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Shadow Candidates: A “Third Option” for the U.S. Presidency

Just a few months remain until the final stage of the world’s most captivating election. In November, all eyes will be on the United States to see who will occupy the White House.

Trump and Biden

Since the start of the election campaigns last year, the number of candidates has steadily decreased, narrowing the race to just six candidates. All of them operate in the shadow of the same two men who competed in 2020: President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Kennedy Jr.

In the Republican Party, Trump has dominated the race, leading almost all of his competitors to withdraw before Super Tuesday. Despite ongoing legal trials, the former president still maintains a large and extremely committed base of supporters.

Similarly, Biden faced some challengers in the Democratic primaries but managed to secure his control over the party, according to The New York Times.

Amid concerns about his advanced age, which makes him the oldest president in history, Biden has portrayed himself as the protector of democracy and stability following the tumultuous tenure of his predecessor. His campaign focuses on his party’s achievements, such as a major infrastructure bill and support for abortion rights.

Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy Jr. might be the most threatening candidate to both Biden and Trump, as there are fears he could draw away electoral votes. He comes from a prominent Democratic family but holds conservative positions that resonate with Republicans on certain issues.

Kennedy is the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and was an environmental lawyer who helped clean up the Hudson River. Initially, he ran within the Democratic Party before announcing in October that he would run as an independent.

Kennedy Jr. is also a prominent anti-vaccine activist, having promoted claims linking childhood vaccines to autism and opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic mitigation measures.

His anti-vaccine campaign has angered his close-knit political family, with several family members publicly supporting Biden.

Cornel West

Cornel West has taught at Yale, Princeton, and Harvard universities, and is currently a professor of philosophy at Union Theological Seminary. He is known for his progressive activism, including sharp criticisms of former Democratic President Barack Obama.

Initially, West announced his candidacy through the People’s Party, a third party led by a former staffer of Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders. He then stated he would seek the Green Party’s nomination before ultimately running as an independent.

Jill Stein

Jill Stein is a physician who ran for president with the Green Party in 2012 and 2016. This year, she is making her third attempt with the same party.

In the video launching her campaign, Stein called for an “Economic Bill of Rights,” which includes the right to work, healthcare, housing, food, and education. She also highlighted her support for combating climate change and protecting abortion and transgender rights.

In 2016, Stein received about 1.4 million votes, leading some Democrats to blame her for drawing support away from Hillary Clinton in critical states.

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