In a surprising twist, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the multi-hatted contender in the 2024 presidential race, is gearing up to add yet another role to his rather eclectic political resume: that of an independent presidential candidate. The gravel-voiced 69-year-old scion of the famous Kennedy family has hinted at an upcoming major announcement in Philadelphia, where he will be speaking about a “sea change in American politics” and the part that both he and his supporters play in this transformation.
Kennedy’s bid for the Democratic nomination has struggled to gain much momentum, but he has managed to siphon off an average of 15% of the Democratic vote from President Biden. He claims to be the victim of an unfair deal from the Democratic National Committee, which seems desperate to smoothly crown Biden as the nominee despite concerns about his approval ratings and mental fitness.
The big question now is whether Kennedy’s independent bid will threaten Biden or former President Donald Trump more if they were to face off again. According to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Kennedy’s appeal lies in appealing to a range of people who are disillusioned with Biden but would never vote for Trump. This means that Biden should be more worried about losing support to Kennedy, especially given his bold positions on dismantling the deep state and fighting for medical freedom.
Kennedy’s platform includes raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, expanding free health care for children, reducing mortgage rates, empowering unions, securing the southern border, redirecting military spending, making corporations pay more taxes, and ending U.S. involvement in Ukraine. His campaign has released a poll suggesting that Kennedy would pose a greater threat to Trump in the general election.
However, Democrats are growing increasingly concerned about Kennedy’s potential impact. Many fear that, with his famous family name and progressive tendencies, he poses a serious threat to Biden’s reelection. Liberal scholar Lawrence Tribe has even warned that Kennedy’s substantial campaign funding and strong connections could lead to a Trump victory and the downfall of the republic.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has worn a lot of hats in the 20204 presidential race: vaccine skeptic, anti-war champion and environmental warrior — as well as shirtless gym rat and backflip master. https://t.co/JbArJrETr2
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 6, 2023
Supporters of both Trump and Biden have speculated about the motivations behind Kennedy’s independent bid. Some believe that powerful figures like Elon Musk may be secretly backing him, while others think it’s all a ploy to undermine Biden. Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk argues that Kennedy’s presence on the ballot could actually hurt Republicans, despite him being labeled a libertarian.
Polls suggest that voters who have a positive view of Kennedy are more likely to vote for Trump, while those who dislike him lean towards Biden. The impact of independent candidates in closely contested states cannot be underestimated, as seen in previous elections. Although many believe Kennedy’s bid will fade over time, it’s worth watching his impact on voters who are reluctant to choose between the Democratic and Republican nominees.
In the end, only time will tell how much of a threat Kennedy poses to both Biden and Trump in the 2024 presidential race. But one thing is certain: the addition of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as an independent candidate is sure to inject some much-needed excitement and unpredictability into the race.