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March 27, 2024

RFK Jr. Has ‘Em Freaking Out

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. so terrifies the Biden campaign that they’ve built an entire operation solely to attack him.

It’s the moment that’s been terrifying Joe Biden and his handlers for months: Lifelong Democrat-turned-independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has selected a running mate. In doing so, he’s taken yet another serious step in a presidential run that will definitely hurt Biden more than it will hurt Donald Trump.

Alea iacta est, said Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon. The die is cast.

At a campaign event in Oakland yesterday, the 70-year-old Kennedy named a virtual unknown, Nicole Shanahan, as his vice presidential pick. But as a telegenic, non-white 38-year-old female, an attorney, a major Democrat donor, and the former wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Shanahan balances the Kennedy ticket while also bringing bottomless pockets to it. In addition, because of her outward far-left idealism and her commitment to “serve peace and help those in poverty,” we expect she’ll be able to appeal to young voters in ways that the decrepit Joe Biden and the cringy Kamala Harris can only dream of. Having said all that, however, she’s an unserious candidate. And anyone who thinks she belongs one heartbeat away from the presidency is himself unserious.

Shanahan, like Kennedy a lifelong Democrat, announced that she too would be leaving the party. “The Democratic Party,” she said, “is supposed to be the party of compassion. It is supposed to be the party of free speech and, most importantly, the party of the middle class and the American dream. While I know many Democrats still abide by those values … I do believe they’ve lost their way in their leadership.”

We can’t argue with her. Free speech, peace, and populism used to be popular among Democrats. Not anymore. What was once the party of blue-collar America is now the party of Wall Street, Big Pharma, and corporate cronyism. The two parties have done a switcheroo. Not a fake one, like the Democrats say happened in the Civil Rights ‘60s, but a real one with real consequences. In listening to both Kennedy and Shanahan yesterday, they both seem to understand this. And it’s why Shanahan vowed yesterday “to spend the next seven months of [her] life to get [Kennedy] on each and every ballot in the country.”

“Seventy percent of Americans,” said Kennedy, “say that they don’t want to have to choose between President Trump and President Biden. They don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils again.” That’s true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The leakage and the dissatisfaction are an order of magnitude greater on the Biden side than on the Trump side.

“Both the Democrats and the Republicans are looking at those poll results, and they’re devising ways to keep me off the ballot. … They’re trying to keep me off the ballot and to frighten you into choosing between the two tired and unpopular heads of the uni-party.”

That “uniparty” line is clever, albeit laughably inaccurate. Anyone who can’t see the glaring difference, for example, between Democrat and Republican policies on the border, energy, regulation, or criminal justice has no business voting. Of course, Kennedy is courting the youth vote, and poll after poll indicates that young people are — how can we say this delicately? — the least informed age group among the electorate.

Joe Biden needs those same young voters, though, and his campaign team fully understands the threat posed by Kennedy in the rematch of an election that in 2020 was decided by fewer than 43,000 votes across three states: Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. Indeed, as Axios reports, Team Brandon is so worried about RFK Jr.’s potential to siphon crucial votes from their guy in the swing states that they’ve built “an entire operation dedicated to attacking Kennedy.”

Axios continues: “So Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee have dedicated a team of staffers and consultants to try to diminish Kennedy. The DNC argues that RFK Jr. is a "stalking horse” for Trump who shares a megadonor — businessman Tim Mellon — with the former president. Mellon has given $20 million to Kennedy’s super PAC and $15 million to Trump’s MAGA Inc. this election cycle.“ In presidential politics, follow the money.

In addition, reports Axios, "The DNC filed an FEC complaint against RFK Jr.’s campaign, alleging that it’s receiving an illegal contribution from his super PAC, American Values 2024, because the group is trying to get him on the ballot in several states.” Next step: charge him with insurrection.

So here we have Chicken Joe and the Democrats — the people who keep shrieking about how they’re trying to Save our Democracy™ — once again trying to keep an opponent off the ballot. We’ll say this, though: They haven’t yet tried to bankrupt Kennedy or put him in prison. Yet.

On the other hand, as Kennedy noted in a recent tweet, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has yet to assign him Secret Service coverage, despite his family’s singularly awful history with political assassination. “I have determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not warranted at this time,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Kennedy, like Trump, has a populist streak. As our Thomas Gallatin noted earlier this month: “He has leaned into Americans’ disgruntlement over Washington’s elitism. As an individual cast out of the elite’s polite society, he connects with the frustration many regular Joes feel of being viewed with scorn by the cultural elites. And like Trump, RFK Jr. is unapologetically pro-America.”

Kennedy also has a libertarian streak, which is embodied in his free-speech bona fides. Indeed, he said yesterday that he “wanted a VP who shares my indignation about the participation of Big Tech as a partner in the censorship, surveillance, and information warfare that our government is currently waging against the American people.” (They’re looking at you, Sergey.)

Ultimately, though, Kennedy is a man of the Left, and he’s therefore not to be trusted with the keys to the country. Still, we’re happy to have him in the fight because we know what’s at stake and because we appreciate the fear he strikes in the Democrat Party.

Updated with an additional thought about the unknown and untested Shanahan’s fitness for the vice presidency.

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