In American politics, sometimes you have to change the game if you want to get ahead. That’s just what Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is banking on as he drops his party. Here is the full story.
Big Plans and Big Shoes to Fill
Once upon a time, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., was a respected environmental lawyer who carried the last public vestige of his esteemed family lineage everywhere he went.
That face and that name made it clear who he was.
But then, as the world struggled to come to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future might hold, Kennedy forged a different path.
No longer was he just the guy who reminded so many of the promises his father and uncle once made before they were cut down in the prime of their lives.
Pandemic Conspiracy Theorist
This new Junior Kennedy was something altogether different, and he had people on both ends of the political spectrum scratching their heads.
As nations all around the globe went on lockdown, and as mask mandates became part of everyday life, Kennedy was one of the voices who raised objections to the new governmental control.
And then, when the vaccines started to roll out, Kennedy’s voice got even louder. And, to many observers, more off the mark.
Eventually, Kennedy jumped into the anti-vaxxing fray with both feet and became one of the most outspoken, and maybe most unlikely, conspiracy theorists you’d ever hope to meet.
No Longer a “Golden Child”
Along the way, Kennedy managed to alienate both members of his gilded Camelot family and the liberal Democrats who once counted them as among their golden children.
But even with a growing rift between him and his old-school allies, Kennedy thought he had something to offer his fellow Americans and a duty to uphold.
So Kennedy announced that he was running for president in 2024, seeking to nab the Democratic nomination away from President Joe Biden.
Now, though, Kennedy says he realizes the cards are stacked against him and that the Democratic National Committee won’t let him land the nomination, no matter what.
Candidacy as a Democrat
Heck, according to Kennedy, the Biden administration won’t acknowledge his candidacy or even say his name in political circles.
So, in early October, Kennedy decided to take another road. In particular, he announced that he was dropping his Democratic affiliation and running as an independent in 2024.
And, suddenly, the entire Presidential race could be turned on its head before it really ever begins.
In the early days after Kennedy declared his candidacy as a Democrat, some polls showed that as many as 20% of the party’s voters preferred him over Biden.
Playing a Different Game
That wouldn’t have mattered too much in the long run if Biden had dispatched Kennedy by defeating him in the primaries and taking the nomination.
But now, if Kennedy manages to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states, he’ll be playing a different game.
That’s because those 20 percent of Democrats would be free to vote for Kennedy instead of Biden in the general election.
And, with a tight race against former President Donald Trump already shaping up, that swing could spell disaster for Biden.
His Broad Appeal
The saving grace for the sitting president could be Kennedy’s broad appeal to voters in both parties who feel like they don’t have a solid candidate to support.
Can he draw enough waffling Trump voters to balance out the grief he’ll cause Biden?
A lot will change between now and November 2024, but for the moment, Kennedy has set himself on a course to become the most important independent candidate since Ross Perot back in 1992.
And as supporters of King George Bush, the First will tell you, every vote lost to an indy is like a tiny knife cut. Add them all up, and the bleeding can be fatal.
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