Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently announced his decision to run as an independent candidate in the 2024 presidential election, stepping away from the Democratic primary. Addressing a gathering at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, Kennedy emphasized his vision for a renewed declaration of independence for the nation.
He expressed his intent to distance the country from powerful corporations, Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, and other influential entities that, in his view, have taken control of the government. He also stressed the need to break free from the two dominant political parties.
Kennedy’s decision to run as an independent or third-party candidate had been rumored for some time, with hints dropped earlier in the month. A post from Kennedy on social media, showing him energetically ascending the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, reminiscent of a scene from the iconic movie “Rocky,” further fueled the anticipation.
Previously, Kennedy had announced his intention to challenge Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. Recent polls, such as the Reuters/Ipsos survey, showed Kennedy polling at 14%, trailing behind Trump at 40% and Biden at 38%.
Kennedy’s campaign website invited supporters to a historic location where America’s founding fathers declared independence in 1776, signaling a significant shift in politics. The campaign’s message was clear: it’s time to recalibrate the nation’s direction.
While some, like CNN, reported that Biden’s allies did not take Kennedy’s primary campaign seriously, others believed that Kennedy’s move could reshape the political landscape. Tim Donner, a senior political analyst at Liberty Nation, commented on the challenges Biden is facing from various fronts. He mentioned the entry of left-wing academic Cornel West for the Green Party and the potential threat from centrist figures like Sen. Joe Manchin.
Donner also highlighted the significance of Kennedy’s decision, especially given his family’s historical ties to the Democratic Party.
Since 1900, only five third-party candidates – Theodore Roosevelt (1912), Robert La Follette (1924), Strom Thurmond (1948), George Wallace (1968), and John Hospers (1971) – have been able to capture at least one electoral vote, according to History.com. However, other candidates such as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader have made an impact in the national election by siphoning voters away from mainstream candidates, even though they didn’t win any electoral votes themselves.
Many believe that Kennedy’s role as an independent could be a game-changer in the upcoming general election. Preliminary polling data indicates that he might emerge as one of the most influential third-party or independent candidates in recent times. According to the Associated Press, supporters of President Biden and former President Donald Trump, both of whom are leading candidates, believe that Kennedy may take votes away from one or both candidates. Kennedy has said, “The truth is, they’re both right.” Kennedy added, “My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”