Stein is latest in a series of mostly leftist figures to announce candidacies with the potential to erode Biden’s core support.
A new front opened in the growing threats to Joe Biden’s presidency on Tuesday when the left-wing environmentalist Jill Stein formally launched her third presidential bid in an online conversation with two fellow progressive activists.
Stein, 73, who is bidding to become the US Green party’s nominee, is the latest in a series of mostly leftist figures to announce candidacies with the potential to erode Biden’s core support in an expected re-match against Donald Trump in next year’s poll.
Having previously announced her candidacy with a video posted on X, formerly Twitter, she gave added substance to her campaign in a live Zoom conversation with Chris Smalls, a US trade union organiser for Amazon workers, and Miko Peled, an Israeli-born pro-Palestinian activist.
“This is all about our community rising up for our higher values,” Stein said. “This is a totally unprecedented political moment.”
The choice of protagonists appeared designed to signal key themes in Stein’s candidacy – workers’ rights, high living costs, and US support for Israel, all issues where Biden is showing vulnerability among his voter base.
“On all these issues, we’re in the target hairs,” Stein said. “We need to start building an America that works for all of us and that includes a living working wage … a Green New Deal … an economic bill of rights. We can end endless wars which don’t solve anything.”
Stein’s entry into the race has special resonance because of her supposedly decisive role in tipping battleground states to Trump in his 2016 presidential election victory over Hillary Clinton.
While winning just 1.4m votes nationwide, Stein won more votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan than Trump’s narrow victory margins, prompting many analysts to conclude that her presence on the ballot was decisive in drawing progressive voters away from Clinton.
Stein also stood as the Green’s candidate in the 2012 election, when she won just over 400,000 votes nationally and was not thought to have played a decisive role in President Barack Obama’s victory over the Republican, Mitt Romney.
Her attempt to earn the Green’s nomination in 2024 follows the decision last month by the party’s original likely nominee, Cornel West, to leave the party and run as an independent.
Both figures join a growing field of purported third party or independent candidates amid growing signs of voter dissatisfaction at the prospect of a repeat of the 2020 presidential race between Biden and Trump.
With the exception of Robert F Kennedy Jr – son of the late attorney general, whose anti-vaccine stance is thought to be attractive to voters on the right – most non-mainstream candidates are thought to pose a greater threat to Biden than Trump, who is far ahead of other candidates to win the Republican nomination.
Biden, who turned 81 this week, faces growing concerns over his age – even though he is just four years older than Trump – and rumbling economic discontent. A recent poll showed Biden trailing his predecessor in five out of six battleground states that he won in 2020.
The president’s path to re-election could become more complicated still if Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator for West Virginia, decides to run as an independent centrist candidate after announcing last week that he would not seek re-election to the Senate.
Manchin has fueled speculation about a presidential run after announcing plans to travel the country to explore the possibility of “creating a movement to mobilise the middle”.
Biden also faces a primary challenge from within his own party in the shape of the Democratic congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who has announced that he will run against the president.
Stein, who is Jewish, has attacked Biden’s unstinting support for Israel in its response to the 7 October attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 people. She has called for a ceasefire to the Israeli military offensive in Gaza, a stance that could potentially gain her support in Michigan, a battleground state containing many ethnic Arab voters who have become disenchanted with Biden’s pro-Israel posture.
In an interview with Newsweek, she warned that Biden’s support for Israel risked nuclear war. She also called Israel an “apartheid state” and said it was committing “genocide” in Gaza, where more than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed since the country launched its military assault in retaliation for Hamas’s attack.
In her campaign video, launched on 9 November, Stein, a medical doctor, called both the Democratic and Republican parties “a threat to our democracy”.
“People are tired of being thrown under the bus by wealthy elites and their bought politicians,” she said. “The political system is broken. We need a party that serves the people. I’m running for president to offer that choice for the people.”
Source: The Gurdian