsuit and concerns about a spoiler — NPR

No Labels Movement Wins Ballot Access in 10 States — No Labels

On Libertarian Party 2024 Presidential Ballot Access — Independent Political Report

Poll: Most Americans don’t want Biden or Trump to run — AXIOS

Press Release: The Forward Party Executive Board Issues Statement on 2024 Presidential Election — Forward Party

Primary Elections in California — California Secretary of State

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico (LPNM) Responds to Letter from LNC — Libertarian Party of New Mexico