Robert F. Kennedy’s independent presidential run will cause controversy, here’s why

Kennedy’s own family, Biden and Trump are all worried about RFK’s independent presidential candidacy.

Robert F. Kennedy’s independent presidential run
© Gilbert Carrasquillo / GETTYIMAGES
Robert F. Kennedy’s independent presidential run

Robert F. Kennedy has announced that he will be running as an independent candidate in America's 2024 presidential race. Kennedy, 69, stated his party switch from Democrat to Independent at a rally in Philadelphia on Monday 9 October.

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This move has already started making waves in the United States as Kennedy’s siblings have taken to social media to warn people against voting for their ‘dangerous’ brother. There has also been much discussion about how this change will impact President Joe Biden and Donald Trump as they compete in the presidential race.

Robert F. Kennedy’s family

RFK Jr. is the third of 11 children. His parents are US general and senator Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy. The late President John F. Kennedy was his uncle.

Almost immediately after RFK Jr. made his announcement, his siblings took to Instagram to warn voters about their brother. The statement was signed by Rory Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. It read:

The decision of our brother Bobby to run as a third party candidate against Joe Biden is dangerous to our country.

RFK is known for spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccinations, and has caused a stir in recent months for repeating anti-semitic discourse that Jews had not only engineered but also spread the virus.

His siblings’ statement continues:

Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment. Today's announcement is deeply saddening for us. We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country.

This is not the first time that Kennedy’s family has spoken out against him. Though there is a general consensus that he is loved and has strong political aspirations, his family do not ‘share or endorse' his opinions’, as stated by his sister Kerry.

Kennedy’s impact on Biden and Trump

Kennedy and his family have close relationships with Biden, as he has himself said:

My whole family including myself have long personal relationships with President Biden ... and many of them just plain disagree with me on issues like censorship and war and public health.
They are entitled to their beliefs

Now that RFK is running independently, people are wondering how this is likely to affect Biden and Trump as they are in a very close race. According to Politico, two polls taken in recent weeks have shown Kennedy at 14% when included as a third option alongside Biden and Trump.

Both of these forerunners are concerned that RFK could draw some voters away from their own campaign. It appears they are right to worry, given that Kennedy’s backing so far is coming in roughly equal measures from Biden and Trump supporters.

However, Kennedy’s anti-vaccination stance is likely to mean he will attract more Republicans than Democrats. His campaign is backed by a political action committee (PAC) that is funded mostly by conservative donor Timothy Mellon and billionaire Gavin de Becker. As of the end of June, that PAC had $9.8 million - not as much as Biden or Trump, but enough to run a successful campaign.

There’s sure to be more controversy as Kennedy joins the presidential race alongside Biden and Trump.

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Sources used:

People: Robert F. Kennedy's Campaign Slammed as 'Dangerous to Our Country' in Statement from 4 of His Siblings

Politico: RFK Jr. goes independent. Does that hurt Biden or Trump?

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