Democrats ripped for trying to 'kill democracy' with effort to protect Biden, silence third-party candidates

FIRST ON FOX: Democrats are taking heat over their efforts to protect President Biden’s re-election chances by trying to silence third-party and independent presidential candidates.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s campaign lashed out at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over its creation of a new team to actively combat her candidacy, as well as that of independent presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Dr. Cornel West.

“Rather than try to take away ballot options that would better represent the interests of the American public, perhaps the Democratic Party should focus on passing legislation that would actually help struggling people such as a universal single-payer healthcare program or guaranteed housing,” Stein campaign manager Jason Call told Fox News Digital during an interview.

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Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein rides the Bart from Oakland to San Francisco during her swing in California. (Getty Images)

“Sadly, both major political parties in America are fully beholden to the corporate interests which fund the political system,” he said.

Call argued that third parties, particularly the Green Party, were “a challenge to that system of corporate hegemony which seeks to deny the general public their own collective power,” and went on to flip Democrats’ ad nauseam rhetoric about “saving democracy” against them.

“If this is the plan Democrats intend to use, to tie up third-party campaigns with trumped-up legalese, or to change rules midstream because they are afraid of losing voters to candidates who better represent their values and priorities, I don’t know how that can be considered an exercise in democracy. The Democrats appear willing to kill democracy in order to ‘save it,'” he said.

Political strategists and campaign experts from both parties also weighed in on the DNC’s efforts, agreeing that the presence of third-party candidates on the ballot largely posed more of a threat to Biden than former President Donald Trump, but differing on Democrats’ approach.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and President Biden. (FOX News)

“There’s no question that third-party candidates are a concern. Look at the impact Jill Stein had in 2016,” Democratic strategist and Fox News host Jessica Tarlov said, referencing Stein drawing votes from then-Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in key battleground states.

Polls show Stein, West and Kennedy would pull significant support from both Biden and Trump, although Biden appears to be more at risk of losing votes with their presence. Because of that, the DNC announced last week the formation of its official committee to wage war on those candidates, including with legal challenges and opposition research.

Some view the DNC’s new project as akin to the efforts by many on the left to target Trump with lawsuits, investigations and criminal prosecutions.

“This goes hand-in-glove with their attempts to put Donald Trump in jail or at least keep him off the ballot in as many places as they can,” said Tim Murtaugh, a Republican strategist who served as communications director for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

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From left: Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Jill Stein, President Biden and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Fox News Digital)

“They know Joe Biden is a disaster and a political liability to himself, so they’re trying to eliminate all his competition, whether it’s Trump or Kennedy or anybody else,” he added.

Tarlov took a different approach. She admitted that although Kennedy being on the ballot “arguably hurts Trump more,” he would still inevitably “siphon off some Democratic votes.”

“We will do best if it’s a clean Biden vs. Trump race, and it’s very smart of the DNC to be focused on the issue,” she said.

But Murtaugh, like Call, flipped Democrats’ usual “saving democracy” rhetoric against them. “This is authoritarian, dictator kind of stuff, driving toward single-candidate elections. ‘Destroying democracy to save democracy’ is a heck of a campaign strategy, but that’s what they’re doing,” he said.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Kennedy, West and the DNC for comment. The DNC previously confirmed to Fox the reporting on its anti-third-party efforts, but did not expand upon the ultimate direction it would go.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on X at @BGillespieAL.

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