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Democrats, and some Republicans, worry that RFK Jr. will be 'spoiler' in November election
Democrats, and some Republicans, worry that RFK Jr. will be 'spoiler' in November election
Democrats, and some Republicans, worry that RFK Jr. will be 'spoiler' in November election

Published on: 04/02/2024

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WASHINGTON (TND) — While President Joe Biden has begun to pull ahead of former President Donald Trump in head-to-head polling, surveys that include independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. throw the count off balance.

A Morning Consult poll released Monday showed Biden 2 points ahead of his predecessor (splitting the vote 44-42) and a Quinnipiac poll from March 27 put Biden 3 points up (48-45). However that same Quinnipiac poll, and a Trafalgar Group poll from Tuesday, both show the sitting president losing in November when third-party candidates are considered as well, especially leading independent RFK Jr.

In fact, the RealClearPolitics polling average has Trump leading Biden by an average of 3.5 points in a hypothetical matchup that also includes Kennedy, Dr. Cornel West and Jill Stein.

While Kennedy initially ran in the Democratic primary -- following in the footsteps of his uncles President John F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy as well as his father RFK senior -- he switched to an independent run and has since been using his platform to criticize Biden, who he argues is a greater threat to American liberal democracy than Trump.

President Biden is a much worse threat to democracy," the candidate said on CNN Monday night. "President Biden is the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech.

Kennedy's primary argument revolves around the claim shared by many conservatives that the Biden administration worked with social media companies like Twitter and Meta to censor vaccine-and-COVID-skeptic voices as the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines rolled out in 2021. The Biden administration has defended its relationships with the companies, arguing about the necessity to fight disinformation, while reporters and analysts have noted the communiques were requests from the White House and not orders that the companies were required, or even did follow (The National Desk reported extensively on debunking these claims during "The Twitter Files").

Kennedy himself was temporarily banned from the Meta-owned Instagram in 2021 for sharing debunked theories about the COVID vaccines, which may be fueling his arguments about "free speech" on the campaign trail. However, Kennedy has been kept at arm's length by the party his family helped build due to his history of vaccine skepticism, going back before COVID times, despite his longtime commitment to prominent Democratic stances like environmentalism, being anti-war, and anti-big business.

"If he’s also taking votes on their cardinal issue - democracy, free speech - that’s an additional threat to the Democrats," Dr. Richard Vatz, professor emeritus at Towson University's Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development, said of Kennedy in an interview with The National Desk.

However, his talk on the environment and corporate greed is pulling in some young progressives, who have become increasingly disillusioned with Biden over his continued support for Israel in the wake of its war in Gaza. An Ipsos poll published on March 22 found that Kennedy led among Gen Z and Gen X voters, ahead of their overall share of the population, and among people making less than $50,000 a year. However, Biden led both Kennedy and Trump with registered voters.

That is a concern echoed by staunch Democrats in Kennedy's own family -- like his sister, Rory, who is concerned her brother is handing Trump the keys to the White House for a second round -- and longtime Democratic strategist James Carville, who said in a televised speech at Politicon Sunday that the Democrats are "not just shedding" young voters but "they're leaving in droves.

Polling has yet to catch up with the impact Kennedy's new running mate, 38-year-old lawyer and philanthropist Nicole Shanahan, has on his emerging voting base. The Daily Show interviewed RFK Jr. supporters outside the Oakland rally where he introduced Shanahan and reactions were mixed, with one even calling the appointment "depressing."

Kennedy is also fundraising strongly off of donors who have also contributed to Trump, raising growing concerns amongst the former president's power base as he seeks cash to help offset campaign spending on his legal bills.

News Source : https://wfxl.com/news/nation-world/democrats-and-some-republicans-worry-that-rfk-jr-will-be-spoiler-in-november-election-robert-f-kennedy-polling-2024-president-oval-office-white-house-censorship-free-speech-anti-vax-covid-19-pandemic-corporate-greed

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