Who is the election hacker Robert F Kennedy Jr? | | Elections

Robert F Kennedy Jr, the vice president of the United States’ most famous political dynasty, will announce his running mate on Tuesday when he will run as an independent candidate in the 2024 US presidential election.

The stakes are high because no third-party candidate has won the presidency in more than a century and a half.

But the long-time environmentalist and anti-vaccination lawyer has managed to stir up rumors, because of his pedigree: His uncle was former President John F Kennedy, and his father was Robert F Kennedy, a former US attorney general and senator. .

He left the Democratic Party after failing to win the presidential nomination and is playing both left and right sides in his long-running bid for the White House.

His campaign appears to be gaining ground among so-called bipartisans, who fear a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who is the front-runner to win the Republican Party’s nomination. legal problems.

Recent polls have shown that while he can take voters from both parties, it is Biden who will hurt him the most.

The committee in the US House of Representatives that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters shows the debate in the 2020 presidential election between Trump, left, and Biden. The two men are set to rematch in November [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

In the middle of the political crisis, Kennedy presented himself as a political outsider and blasted “kleptocracy” while highlighting his natural history.

A long-time vaccine skeptic, he has been accused of spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine in other media outlets, such as Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. Rogan has also been accused of spreading falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine on The Joe Rogan Experience.

Although Kennedy’s critics called him a conspiracy theorist, his supporters hailed him as a truth teller.

So who is this politician? Where are they from? What do they think, and do they really have a chance to win?

What is Kennedy’s history?

The Kennedy family name brings fortune and misfortune in equal measure. He was only nine years old when President John F Kennedy was shot dead in November 1963. His father, Robert, met the same fate when he was running for president five years later.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy addresses a crowd of supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the morning of June 5, 1968, following his victory in the California state election.
Senator Robert F Kennedy speaks to a crowd of supporters in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, after winning the California presidential election. After some time, he was fatally shot [Dick Strobel/AP Photo]

Grief-stricken, RFK Jr turned to heroin to “fill the void inside me”, eventually getting clean after being arrested for possession. His second wife, Mary, the mother of four of his six children, also struggled with addiction and died by suicide. He is now married to Cheryl Hines, best known for her role on the sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Kennedy has a speech disorder called spasmodic dysphonia, which causes the muscles of the throat to spasm, although the condition did not seem to affect his performance in shows hosted by Rogan and Canadian best-selling author Jordan Peterson, the shooting-from-the-hip style plays well .

His conflicting views caused his family to disown him. “Bobby may have the same name as our father, but he doesn’t have the same morals, vision or judgment,” his brothers said in a statement posted on X. “We oppose his legalization and we believe he is dangerous to our country.”

What does he represent?

Not one to stick to a script, Kennedy has a mixed bag of often conflicting ideas that make him difficult to pull off.

Take nature. Named a “Hero of the Planet” by Time magazine, the former environmental lawyer is known for his work to clean up the nation’s waterways, reduce the use of toxic pesticides and promote renewables. But his phones of “freedom and free markets” as a solution to climate change has raised fears that it will allow companies to implement a strategy to reduce fossil fuel use.

He also threatened to repeal Biden’s signature legislation, which promotes green economic reforms.

His libertarian campaign came to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic when he criticized the US government’s top adviser at the time, Anthony Fauci, for “a long history of anti-Western democracy”. He also said that the virus was created to attack Caucasians and blacks, save Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.

His views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are often controversial. Kennedy supported Roger Waters last year amid widespread outrage over a gig that saw the Pink Floyd co-founder dress in Nazi garb and display the logo of an Israeli arms company on a giant stuffed pig. However, after a few months, the politician became angry he defended Israel’s endless war on Gaza, which has killed more than 32,000 people and pushed the encirclement to the end. hunger.

An isolationist by nature, he opposes aid to Ukraine, accusing the US and NATO of waging a “proxy war” with Russia. Recently interviewHe said that the billions that he donates to the military world could be used for “healing farms” for people with addiction problems and depression when he showed the problem of fentanyl.

“His job will be to bridge the gap between RFK Jr., the environmentalist, the environmentalist and the anti-vaccinationist,” said Steffen Schmidt, professor emeritus in the politics department at Iowa State University.

On immigration, RFK Jr opposes Trump’s plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. He also criticized Biden’s handling of the border crisis. He has promised to protect the borders of the country by using modern equipment such as cameras and devices to detect that people entering the country do not have documents to enter the country. They help increase legal immigration to the US.

Will voters buy his mixed messages?

This is difficult to predict. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, six out of 10 respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the two-party system and want a third election.

Both Democrats and Republicans see him as a threat. The former are more concerned, fearing that the appeal of his strong name could sway Biden’s votes.

According to several polls released in February and March, 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of RFK Jr. His approval ratings have fallen since December when Gallup showed 52 percent of Americans approve of him — more than Trump or Biden.

“RFK Jr. appeals to right-wing Republicans who enjoy conspiracy theories, but he also appeals to others on the extreme left,” said Melissa Smith, author of 2022, Third Parties, Outsiders, and Renegades: Contemporary Challenges. to a two-party system in the presidential election. “It’s like right and left and it can connect around a person like that.”

Kennedy often mentions support from Gen Z, the generation born from 1997 to 2012. His policy views do not seem to be in line with the youth vote. For example, he has called for a 15-week abortion ban and has blamed video games and the rise in the use of antidepressants for gun violence. But his direct talk on economic inequality also resonates with young people struggling with low wages and high housing costs.

Can they do anything?

Even though Republicans and Democrats are in the presidential race, foreign voters have to spend millions to collect signatures from registered voters and hire lawyers to fight legal challenges brought by established parties in difficult cases of obtaining votes that vary by state.

“The electoral process was designed by the two major parties to prevent third-party candidates from winning,” Schmidt said.

Meanwhile, Kennedy managed to vote in only one state, Utah. He filed papers to form his We the People Party in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi and North Carolina and is launching the Texas Independent Party in the Lone Star state.

His campaign team told The New York Times that it sees the move as reducing the number of signatures it needs in all 50 states by 330,000.

Even if he makes the polls, experts believe his chances of winning are remote. Many cited the story of Ross Perot, a wealthy Texan who chose as a candidate against Bill Clinton and George HW Bush in 1992. He failed to win, gaining one-fifth of the popular vote and failing to win a single vote. A presidential candidate needs 270 votes to win.

Ross Perot
Former presidential candidate Ross Perot speaks at the 1996 California convention of the Reform Party, the political party he founded. [Reed Saxon/AP Photo]

However, Kennedy could change the election. An average of the polls tracked by the US election website RealClearPolitics showed that while Trump leads Biden nationally. 2 percent points in a two-person competition, this difference is even greater more than 4 points if Kennedy is also in the race.

In battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Trump’s lead over Biden widens as Kennedy is considered.

“Do I think he will win? Absolutely not. Do I think he can steal a few votes? Yes. But will he influence the election? If history is anything to go by, the answer is no,” said Smith.

Any other bets?

Kennedy is not the only presidential candidate with a lot of money. No Labels, a development group that has yet to name a candidate, has reached 14 states so far. And Cornel West, the African-American philosopher and left-wing activist, launched his own interests after leaving the Green Party.

But in the end, Kennedy has what others don’t. Whatever his views, his links to the closest things the US has ever had to the royal family could help him.

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