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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Democrats Need Kennedy

Unlike Biden, RFK, Jr. is a breath of fresh air for a chagrined voting public.

Phoenix,,Arizona,–,May,18,,2019:,Robert,F,Kennedy,Jr.
(In The Light Photography/Shutterstock)

With each passing it day, it looks more likely that former President Donald Trump will emerge as the GOP nominee to face President Joe Biden next year. A rematch of the 2020 election is noticeably uninspiring to the vast majority of Americans. A recent Wall Street Journal article’s title sums it up simply: “No One Is Looking Forward to the 2024 Presidential Election.”

At the same time, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is gaining traction in the polls, much to the consternation of the media. In fact, a recent survey by the Economist and YouGov showed Kennedy with the highest favorability of any of the presidential candidates already announced.

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Kennedy’s appeal among a growing number of Democrat voters should be understood as a rejection of Biden’s repeat bid for the White House. With Biden’s frequent blunders and lack of awareness of where he is or what he is saying (“God save the Queen, man!”), the Democrats are forced to confront reality: He very probably could lose this race, regardless of the GOP nominee. When a candidate is wandering around a stage, unable to string two coherent sentences together, it would not require a Republican superhero to take him out next November.

RFK solves many of the Democrats’ problems. He is younger and more physically fit than Biden. He is engaging and charming to everyday Americans. Kennedy also has a disarming way of violating all of the progressive rules and saying the forbidden words. In short, what he says just makes sense.

Take immigration as one example. The far-left progressive gospel dictates that any border restriction is a crime against humanity. In a May 3 tweet, Kennedy offered up this commonsense alternative position: “Is it possible to be pro-immigration AND pro closing the border? Yes. America should be a haven of freedom and prosperity, open to law-abiding migrants who will contribute to our society. However, immigration must proceed in an orderly, lawful manner. Right now we have chaos at the border. Human trafficking, criminality, intolerable stress on border states like Texas. It is a humanitarian nightmare.”

For many Democrats and even right-of-center voters, Kennedy’s statements are a breath of fresh air. He isn’t ranting about so-called racist policies of Republicans. He isn’t denying the human crisis at the border. Instead, he is giving voice to what many Americans think about the undeniable brokenness of our immigration system.

Concerning the Covid vaccine, similarly, Kennedy has been willing to give voice to the skepticism many Americans share. Children were prevented from attending schools in many districts across the nation, as so-called experts, with next to no scientific research undergirding their opinions, declared the novel vaccine safe and the only way for us to reopen society. Most Americans, by that point, had seen the numbers—had actually looked at the science—and were not convinced that blanket vaccine mandates should be implemented.

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Kennedy has been a tireless advocate for parents and employees through this fight. In return, the establishment Democrats have labeled him an “anti-vaxxer” and “anti-science.” Those slurs and insults, and the venom he has received from elites on the left have only made Kennedy a more credible candidate in the eyes of many Americans.

On abortion, Kennedy is no pro-lifer, but neither is he a zealot for Planned Parenthood. His comments on the subject are measured, and he reflects, again, the middle-of-the-political-spectrum voters.

Where Kennedy most distinguishes himself is in foreign policy. Former President Donald Trump has said all of the right things on Ukraine, including recognizing that this is a Washington-created crisis. What Trump fails to acknowledge, however, is how much his son-in-law’s policies at the White House played a role in the current crisis. Foreign policy under Trump was as misguided as under most Republican presidents.

It is here, in this area of foreign policy, where Kennedy offers a stark contrast not only with Biden but also with Trump. Kennedy recently offered his views on Ukraine, arguing that it was NATO’s aggression that caused the war. “Pressured by NeoCons in the Biden White House, and by violent fascist elements within the Ukrainian government, Zelensky integrated his army with NATO’s,” Kennedy explained. That provoked Russia. President Vladimir Putin now finds himself in a war against Ukraine’s corrupt and Nazi-tolerant regime, in an attempt to maintain the status quo and keep NATO at bay. The warmongers in Washington, D.C., ultimately caused the war in Ukraine. And only one candidate is willing to tell the full truth about the origin of this war.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 was full of promise. His presidency, however, fell far short of the promise. On the vaccine, Trump pushed for faster authorizations and even tied the reopening of society to taking the vaccine. On foreign policy, he was all too willing to listen to Jared Kushner’s globalist advice. On immigration, he didn't build the promised wall.

A Kennedy candidacy offers a real alternative to Democrats, and the chance for a real debate for all Americans. President Trump remains the best hope on the right, and a rigorous 2024 election campaign with a serious anti-interventionist candidate from the left would facilitate an honest discussion about how we can rein in our out-of-control and destructive foreign policy.