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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Kennedy’s running a doomed campaign

Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a campaigning event on Sunday. Kennedy’s campaign has no chance against Joe Biden and Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s declaration of presidency is a bid that won’t gain momentum this year, even if his uncle was former president John F. Kennedy.

Almost everyone is looking for an alternative as we witness a Trump and Biden rematch, but voting between someone who was once a president and someone who dreams of it generally leads to success for the former president.

Initially launching his campaign as a Democrat before switching to an independent, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy Jr.’s campaign has obtained optimism from both independents and party members. 

His integrity and ability to resonate with Americans on both sides of the political spectrum create a personable sympathy for the environmental lawyer, especially with students.

But his support has dwindled as he is only relevant for his controversial opinions. 

During an interview with CNN on April 1, Bobby expressed his opinions regarding the contenders in the 2024 election and politicization of the political system.

“I can make the argument that President Biden is the much worse threat to democracy, and the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history, the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, so to censor his opponent,” Kennedy said.

This statement shares a unique take on modern politics and an even more disputable opinion from the relative of a Democratic president.

Most media sources say the opposite is true as Bobby trucks on with his points in the interview to try to maintain his relevance. But that’s what it is, an attempt at the attention he needs to fight goliaths Biden and Trump. He’s lagging behind the two candidates following recent polling, according to The Hill.

In a two-party system, the prospects for an independent candidate are not likely, regardless of Bobby’s historically significant heritage. No independent candidate could, currently, challenge these political tycoons, even should there be a margin of error that moves in the candidate’s favor.

Americans yearn for an alternative candidate, and this election year presents an opportunity to support someone who brings an independent spirit to the table.

Department Chair of political science and NIU professor, Mitchell Pickerill, provides insight on the political figures and state of polarization in American politics.

“We started talking about Biden and Trump as candidates. I don’t think there’s any doubt that they’re not only not helping us get past polarization, but they’re feeding it, and I think they both are,” Pickerill said. “There’s no doubt Trump’s more obvious. But, it’s pretty clear that the rank and file Democrat would like a different candidate.”

Polarization in a two-party system has been heightened with the rematch of the decade. The political climate seems to limit us only to these two candidates, acknowledging the challenges Bobby faces in this year’s election.

“Robert F. Kennedy (Jr.), probably, if he plays any role will be that of a spoiler take in a swing state, taking votes away from either Trump or Biden,” Pickerill said. “Most people assume because he’s a Kennedy and he’s a Democrat that he’ll take votes away from Biden. But he’s also got some pretty conservative views on some things. From what I know.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s potential influence on the election could be multifaceted. While his family name and Democratic affiliation might suggest an impact on Biden’s share of votes, his conservative stances could just as likely draw voters from Trump.

As we see new leaders like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. emerges, at least Americans will have a third choice. But this choice is not worth it and may only result in diminishing votes for the leaders in the two major parties.

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