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27 Mar, 2024 13:07

RFK Jr. picks ex-wife of Russian Google co-founder as running mate

Nicole Shanahan has joined the independent presidential candidate in an effort to appeal to voters disillusioned with the US two-party system
RFK Jr. picks ex-wife of Russian Google co-founder as running mate

Independent US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has picked California-based tech lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate in the “spoiler” campaign for the White House.

Shanahan is not a national household name, but Kennedy insisted on Tuesday that she is the right choice for his presidential bid, the stated aim of which is to disrupt the “corporate kleptocracy” of the US political system.

Kennedy has embraced the “spoiler” tag for his presidential run, vowing to “bring down the Democratic and Republican duopoly” during an introductory speech with Shanahan in Oakland, California, where she was raised in an impoverished family.

“It gave us this ruinous debt, chronic disease, endless wars, lockdowns, mandates, agency capture. The same Trump-Biden uniparty has captured and appropriated democracy and turned it over to BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard,” Kennedy said, naming the three biggest institutional investors in the country.

The independent candidate insisted that he and Shanahan offer hope to millions of disillusioned American voters, unlike the Democrats and Republicans, who force citizens into choosing “the lesser evil.”

A profile of Shanahan shown during the event highlighted her humble origins, expertise in Silicon Valley, and acute interest in environmental issues.

She said that motherhood has brought her joy since her daughter from her former husband, Russian-American tech mogul Sergey Brin, was born in 2018. The two married the same year but divorced in 2023.

Shanahan explained her anguish after seeing early symptoms of an autistic spectrum condition in her daughter, while stressing that the reproductive health of women around the world is endangered by environmental pollutants.

Public records show that Shanahan has donated to the campaigns of both incumbent President Joe Biden and Kennedy, who is the nephew of former US leader John F. Kennedy, in the current election cycle.

She gave $4 million to a PAC that funded a 30-second ad for Kennedy shown during the Super Bowl in February, which invoked the legacy of his famous family. Shanahan was the creative force behind the ad, she told US media.

Kennedy has identified ballot access as a major challenge for his team. The US has a notoriously prohibitive system that makes it hard for candidates without the backing of one major party or the other to be included in elections in all 50 states. Half of them require a designated nominee for vice president, before even allowing an independent contender to collect signatures.