Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Enters 2024 Presidential Race, Complicating Biden's Re-Election Bid

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the legendary Democrat, has entered the 2024 U.S. presidential race as an independent candidate, potentially undermining President Joe Biden's re-election bid. The Democratic party is taking extraordinary steps to counter his appeal and preserve their base.

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Rizwan Shah
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Enters 2024 Presidential Race, Complicating Biden's Re-Election Bid

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Enters 2024 Presidential Race, Complicating Biden's Re-Election Bid

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the legendary Democrat, has entered the 2024 U.S. presidential race as an independent candidate, potentially undermining President Joe Biden's re-election bid. Kennedy's progressive appeal to left-leaning voters and his views that align with some Trump supporters have raised concerns within the Democratic party.

Despite the Kennedy family's former efforts to discourage him from running and their formal endorsement of Biden, Kennedy has secured a spot on the ballot in key battleground states like Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. In Hawaii, his campaign successfully fended off an attempt by the state Democratic Party to disqualify his newly established 'We the People Party' from the ballot.

Democrats are taking extraordinary steps to prevent Kennedy from hindering their efforts to keep the White House, including rallying his family around Biden, dumping opposition research, and holding press briefings about how he helps former President Trump. The Democratic National Committee has dedicated a new department to helping stop Kennedy's White House bid, ensuring he plays by the rules and educating voters about his "radical positions."

Why this matters: Kennedy's candidacy could pose a significant threat to Biden in a low-enthusiasm, low-turnout race, as he could siphon away votes from dissatisfied voters who feel turned off by both Biden and Trump. The outcome of the 2024 presidential election could hinge on how effectively Democrats can counter Kennedy's appeal and preserve their base.

Kennedy's running mate, Silicon Valley attorney Nicole Shanahan, has contributed $2 million to the campaign, which Democrats view as the most helpful contribution to his bid. Kennedy has touted Shanahan's political outsider status and expertise in AI and chronic disease.

The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, where Kennedy worked as an attorney for decades, has taken out full-page newspaper ads in six battleground states urging him to drop out, calling his candidacy a "vanity" and "spoiler" campaign that could benefit Donald Trump. Twelve other national environmental groups have also denounced Kennedy's campaign, accusing him of rejecting science and making empty promises.

Kennedy acknowledged the endorsements for his political rival, likening the divide within his family to the political divisions across the country. He has raised conspiracy theories about vaccines and expressed distrust in the government, recently sparking controversy with his comments about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Kennedy's path now hinges on a more detailed state-by-state strategy, which ballot experts say is difficult but can be done with enough resources.

Key Takeaways

  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has entered the 2024 U.S. presidential race as an independent candidate.
  • Kennedy's candidacy raises concerns within the Democratic party, potentially undermining Biden's re-election.
  • Democrats are taking steps to counter Kennedy's appeal and prevent him from hindering their efforts.
  • Kennedy's running mate, Nicole Shanahan, has contributed $2 million to the campaign.
  • Kennedy's path hinges on a detailed state-by-state strategy, which experts say is difficult but possible.