Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stops the Democratic primary campaign and run for president as an independent.

Flickr Image: Gage Skidmore
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made the decision to run for president as an independent on Monday, giving up his bid to unseat President Joe Biden as the Democratic Party’s nominee.

At an early-afternoon event for supporters in Philadelphia, which he chose because it is the city where the nation was born, Kennedy, the son and namesake of a slain former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, announced his new strategy.

Kennedy, a former environmental lawyer who is now a vaccine skeptic and conspiracy theorist, shocked observers by receiving a sizable amount of support in some surveys, though that support has since diminished.

“How are we going to win against the established Washington interests? It’s not by playing by the corrupt rules that the corrupt powers and the vested interests have rigged to keep us in their thrall,” Kennedy said in a video on X (Twitter).

Kennedy first came to the attention of the political establishment for spreading unfounded anti-vaccine rumors during the COVID-19 outbreak. He also opposes American assistance to Ukraine as it fights off Russian aggression.

Positions like these have made Kennedy popular with prominent members of the far right, who frequently support the late President Donald Trump.

When Kennedy was still campaigning as a Democrat in July, the former president praised him profusely. He is an extremely intelligent man, Trump said Fox Business. And he seems to have touched a nerve. And many of the Democrats I know plan to support him.

If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were to pursue a presidential run as an independent candidate, he would face numerous challenges. Building a nationwide campaign infrastructure, securing ballot access in all 50 states, and fundraising on a scale necessary to compete with the major parties are just a few of the hurdles he would need to overcome. Additionally, the American electorate can be skeptical of third-party candidates, often viewing them as spoilers who could split the vote and inadvertently help the major party they ideologically oppose.

However, there are also opportunities for Kennedy as an independent candidate. His family name carries a certain level of recognition and respect, which could help him garner attention and support. His emphasis on environmental issues and non-partisan solutions may also resonate with voters who are frustrated with the current state of American politics.

Impact on the Race

The impact of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. independent candidacy on the 2024 presidential race would largely depend on the political climate at the time and the strength of his campaign. If he were to gain significant traction, he could potentially draw votes away from both major parties, which could have a significant impact on the outcome.

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