President Joe Biden has another prospective challenger for the Democratic nomination, this one from political royalty. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of slain President John F. Kennedy, and son of slain presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, has filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.
So, can RFK Jr., a member of America’s most prestigious political family, mount a viable challenge for the Democratic nomination?
Don’t count on it.
RFK Jr. known for anti-vaccine views
Obviously, vaccinations have become increasingly relevant in political terms since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinations have become, like so many things, a line in the sand.
And speaking generally, conservatives have expressed vaccine hesitancy, whereas liberals have promoted vaccine acceptance. RFK Jr. cuts against that trend – as a Democrat who is outspoken about his anti-vaccine viewpoints. RFK Jr.’s views will no doubt inflame his own tribe, who have taken to denouncing anyone who even raises legitimate questions about the efficacy of, say, COVID vaccines.
Take this excerpt from POLITICO for example: “Kennedy, a former environmental lawyer, has long led the charge in the anti-vaccine movement, spreading conspiracy theories about the dangers they pose to children. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he was among those who attacked vaccine requirements, accusing Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease doctor, of orchestrating “fascism” during the pandemic.”
Right, according to the black-white liberal moral code of human decency, one is not supposed to, under any circumstances, question the efficacy of vaccines; and one is not supposed to, under any circumstances, question the supreme being of American medicine, Anthony Fauci. RFK Jr. violates both of those liberal Commandments, meaning his campaign probably won’t pull much support from the Harvard-Yale-Stanford-Berkeley dominated Democratic Party – a party of constituents who know that COVID originated in a wet market, who know that the COVID vaccine was effective, and who know that lockdown was the only way.
RFK Jr. Campaign a Long Shot
Has a primary challenger ever unseated an incumbent president? Another Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s uncle Ted, mounted the most formidable challenge in modern American politics, when he primaried Jimmy Carter for the 1980 nomination. Carter earned the nomination but lost mightily to Ronald Reagan in the general election; Kennedy’s primary challenge is thought to have weakened Carter’s overall chances.
Could RFK Jr. mount a similarly powerful campaign against Biden, who has so far failed to generate much enthusiasm amongst his constituents, who are worried about his age and popularity?
No, don’t count on it.
I’d never heard of RFK Jr. before last weekend. He’s not going to displace the sitting President of the United States. And RFK Jr. knows that; he’s probably running to raise awareness for his pet issue, which appears to be vaccines.
Either way, it will be refreshing to diversify the left-wing conversation regarding the pandemic and the pandemic response and the moral-politics surrounding the pandemic through RFK Jr.’s participation in the primary. Competition is good. Conversation is good.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.