Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. made a surprising announcement on Monday, revealing that he will be withdrawing his challenge to President Joe Biden for the Democratic Party nomination and instead running as an independent candidate in the 2024 presidential election. Speaking in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, RFK Jr. expressed his desire for independence from the two dominant political parties and the corrupt interests that control them.
Kennedy initially launched his primary challenge to Biden in April. However, he soon accused the party of altering its rules in favor of the incumbent and criticized the lack of Secret Service protection granted to him. This decision holds emotional weight for Kennedy, as his father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968 while running for president, following the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963.
During his speech in Philadelphia, RFK Jr. described the United States as sitting atop a “bubbling cauldron of fury,” with its citizens feeling anger and frustration at being excluded, deceived, and marginalized by a smug elite that manipulates the system to their advantage. He criticized the current bipartisan system, calling it a “uniparty” that bickers with itself while leading the nation towards destruction.
Kennedy acknowledged the difficulty of abandoning the party that his father, uncles, grandfather, and great-grandfathers helped build. Nevertheless, he compared his decision to the risk the country’s founders took in 1776 when they rebelled against British rule, emphasizing his commitment to breaking free from the two-party system.
Despite Kennedy’s bold move, four of his siblings publicly disapproved of his decision. Kerry Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s sister, expressed her deep sadness and denounced his third-party candidacy as dangerous for the country. Hollywood director Rob Reiner, known for his vocal support of the Democratic Party, also criticized Kennedy’s announcement, describing it as a cynical move by wealthy Republicans to pave the way for former President Donald Trump’s return to the White House.
While a Rasmussen Reports poll in September indicated that 25% of Democrats would support Kennedy in the primaries, the number increased to 33% if he ran as an independent candidate. It is important to note that no third-party candidate has ever won the US presidency. The closest attempt was made by former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 when he ran as a progressive, resulting in Woodrow Wilson’s victory as the first Democrat to win the White House since 1860.
In conclusion, RFK Jr.’s decision to withdraw from the Democratic Party nomination race and run as an independent candidate in the 2024 presidential election has sparked both support and criticism. While some see it as a courageous move to break free from the two-party system, others view it as a perilous decision that could potentially harm American democracy. The upcoming election will reveal the extent of Kennedy’s impact on the political landscape and whether he can navigate the challenges faced by third-party candidates in the US.