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What Are The Facts About RFK Jr.’s Presidential Campaign?


The 2024 presidential election features a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump as the major party nominees. But this time, there is a potential wildcard in the mix: a campaign launched by the independent candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

RFK Jr. has a small following of his own, but it’s likely that many Americans are unfamiliar with him and his policies. If he is serious about a presidential campaign, then voters should know some important things about him.

Who is supporting his campaign? The answer is a mixture of venture capital businesspeople, conservative Hollywood figures, and notably, some wealthy established Republican donors. One of his biggest supporters, the super PAC American Values 2024, is heavily financed by Republican donor Timothy Mellon, who has donated to conservative candidates before and has already given at least $15 million to the pro-Trump super PAC MAGA Inc. this year. Another wealthy donor to Kennedy’s campaign, Omeed Malik, leads an “anti-woke” investment firm that is backing Tucker Carlson’s new media company, and recently committed to raising $3 million for Trump’s campaign. The American Values 2024 PAC spent $7 million on a campaign ad in the Super Bowl that incorporated the broader Kennedy family and former President Kennedy’s campaign in its message, in an unsubtle attempt to boost RFK’s appeal to Democratic voters.

Though running as an independent candidate, tactics like these, amidst other remarks and moves by his campaign, make RFK seem less than neutral. He styles himself as a “spoiler” candidate for both parties’ nominees, but leaning on his Kennedy name seems to be an effort—funded by a super PAC with pro-Trump leadership—to siphon away Democratic votes.

As reported by CNN, one of RFK Jr.’s campaign officials, who identified herself as the Kennedy campaign’s state director in New York, called getting rid of Biden their number one priority.

More recently, RFK made headlines with a claim that Biden was “a much worse threat to democracy” than former President Trump, despite Trump’s denial of legitimate election results and stoking of political violence sentiments. Kennedy’s remarks were rebutted by legal experts and political scientists as “nonsensical” and the specific idea behind his claim—that Biden was the first president to use federal agencies to censor the political speech of his opponents—was received skeptically by the Supreme Court.

It is also notable that Robert Kennedy Jr. does not apparently have the support of the Kennedy family, a powerful force in Democratic politics, for his candidacy. More than fifteen members of the family recently gave President Biden a clear endorsement as their choice for the presidency. Family members had already gone further and issued a public denouncement of RFK’s candidacy when he declared in October, writing that he “does not share the same values, vision or judgement” as President Kennedy and that he is “perilous for our country.” Most of the Kennedy family have taken issue with Kennedy’s controversial policy stances and view his independent campaign as damaging to President Biden’s reelection effort.

Perhaps what most people know RFK for is his anti-vaccination stance. He has promoted the false idea that vaccines cause autism and has raised doubts over the years about the safety of vaccines overall. Not only is this stance scientifically incorrect, but it is also not a victimless act. RFK’s anti-vax misinformation network has used—incorrectly—the names of children who have died to promote its ideas, causing grief for parents. Other parents who used to believe his rhetoric on vaccines and autism have spoken openly about how they feel they wasted valuable time in denial about their autistic children instead of engaging in important therapies for their health. RFK’s anti-vaccine rhetoric has also been associated with real-world deaths caused by preventable diseases: in 2019, dozens of children died of measles after vaccination rates fell, with response personnel saying that Kennedy’s emboldening of local anti-vaccine influencers worsened the problem. His embrace of the anti-vaccine movement has become one of the defining aspects of his political identity for many people, overshadowing the start of his career which included some strong environmental work. But in that, too, he has shifted to the right, leading former allies to say he is “no different than Trump.” His use of anti-big government and conspiracy rhetoric on the environment has even evoked similarities to Trump.

Political analysts remain uncertain about what to expect from RFK’s impact on the presidential race, but Americans should know these important details about anyone who is running for the office, especially those with such political history and clout. Kennedy views himself as an alternative to the two-party system providing an independent choice to uncertain or disaffected voters. But his history, his backing, and his recent rhetoric lend credence that his candidacy is welcomed by Trump supporters as a means to siphon votes away from Biden.

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