Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Independent Candidacy: A Threat to Biden and Trump?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s candidacy in the 2024 presidential election poses a significant challenge to both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, threatening to draw voters away from both major candidates and potentially alter the outcome in key swing states

by Sededin Dedovic
SHARE
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Independent Candidacy: A Threat to Biden and Trump?
© Mario Tama / Getty Images

There are few topics on which the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden can agree. One of them is the candidacy of the lawyer and activist with a famous political pedigree, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Both Biden's and Trump's election teams see Kennedy as a potential threat who could disrupt their plans and draw voters away, reports Voice of America.

About half of registered voters told pollsters that if given the chance, they would replace both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump with someone else on this year's ballot. Enter Robert Kennedy Jr. "If you imagine what this country will look like in November, whether President Trump or President Biden wins, the divisions will continue, the anger, bitterness, chaos, polarization will only worsen.

The only way to end this is through my successful candidacy," Kennedy stated at a campaign rally. Kennedy, whose hoarse voice is due to an incurable neurological disorder, was not deterred by his inability to defeat Biden in the Democratic Party primaries.

He is running as an independent candidate. "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will not be the next president of America," says Georgetown University professor Hans Noel, echoing the consensus among political scientists. However, what worries both Biden's and Trump's election teams is the possibility that Kennedy's name will be on the ballot in six so-called swing states, where just a few thousand votes for him could change the outcome in that state.

"... could change the outcome of the election in that state. And then, of course, that changes the direction of that state. If the state is large enough, and the final election results are quite close, as we expect, that could change the outcome of the race," notes Noel.

"I will be on the ballot in every state. I will be on the ballot in every state by July," Kennedy promised in an interview. This candidate has one advantage over other third-party candidates who are also competing in some states – a recognizable name.

His father was Bobby Kennedy, the frontrunner in the Democratic Party primaries in 1968, before he was assassinated.

MAY 13: Independent Presidential candidate Robert F.

Kennedy Jr. speaks to attendees during a campaign rally at Brazos Hall on M© Brandon Bell / Getty Images

His uncle was President John Kennedy, who was assassinated while in office in 1963. "The Kennedy family is not at all pleased that he is running and has made that clear on multiple occasions," points out Professor Noel.

For example, they did so at an event where Kennedy family members stood by President Biden, including Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.' s sister. "We want to be crystal clear that as far as we are concerned, the best way forward for America is to re-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for another four years," said Kerry.

Kennedy's controversial beliefs about vaccines, the origins of COVID-19, and the assassination of his father and uncle have attracted some supporters, Professor Noel notes. "Kennedy is currently much more popular among Republicans than Democrats.

But that's mainly because he is a Democrat, or former Democrat, who says negative things about other Democrats. Republicans like to hear that and find it interesting. But they won't vote for him instead of Donald Trump." Kennedy's team declined a request for the candidate or his associate to speak to Voice of America, stating that the "campaign has decided to only give interviews to American media addressing an American audience at this time." It seems Kennedy's campaign has somewhat alarmed Democrats, who are striving to gain the favor of "third parties," those who could support the Democratic candidate Joe Biden or the Republicans and their increasingly likely candidate Donald Trump.

Biden and Trump, who are heading into a "rematch" of the 2020 election, are largely unpopular with the American public and will have to face many voters who are not enthusiastic about either of them. Kennedy is a descendant of a famous, influential, and wealthy Democratic family, with his father, Robert F.

Kennedy, having been a U.S. senator, attorney general, and presidential candidate, and his uncle, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Both were assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was a teenager when his father, known as RFK, was killed during the 1968 presidential campaign.

RFK Jr. built his own reputation as an activist, writer, and lawyer fighting for environmental causes such as clean water. Kennedy, a former Democrat, announced his vice-presidential pick in Oakland, California. "Nicole and I have both left the Democratic Party.

Our values have not changed. The Democratic Party has," Kennedy said. Without party support, Kennedy faces a tough task of entering the election race due to different rules in 50 states. Kennedy named his vice-presidential candidate because almost half of the states require presidential candidates to do so before even entering the election race and earning the right to be on the ballot, reports Al Jazeera.

Joe Biden Donald Trump
SHARE