Going Rogue: RFK Jr. Ditches Democrats and Declares Independent Run for the White House

Monday evening on October 9th saw anti-vaccine activist and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dropping out of the race for the 2024 Democratic nomination in favor of an independent run. “I intend to wrest the reins of power from both parties and give it to the American people,” Kennedy told an audience of about 1,000 in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. 

RFK Jr. Favored by Republicans

Republicans are said to hold better favorability ratings of RFK Jr. than Democrats. Even Trump has said of Kennedy, “I like him a lot. I’ve known him a long time.”

It’s for this reason that some Republicans attacked RFK Jr. after his announcement out of fear that he’ll serve as a spoiler candidate for Trump. Kennedy actually welcomes the idea of being a spoiler, telling the Philadelphia crowd, “My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”

“A Vanity Project”?

In a statement, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said, “Voters should not be deceived by anyone who pretends to have conservative values, calling RFK Jr.’s campaign, “nothing more than a vanity project for a liberal Kennedy looking to cash in on his family’s name.”

Before Kennedy’s speech, the Republican National Committee published a fact sheet titled “Radical DEMOCRAT RFK Jr.” The list is a rundown of liberal politicians and ideas that RFK Jr. has at one point or another supported. Additionally, the document also enumerated Kennedy’s support of COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

Lacking Family Support

Meanwhile, a Democratic National Committee spokesman responded with an eye roll emoji when they were asked to comment on Kennedy’s announcement. And, in a joint statement, four of Kennedy’s eight surviving siblings denounced his candidacy and expressed sadness at the announcement.

“The decision of our brother Bobby to run as a third party candidate against Joe Biden is dangerous to our country,” the statement read. “Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment.”

Controversial Associations

Kennedy’s views on issues like abortion and vaccines kept him from gaining traction within the mainstream of the Democratic party. Nonetheless, Kennedy noted onstage that it was difficult for him to leave the party where his family maintained a political dynasty that spanned decades.

Still, the split seemed inevitable given Kennedy’s flirtations with right-wing and far-right figures in recent years. He’s made numerous appearances on Fox News, Alex Jones’ Info Wars, and headlined a stop on the ReAwaken America Tour, the Christian Nationalist protest movement organized by former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

No Mention of His Conspiratorial Views 

RFK Jr’s conspiratorial side did not make an appearance during his Philadelphia speech. There was no mention, for example, of his contention that the COVID-19 virus may have been designed to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people while targeting Caucasian and Black people.

Nor did he mention links between common childhood vaccines and autism, or the dangers of Wi-Fi, which Kennedy expounded upon during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience.

“Wi-Fi radiation opens up your blood-brain barrier, so all these toxins that are in your body can now go into your brain,” Kennedy said on the program. 

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