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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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A potential spoiler for Biden

With a lack of enthusiasm from many Americans for both major party candidates, Biden and Trump, some other candidates are gaining an unusual amount of attention. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in particular, is gaining the most of all. 

Kennedy Jr., the son of Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, is a member of a political dynasty that gives him name recognition across the country. Kennedy Jr. has also made a name for himself as an environmentalist and lawyer and saw his influence greatly expand with his anti-vaccine activism during the pandemic.

Despite (or because of) his promotion of conspiracy theories, Kennedy Jr. seems to be receiving a grand level of support as an independent or third party that hasn’t been seen in decades. According to RealClearPolitics, he is averaging 9.3%, and if these poll predictions are to come to fruition, this would be the largest percentage of the vote received by a third party or independent since Ross Perot in 1992.  

This level of support is largely because of the Kennedy campaign’s connection to both the Democratic and Republican parties. Kennedy Jr., as well as his running mate Nicole Shanahan, are both former supporters of the Democratic Party. Kennedy Jr.’s anti-vaccine activism, as well as his skepticism regarding the prosecutions for the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, have also gained him immense support amongst Republicans. Kennedy Jr. has also repeated falsehoods about the attack, such as the attackers being unarmed. Additionally, he has some connections with those who played roles in the attack and election denial. 

The Biden campaign currently seems worried about Kennedy Jr. as a potential spoiler. A recent poll showed him winning one-fifth of the young Latino vote, fracturing Biden’s support amongst this crucial demographic. Furthermore, Kennedy Jr.’s close ties and family history with the Democratic party, especially considering he was running for the Democratic nomination only six months ago, makes him even more of a threat to the Biden campaign. 

If Kennedy Jr. is to be a spoiler, he first has to get on the ballot, which he has only accomplished  in Utah, a state not known for its electoral competition. While there are some reports that he has met the requirements to make it onto the ballot of other states, it will be challenging for him to make the ballot in all 50 states. Hopefully, for Biden, Kennedy Jr. is unable to do so.

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Jake Richfield, Assistant Opinions Editor
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