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By Ted Glick —

So what’s the state of the horse race for the Presidency? I’ve done a little research, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

I looked at the polling results for the first three weeks of May at the Real Clear Politics website by pollsters who gave the option of not just Biden and Trump but Kennedy, West and Stein. There are six polls which did this: Fox, The Economist, I&I/TIPP, USA Today, ABC and NPR. When you count up and average the numbers, what you get is Trump and Biden each at about 41%, Kennedy at 8%, West at 1.5% and Stein at 1%.

Of course, under the USA’s severely antiquated political system, who wins the popular vote doesn’t determine the winner; it’s the Electoral College. But these polling numbers do give a pretty decent sense of the state of play 5 ½ months before the big November 5th election. Here’s how I’d summarize it:

-It’s very much a toss-up between Trump and Biden, which is marginally better for Biden than it was a couple of months ago before his State of the Union speech.

-Kennedy’s campaign is not resonating with the vast majority of voters. Prior to this month’s polling results, he was sometimes at 12% or even higher.

-As has been true for every Green Party Presidential candidate since Ralph Nader’s campaign in 2000, it is likely to get no more than 1% of the vote (their 2020 candidate, Howie Hawkins, got 1/3 of a percent). And it looks similar for West.

If you’re a Stein or West supporter, these are not happy results. On the other hand, they are certainly the only ones who are consistently Left in their positions on issues. They are both strong on the need for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, an end to US military support for this genocidal war, etc. If you are progressive and believe that taking the right position on that issue and on other issues is the sole criterion used in deciding whom to vote for, one of them is your candidate.

As far as Kennedy, I would not be surprised if he ends up getting no more than 4-5% of the vote, possibly less. His support comes from both progressives and conservatives. I hope that many of those on the Left who are supporting him right now end up not voting for him and that all of those on the Right who support him continue their support all the way to the voting booth since it would take votes away from Trump.

It’s a fact that, historically, third party Presidential candidates who have no chance of winning usually see their support drop precipitously as election day nears and the handwriting is on the wall. A prime example is Nader in 2000, who I supported, so I know that three days before the election the latest polls had him at 5% of the vote. But on election day he ended up getting just 2.7%.

There is a way Stein or West could try to increase their voting percentages. They could start saying publicly that they appreciate the great danger Trump represents and, accordingly, despite their deep problems with Joe Biden, their campaigns will take a different approach toward battleground states compared to other states. They could say that they will not campaign in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia or North Carolina and that in those states they encourage their supporters to let their conscience be their guide as far as who they vote for. They would then campaign solely in the other states, which is a big majority of them, where there’s a near certainty based on past election results that either Trump or Biden will win—states like California, New York, most deep South, Rocky Mountain and New England states.

This is not a new idea. I was one of the Green Party members who in 2004-5 began to put it forward as an approach that took into account the 18th century, US electoral college reality of who wins elections and the desirability of organizing under Democratic rule as we build toward an independent progressive movement to eventually win political power. Twenty years later, after five very weak showings in the GP’s Presidential vote totals, national GP leaders have consciously rejected this tactic, seeing it as an unprincipled and opportunistic capitulation to the two-party duopoly.

I wish Cornell West would take an approach different than the GP. Maybe his taking the lead on this question would have an impact on the GP finally changing their tactics to adjust to the unjust, US electoral college, non-proportional way of electing Presidents.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution.



IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.