December 4, 2023


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement might throw a monkey wrench into the 2024 presidential election.

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks throughout a marketing campaign occasion at Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Oct. 9. Matt Rourke/AP

Lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pivoted Monday, saying that he would now not run for president as a Democrat, as an alternative pursuing the Oval Workplace as an unbiased. Though Kennedy’s bid continues to be very a lot an extended shot, his transfer might have main implications on the race. 

Because the nation prepares for a probable rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in 2024, Kennedy seems able to relish the chance to make each events sweat. 

“The Democrats are frightened that I’m going to spoil the election for President Biden, and the Republicans are frightened that I’m going to spoil it for Trump,” he instructed a crowd of supporters in Philadelphia Monday. “The reality is, they’re each proper. My intention is to spoil it for each of them.”

Latest polling reveals that Biden and Trump each have a stable base of help inside their events and are neck-and-neck with one another. However 14% of voters say they dislike each of the main candidates, based on a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist ballot. That knowledge additionally reveals that 17% of voters would vote for a third-party candidate over both Biden or Trump. 

Third-party candidates have influenced elections prior to now. Inexperienced Get together candidate Ralph Nader, who in 2000 siphoned extra votes from Democrat Al Gore in Florida than Republican George W. Bush, arguably swung that election in Bush’s favor. In 2016, help for Inexperienced Get together candidate Jill Stein could have tilted the election in Trump’s favor in just a few key swing states. 

Kennedy’s unbiased marketing campaign might need equally large penalties, based on Thomas Whalen, an skilled in trendy American politics at Boston College. 

“RFK Jr. doubtlessly might have a huge effect in what absolutely goes to be an in depth presidential contest subsequent fall. He might play the function of spoiler, and at this level it could appear he’d draw extra voters from the Trump column resulting from his anti-vax views and weird conspiracy theories that are well-liked among the many Republican rank and file. Even when he attracts just one p.c of the favored vote in battleground states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that might be extremely vital,” Whalen stated. 

Kennedy’s conspiratorial views do look like extra interesting to Republican voters. In a hypothetical common election between Biden, Trump, and Kennedy, 9% of self-identified Democrats would vote for Kennedy in comparison with 13% of self-identified Republicans, based on a latest Reuters/Ipsos ballot. 

Republican officers are already denouncing Kennedy, telling voters that he shouldn’t be seen as an individual with conservative beliefs. 

“Make no mistake — a Democrat in Unbiased’s clothes continues to be a Democrat. RFK Jr. can’t cover from his report of endorsing Hillary, supporting the Inexperienced New Deal, combating towards the Keystone Pipeline, and praising AOC’s tax hikes — he’s your typical elitist liberal and voters received’t be fooled,” Republican Nationwide Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated in a press release Monday.

A College of New Hampshire survey from September discovered that 34% of registered Republican voters within the Granite State would both be “enthusiastic” or “glad” if Kennedy had been elected president, in comparison with solely 10% of registered Democratic voters. 

With this announcement, Kennedy might achieve a little bit of floor within the Rocky Mountain states and within the South, Whalen stated. 

The centrist group No Labels is flirting with mounting a presidential marketing campaign of its personal, worrying high Democrats who consider that candidate would pull voters away from Biden and hand the election to Trump. Allies of Biden are going all out to erode monetary and political help for the No Labels motion, The New York Occasions reported this week. 

Whalen stated that Kennedy’s choice to run as an unbiased didn’t come as a shock, as the shortage of enthusiasm amongst voters for Biden and Trump might impress Kennedy. 

“The voters is stressed and dissatisfied with the present frontrunners in each events. 2024 is shaping as much as be a change election. That may’t however assist a self-styled maverick outsider like RFK,” Whalen stated.