Three Reasons RFK Jr. Poses a Real Challenge to Biden in 2024

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By Laura Simmons

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s foray into the political arena as an independent candidate has set the Democratic Party on edge. As the son of the iconic Robert Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, his independent run for the presidency has raised eyebrows and instilled fear within the party’s ranks. Here are three compelling reasons why RFK Jr. has emerged as a genuine threat to President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign:

1. Biden’s Vulnerability:

One of the most apparent reasons RFK Jr. could challenge Joe Biden’s re-election bid is the growing perception that the incumbent president is an inadequate candidate. Critics point to Biden’s lackluster response to the recent attacks on Israeli citizens, where he delivered a two-minute Teleprompter speech after several days of violence and bloodshed. Many Americans view this as a sign that Biden is not up to the task. There’s a palpable sense that if presented with a viable alternative, support for the current president could dwindle rapidly.

2. Validating Concerns About the Party’s Leftward Shift:

Kennedy’s decision to defect to the independent camp validates concerns among traditional Democrats who fear their party has shifted too far to the left. He argues that the Democratic Party of today is far removed from the principles held by his father and uncle, and many Democrats are beginning to agree with him.

3. The DNC’s Non-Democratic Behavior:

RFK Jr. has made his switch in party affiliation partly in protest of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) undemocratic practices. The DNC’s refusal to hold primary debates and its apparent favoritism towards Biden by positioning South Carolina as the first primary state is seen as detrimental to the party’s credibility. This lack of transparency and inclusiveness in the nomination process isn’t doing the Democrats any favors.

Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

President Biden’s vulnerability doesn’t stop at these three points; his policies on the economy, immigration, and crime are facing widespread disapproval, and his approval ratings have dipped to the lowest they’ve been in a generation. On top of that, concerns about his cognitive abilities continue to grow, as does a general sense of untrustworthiness. This is the candidate that Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are trying to protect.

Biden’s credibility has been further damaged by his penchant for spinning tall tales. He’s been caught making outlandish claims about his past, like having his house burn down, serving as a liaison to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir during the Six-Day War, and visiting the Tree of Life Synagogue after a tragic 2018 incident. None of these stories hold water.

RFK Jr. is a compelling option for various factions of voters, which makes him a significant threat to Biden and, to a lesser extent, Donald Trump. His appeal is broad, offering something to both conservative and liberal voters, and it’s shaking up the political landscape.

The most telling sign of Biden’s precarious situation is the growing number of Democrats who are voicing doubts about his re-election run. Prominent liberal figures, such as Maureen Dowd, David Ignatius, and Eliot Cohen, are now publicly urging Biden to step aside. They acknowledge his age but simultaneously recognize that he’s slipping behind in hypothetical matchups against former President Donald Trump. RFK Jr. may just fill the void left by a disenchanted Democratic base.

This independent candidate aims to remind voters that Democrats were once known for peace and not backing Big Pharma. He staunchly opposes corruption in both major parties and the divisive partisanship afflicting the nation. Above all, he pledges honesty to the American people.

RFK Jr.’s economic platform is straightforward and grounded in the belief that those who work hard should be able to afford a decent life. He criticizes the White House’s economic performance, highlighting that take-home pay after adjusting for inflation and taxes has plummeted by 9% under Biden’s leadership.

Kennedy’s political stance covers a wide spectrum. He appeals to conservatives with his opposition to top-down vaccine mandates, though they may not entirely embrace his green energy initiatives. Liberals may champion his call for free childcare, but they may cringe at his stance on illegal immigration and his controversial history on vaccines.

As independent candidates seldom make a significant impact on elections, this time could be different, primarily due to the unpopularity of both major contenders. A more pressing concern for Biden is that young voters aged 18-29 seem to be disenchanted with the Democratic Party, leaning towards becoming independents. RFK Jr.’s campaign could resonate with these young voters who are disillusioned with Joe Biden. And this, in itself, is a significant threat to the Democratic establishment.

Biden’s vulnerabilities are numerous and, should RFK Jr. play his cards right, he could emerge as a genuine contender in the 2024 presidential race. It’s a long road ahead, but the political landscape is changing, and the once-unthinkable is beginning to seem possible.

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