Republican voters seeking an alternative to the status quo should be more skeptical about Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The son of Sen. Robert Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, RFK Jr. is a longtime liberal Democrat who broke with party orthodoxy during the Covid-19 pandemic to criticize mRNA injections, censorship of dissent, and the corrupt synthesis of state and corporate power. In doing so, he garnered a loyal following of Americans who were fed up with having their civil liberties impeded — many of whom happened to be Republican voters.
In recent times, he’s produced works like “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,” appeared in documentaries produced by Tucker Carlson, and spoken at Hillsdale College about Big Pharma and the deep state’s roles in undermining American health standards. As a result, it is understandable why some Republicans view him as a reliable vehicle through which a conservative political agenda might be advanced.
Formally launching his 2024 campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination a little more than a week ago, RFK Jr. stated his “mission” as president would be “to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening … to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism.” He emphasized this same fascistic merger’s commitment to “strip min[ing] our assets, to hollow[ing] out the middle class” so they can perpetuate grievances and keep Americans afraid of one another.
“People are preparing for a dystopian future,” he said, noting the public’s despondence over the increasingly unbridgable cultural divides.
His announcement speech focused on achieving cultural renewal and American togetherness by fighting against things like the “corporate captive” media and government. In ways, RFK Jr. sounded more like a government-skeptical Republican than a leftist, identity politics-obsessed Democrat.
But he’s still a liberal Democrat. His previous stances should give burned-out GOP voters pause before they throw their support behind a dissident voice who can seemingly talk the talk so well.
RFK Jr. is a devout environmentalist. His résumé is replete with decades of corporate and nonprofit lawfare and activism attempting to place burdensome regulations on energy production. He has expressed a desire for laws punishing public officials who “sell out the public trust” by resisting climate alarmism, and described skeptics of environmental fanaticism as going “against all the evidence of the rational mind.”
He wrongly insisted that “any state attorney general” with enough chutzpah to stand up to the “dangerous and duplicitous corporate propagandists, has authority to annul the charters” of energy companies like Exxon and political groups benefiting from their nonprofit donations.
In a 2006 editorial, he also echoed widely debunked claims that Republicans won the White House in 2004 through “outright fraud.” In 2011, he partnered with the corrupt, corporate-backed Human Rights Campaign to endorse same-sex marriage.
In recent years, he has continued attacking efficient means of energy production — coal, nuclear, and fossil fuels — while bolstering ineffective and expensive green energy technologies like windmills.
Further, Kennedy’s green energy fanaticism is ideologically inconsistent. He insists institutions like the World Economic Forum use “climate chaos” as tools to “strip mine the wealth of the poor and to enrich billionaires.” But environmentalists are reliant upon transnational institutions to meet their goals; without them, they are unable to effect change on a macro level. And to accomplish his goals of emboldening the marketplace to pursue the development of alternative energy, he would be reliant upon the same statist-corporate cronyism the Biden administration uses to coerce technological development.
Ever since Covid, RFK Jr. has been right about a good deal of things, most notably the increasingly tyrannical nature of the U.S. government and its pernicious habit of corporate cronyism; here, he is directly over the target. As such, he’s an attractive candidate for those of more populist inclination and, as stated above, has become appealing to many traditionally Republican voters. But he still has first to earn the Democratic Party’s nomination, and doing so will require alienating the right.
According to recent Democratic Party primary polls, RFK Jr. is polling, on average, 46 points behind President Biden. If he wants to make inroads against Biden, he must either placate his party’s leftist base or stunningly outmaneuver an incumbent who benefits from a compliant lapdog media, vast corporate alliances, and a laundry list of deeply entrenched political allies across the country. The Democratic Party has also decided not to hold primary debates.
So, considering all the avenues for doing so are compromised, outmaneuvering Biden is going to be extremely difficult. RFK Jr.’s best shot at dethroning Biden as nominee is to placate a broad enough swath of leftist Democratic primary voters to destabilize the incumbent president’s coalition. Doing so would require Kennedy to embrace things like radical until-moment-of-birth stances on abortion, hostility toward the federal judiciary, a willingness to further expand the affirmative action regime, and a slew of unhinged economic and environmental reforms.
Maybe RFK Jr.’s pledge to unite the country by “telling the truth to the American people” is austere (he hasn’t yet acquiesced to the leftists, after all), but it isn’t feasible given the ideological trajectory of his political party and what he needs to do in order to have a shot at winning its nomination.
Barack Obama already tried the “great unifier” shtick and irreversibly broke the American political system in the process. One more Sisyphean attempt at it, promising to fix things for real this time, isn’t what the moment demands. In 2016, an ideologically diverse coalition of people unified behind Donald Trump in order to reclaim control of the republic from a class of managerial elitists and coastal snobs who thought they knew better than their voters; Trump was the avatar of this coalition’s grievance. What grievance does RFK Jr. animate that a conservative candidate can’t while not simultaneously compromising on critical cultural and economic issues?
Republican voters desperate for someone to reign in the federal government and its merry band of corporate ne’er-do-wells ought to keep looking.