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29 Sep, 2023 22:06

Kennedy plotting third-party presidential bid – media

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has reportedly decided to compete as an independent, potentially pulling votes away from incumbent Joe Biden
Kennedy plotting third-party presidential bid – media

US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has reportedly made plans to run as a third-party candidate, potentially shaking up the 2024 race for the White House by sapping Democrat votes away from President Joe Biden and boosting the odds of a Republican victory.

Kennedy, who is currently polling as the top challenger to Biden for the Democratic Party’s nomination, plans to announce his candidacy as an independent during an October 9 campaign event in Pennsylvania, Mediaite reported on Friday. Kennedy’s campaign will run commercials attacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to “pave the way” for the announcement, the media outlet said.

Kennedy has railed against the DNC for refusing to give him a fair opportunity to win the party’s nomination, and has criticized Biden for declining to approve US Secret Service protection for him during the campaign, despite numerous death threats. He is the son of 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy Jr., both of whom were assassinated.

“Bobby feels that the DNC is changing the rules to exclude his candidacy, so an independent run is the only way to go,” Mediaite cited a Kennedy campaign insider as saying. The New York Times reported last week that Kennedy had met with the chairman of the Libertarian Party, suggesting that he was considering a run for president without winning the Democratic nomination.

A Rasmussen Reports poll earlier this month showed that 57% of Democrats plan to vote for Biden in the party’s primary elections, compared with 25% who back Kennedy. The same survey found that 33% of Democrat voters will likely support Kennedy if he runs as a third-party candidate in the November 2024 general election against Biden and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Such an outcome would have cost Biden about 27 million votes in the 2020 election, which could have resulted in a landslide victory for then-President Trump. A strong third-party contender could have an impact similar to that of Texas billionaire Ross Perot, a fiscal conservative who drew votes away from then-President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Bush supporters have argued that he failed to win re-election because of Perot’s candidacy. Perot won 19.7 million votes.

Kennedy, an environmental lawyer who has spoken out against alleged dangers of vaccines, boasts the name recognition of a family that was long a Democratic Party dynasty. He has said that his top priority as president will be to “end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power.” Kennedy also has argued that Biden’s administration missed many opportunities to settle the Russia-Ukraine conflict peacefully, and its strategy of giving billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Kiev has been “terrible for the Ukrainian people.”