On the surface, there seem to be plenty of reasons as to why the Right should support, directly or tacitly, the quixotic bid of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for President of the United States.
The hopelessness of his campaign might be the biggest one.
The Enemy of My Enemy?
Many conservative commentators suggest that RFK Jr. is worth supporting because he represents a more “conservative” brand of Democrat than any presidential candidate since Jim Webb in 2016.
And indeed, on a handful of cultural touchstone issues, the son of the late senator and would-be president of the same name does seem to agree with the Right: Most prominently, he has been critical of efforts to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. He also has spoken out against the rise of transgenderism. And he has engaged with such free-thinkers of the Internet as Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson, which in turn have led to him getting censored by Big Tech, an achievement often limited exclusively to conservatives.
Furthermore, his status as the latest standard-bearer of the outsider Democratic candidate waging a one-man war against the party machine also will naturally draw a lot of conservative sympathy, if not support, due to the Right’s universal opposition to Joe Biden. The previous symbol of this resistance to the Democrat Party elite was Bernie Sanders, who also had the race for the nomination rigged against him not once, but twice.
But, ironically, the aging socialist senator from Vermont was probably more ideologically aligned with President Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden – or Robert F. Kennedy Jr., for that matter. Sanders, for his many flaws, was nearly in complete agreement with Trump when it came to trade and tariffs, as both were opposed to such free trade deals as NAFTA and TPP. They shared a similar outlook on foreign policy, in favor of non-interventionism. And, once upon a time, Sanders was just as critical of open borders and mass immigration as Trump was.
Kennedy, by contrast, harbors views that are just as dangerous as Sanders’, if not even more so. He once advocated for passing a law that would “punish” anyone who doesn’t accept the pseudo-scientific belief that is global warming. He tows the party line on many other issues too, including his pro-choice stance when it comes to the ongoing abortion battle.
And, for a man who claims to be in complete opposition to the Deep State, JFK’s nephew once eagerly parroted all of the same DNC talking points when it came to the “Russian collusion” conspiracy theory against Trump, thus propping up one of the biggest Deep State lies of all time.
RFK’s Pyrrhic Victories
If conservatives shouldn’t support RFK Jr. based on his politics or ideology, then perhaps they’d be better off supporting the idea of his campaign rather than what he actually stands for: Giving Biden a political black eye ahead of the 2024 general election.
In principle, Kennedy represents a rare formidable challenge to a sitting president. As far as politics go, it’s practically a law of physics that an incumbent president who faces a serious primary challenger goes on to lose re-election. Just ask George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford. The most recent of these, when the great Pat Buchanan challenged Bush Sr. in 1992, saw Buchanan take 23% of the GOP primary vote; despite not even winning a single primary, his strong showing revealed cracks in the elder Bush’s armor, and he went on to lose the general election to Bill Clinton.
Kennedy is, for the time being, on track to not only win several primaries, but to win the very first two contests. In a blatant effort to pander to black voters by moving states with greater black populations, like South Carolina and Georgia, to the front of the DNC’s 2024 primary calendar, the overwhelmingly White states of Iowa and New Hampshire, the historic first-in-the-nation caucuses and primaries, respectively, have effectively been told by Biden and the national Democratic Party to shove it.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, all four states at the heart of the intra-party feud – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Georgia – are completely controlled by Republicans, from the legislatures to the governors. Naturally, none of them appear ready to formally change their respective primary dates to align with the DNC’s wishes, thus meaning that Iowa and New Hampshire will still go first, with South Carolina and Georgia set further back where they belong.
In a stunning display of arrogance, Biden and his team have declared that, if their demands for the primary calendar are not met, his campaign will deliberately stay off of the ballots in Iowa and New Hampshire in a show of “solidarity” with the DNC, effectively conceding these races to Kennedy. But, as Axios notes, the party apparatus has a plan in place for this too: In the event that Kennedy takes the first two contests by default, the DNC will simply reduce the total number of delegates awarded to the winner of these states.
Pulling Back the Curtain
What this means is that, in the end, the party machine apparently doesn’t even care if Biden is embarrassed on the national stage by losing the first two primary contests, a feat that has never been achieved by a sitting president in modern history. If he does indeed lose these states, the party will essentially just change the rules to ensure that they don’t even mean that much in the grand scheme of things.
And this goes back to the biggest similarity between RFK Jr. and Bernie Sanders: Not an ideological one, but a tactical one. Like Sanders, Kennedy appears on track to have the Democratic primaries completely rigged against him from the top down; a rather ironic twist of fate for a member of the Kennedy family, which has previously rigged elections in its favor.
First the DNC stole the nomination from Sanders in 2016, courtesy of the almighty “superdelegates.” Then in 2020, as Sanders won the popular vote in all of the first three contests and appeared to be on an inevitable march to the nomination at last, the party leadership employed an even more overt method for stopping him: Forcing other candidates to strategically withdraw, while others strategically remained in the race.
Two of the candidates who had performed well in Iowa and New Hampshire – Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, considered more “moderate” candidates who spoiled Biden in the primaries – suddenly dropped out within 24 hours of each other and endorsed Biden. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren – a hardcore progressive who was widely seen as siphoning more votes from Sanders than anyone else – remained stubbornly in the race.
This was no coincidence, and the subsequent results made that clear. After losing three of the four early contests, Biden had a “miraculous” turnaround in the Democrats’ Super Tuesday contests. Of the 14 states that voted on March 3rd, Biden won 10 to Sanders’ 4. However, four of the states that Biden won – Maine, Massachusetts (Warren’s home state), Minnesota (Klobuchar’s home state), and the crucial delegate-heavy stronghold of Texas – were won by single-digit margins. Had these gone to Sanders, he would have emerged victorious on that day, with 8 wins to Biden’s 6, and perhaps the race for the nomination would have unfolded much differently.
From rigging superdelegates to strategically-timed candidate withdrawals, it appeared as if the Democrats had reached their peak in terms of how far they were willing to go to rig their own elections, let alone the general election as they did in 2020. But Kennedy’s campaign proves that they are far from done when it comes to constantly interfering in their own contests, even if it’s for the purpose of stopping a man who, by all accounts, is not going to beat the incumbent president.
The Naked Emperor’s Coronation
Therein lies the single most valuable contribution of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to the political discourse ahead of the 2024 election. It is not his stance on vaccines, nor his censorship by Big Tech, or any of the other actual issues: It will be his inevitable suppression by the Democratic Party.
For the third time in a row, one of the two biggest parties in the United States will blatantly rig its presidential primaries in favor of its preferred candidate. It was one thing to do so in order to stop a candidate who had a serious shot at becoming the nominee like Sanders; it’s something else entirely to go after someone who is almost guaranteed to become an also-ran (his likely early victories notwithstanding.)
With the mainstream media fully aligned with the Democratic Party, it’s all too easy for the party to get away with rigging elections against its political rivals, as it did with Donald Trump in 2020. But for many of their own voters, it will be a much tougher sell to explain away yet another example of rigging the election against one of their own candidates.
As some have acutely pointed out, Kennedy represents a long-gone ideal for many older Democratic voters; this perception is almost certainly because of his name, but that’s not the point. A Democratic Party effort to suppress and ultimately eliminate a member of the most famous political family in modern American history will undoubtedly not sit well with many in the party’s base. These disaffected RFK Democrats may not necessarily turn around and vote for Donald Trump as a result, but they are certainly more likely to sit out the general election altogether, which is still a net loss for the party.
Most simply, Kennedy’s greatest accomplishment will be to unintentionally expose just what a sham the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process has become. For all the flaws of the Republican Party, at least they still let the voters decide the nominee.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy will most likely not restore Camelot. But he could expose another corrupt kingdom in the process.