By J Robert Smith
- Oct. 25, 2023
- 5-min read
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gives some conservatives the willies. Kennedy is a vote stealer – from Trump more than Biden come autumn 2024, they claim. The fear was, is, and will be baseless. Kennedy just came out for reparations, which is a zany proposition. Even in whacko California, they’re having second thoughts about this fabulous free lunch justice measure for blacks or anyone who has Rachel Dolezal’s or Jessica A. Krug’s hutzpah.
Reparations, however, are adored by scads of affluent, progressive whites. This crowd is always looking for ways of relieving their perpetual white guilt. Kennedy’s call for reparations resonates with them. They’re mighty fine pickings for RFK Jr. That should give you a hint where Kennedy’s votes will come from. America First has nothing to do with it.
Kennedy won’t pull Trump’s voters, not many, anyway. His strategy of bestriding the ideological spectrum to gain support from the right and left is destined to fail. So, who should have the jitters? Democrats.
RFK Jr. will siphon off most of his votes from Joe the dementia sufferer. Joe, the frail, befuddled guy who a year from now – if he’s not pushing up daisies – is going to be even more feeble and witless. But if Joe is gone, you say, Democrats will move on to a more attractive candidate, say, Gavin Newsom. Surely, Newsom complicates things? He isn’t old Joe.
Au contaire! Newsom is no less a puppet – a cogent one, but no less than Joe. He has no intentions of “messing with the primal forces of [the establishment].” The moneybags will have their puppet.
Newsom, if he’s the nominee, will end up running a crimped campaign. His record as governor may appeal to California flakes and the bluest of blue precincts elsewhere, but voters who make up the broad middle will be appalled.
But Newsom has to scramble to the center. The establishment knows the game.
It may, and Newsom’s instinct will be to try, unless he has a suicide wish. But how far can Newsom stray from the weird mélange of globalism, woke, and racism that’s become orthodoxy among progressives?
Even if the string-pullers give Newsom wiggle room, he won’t venture to the middle in a void.
Unless they’re entirely lame – and they won’t be – the Trump and Kennedy campaigns will unload on Newsom as he tries to dance toward the middle. Super PACs aligned with Trump and Kennedy will weigh in. And Newsom needs to be made to own Biden’s awful policies and governance.
Corporate media will certainly work to provide massive air cover for Newsom, as they do Biden, but it won’t work. It’s not working now for Joe.
And, yes, a thousand times over, Democrats are laboring to rig the next year’s elections. Whether or not they can pull it off depends on the dynamics of a three-man race, the state of the country, and if Trump can increase is vote margins.
Kennedy’s task won’t be to just contrast himself with Biden or Newsom. He’ll seek to draw differences with Trump. He’ll try to portray himself as the guy in the middle who bridges differences. Trump, he’ll say, is too polarizing to “heal” the country. But the nation needs to be repaired more than healed. There’s a difference. Trump aims to fix the country and “Make America Great Again.” Kennedy’s appeal is heavy on Kumbaya. Fix beats Kumbaya.
Kennedy’s principal appeal rests with disaffected Democrats and like-minded independents.
Let’s recall 1992 when Pat Buchanan challenged Bush the Elder for the GOP nomination and Ross Perot ran a rogue campaign that autumn. Buchanan’s insurgency inflicted real damage on Bush. Perot’s campaign stole votes from Bush. Clinton benefited.
The economy was wobbly back then. Bush owned the economy. Making matters worse, voters remembered – and were reminded – about Bush’s 1988 pledge: “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Bush raised taxes. He damned his own reelection.
In 2024, it’s not just the economy that’s troubled (and far worse than 1992), but on every major issue – let’s not forget crime – Biden’s record is abysmal. War, peace, prosperity, safety – the big four – Biden loses.
Who plays George H.W. Bush next year? It won’t be Trump. It’ll be a referendum of Biden’s dismal term. Kennedy makes matters worse for Biden or his replacement.
Moreover, we simply don’t know what the state of the nation and world will be like this time next year. It’s poor enough now. It may be downright scary.
The major issues that Kennedy is using to entice conservative voters and independent leaners are the border, war, and the economy. Trump’s trump card is that as president, he handled those issues successfully.
Despite stubborn opposition from Democrats, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell, Trump choked off the flow of illegals. The southern border was under control. There wasn’t concern about war with Russia, China, or in the Middle East. Trump relied on dialogue and carrots and sticks to resolve differences with the nation’s competitors and adversaries.
The economy was humming under Trump.
In less than 36 months, the Biden administration has trashed U.S. energy independence. The White House, in cahoots with congressional Democrats and Mitch McConnell and his RINOs, have spent trillions of dollars that the nation doesn’t have. Costs for food, housing, and energy keep rising. Americans have accumulated over a trillion dollars in personal debt. The nation staggers under a $32 trillion debt load.
Trump has an indisputable record – no matter how hard Democrats and media try to spin it – of winning, as he’d say. Biden and Democrats have indisputably failed. Americans aren’t dumb. They’re daily living Biden’s flops.
So, Kennedy isn’t likely to steal any of Trump’s thunder – and voters. Where RFK Jr. might poach some of Trump’s voters is on Covid vaxxing. Per the Washington Examiner, September 23:
Trump has stayed relatively silent on the issue of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying, “As a Republican, it’s not a great thing to talk about.”
But Trump is a skilled player – in business and politics. He’ll better position himself on the Covid vaccination issue as required. And by the time next year rolls around, Covid vaxxing may be eclipsed by deeper economic woes, civil unrest, and war – or close enough to war.
Is Kennedy’s quest for the presidency quixotic? If he actually believes he can win the presidency, yes. But he may have another goal.
Kennedy may be looking at the 2024 election has a means of reforming the Democrat Party. He may be looking to establish himself as the leader of the center-left, as a serious reformer. Building vote totals by pulling bushels of Democrat voters translates to power. That power may prove toxic to the establishment if he helps elect Trump, but that’s the Democrats’ problem.
Ideally, though, Kennedy may be trying to set himself up for another presidential run in 2028 as the Democrat standard-bearer.
Maybe. But as far as 2024 goes, Trump needn’t worry much about RFK Jr. The Democrats do.