Spoiler Alert- RFK JR in 2024

July 5, 2023

While there is much to speculate about as Republicans jockey for the Presidential nomination, corresponding updates from the Democrats suggests Joe Biden will once again seamlessly hit the trail on behalf of his party. While he may indeed be too powerful to topple intraparty, our Commander in Chief might have one thing to worry about long before he reaches the general election- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Son of Robert, nephew of John, RFK Jr was raised by political royalty and now looks to bring his venerable family name into the modern era. An environmental lawyer who graduated from Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School, Robert gained folk hero status during the Covid-19 pandemic for his opposition to vaccinations- both general and coerced. Now, polls show 31% of voters who backed Biden in 2020 support Kennedy’s nomination. Possibly more worrisome for the President are the 80% of those planning to cast a ballot for the Democratic primary who would like to see him debate his newfound foe- including 72% of those presently intending to vote Biden. Currently, Kennedy holds 15% of Democratic support, with a vulnerable 21% remaining undecided, leaving just enough wiggle room for a potential upset.

Biden and his lockstep Democratic National Committee have preemptively demurred, citing historical procedure that no candidate seeking a second term in the White House has ever participated in a primary debate. While a formal faceoff may lack precedence, a Presidential primary does not and has occurred five times throughout American history. Four were Vice Presidents who had assumed the position midterm and failed to muster support for an inauguration all their own, including John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Chester Arthur. Only Franklyn Pierce, first elected in 1852, actively lost the nomination while attempting a second term. In the first four instances, the opposition party went on to win the general election, and substitution was moot- Pierce, however, was successfully usurped by James Buchanan, who would indeed become President.

Despite their protestations, the DNC may have to reconsider in the face of mounting public pressure. To submit, however, would do untold damage to the President’s campaign and potentially derail his reelection entirely. Even if Kennedy is unsuccessful in his casual coup, he would likely eviscerate Biden at the dais and serve him up readily to whoever clinches the GOP nod. Especially given the national controversy surrounding the President’s advanced age and related capabilities, he cannot afford additional gaffes, particularly when his opponent is not seen as a natural party enemy. Seemingly aware of such symbiosis, potential Republican nominee Donald Trump has welcomed Kennedy to the fray, calling him a “very smart… common sense guy.” While RFK JR faces almost no chance of himself becoming the frontrunner, his early popularity and evident gravitas may make him a uniquely intriguing choice for Vice President should Trump top the ticket. While it has always been the case, no candidate is bound to select a running mate from their own party, and voters may remember 2008’s rumored iteration of a McCain/Lieberman slate.

How do you feel about Robert F Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy? Should President Biden debate him in the primary?

Hilary Gunn is a Connecticut native with a degree in Criminal Justice from the George Washington University. She works for a nonprofit and has previously collaborated with the CT GOP as an activist, political campaign manager and field director, and social media organizer. She is currently serving in her fourth term of municipal office and has previously acted as a delegate on the Republican Town Committee.

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Antigrav1117 on Jun 16, 2023 11:43 AM
DOE has become less an instrument of advancing education and more a political tool. If it cannot be reoriented to remove political bias- it must be eliminated. It's too well placed to for parents to allow it to be an instrument of… See Comments
JRB18 on Oct 24, 2022 2:30 AM
Election day is two weeks away! Let's make sure we reach out to friends and family to get out the vote, critical races this year both at the national AND local levels. See Comments
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