So it looks as if Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is just about to turn up the volume. It was bad enough for the Democratic establishment when he announced he was going to run for President on the Democratic ticket. Didn’t he know that The Committee already had its heir and a couple of spares, none of whom was named Kennedy? “Look at your poll numbers, Bro. Even against a senile and visibly failing puppet you are trailing by 50 or 60 points. Give it up now before you embarrass yourself further!”
No such luck. It seems that Kennedy is in for the duration. A couple of days ago rumors started circulating that he would soon announce that he was going to run as an independent. Several sources put the magic day as October 9.
As I have said elsewhere, I think Kennedy and Vivek Ramaswamy are—or at least were—the most interesting things to happen in the early stage of this campaign. Both are ferociously articulate. Both have lots of ideas. And neither is named “Trump,” the kiss of death among uniparty factota, Republican as well as Democratic.
According to my astrolabe, the glitter has dissipated somewhat from Ramaswamy. He is powerfully glib, has put forth many good policy ideas, but often seems like a reincarnation of the Energizer Bunny—if not, it pains me to say, that character in Humbolt’s Gift whom Saul Bellow described as “smooth as a suppository.”
In any event, I suspect that Ramaswamy’s presidential prospects, certainly for 2024, are gibbous waning.
And Kennedy? It’s hard to say. I like his forthrightness. And the fact that Wikipedia, that reliably left-wing fount of approved ideas, castigates him as someone who is “known for advocating anti-vaccine misinformation and public health-related conspiracy theories” tends rather to endear him to me than otherwise. I disagree with Kennedy quite strenuously about many things—the second Amendment, for example, the climate, taxes, and some of what he has said about vaccination. But the fact that he has, as Wikipedia sniffs, “targeted prominent figures such as Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, and Joe Biden” I regard as a public service.
Perhaps this is also the place to say a word about “conspiracy theories.” Have you noticed that the phrase is nearly always used with an aura of disapproval. It’s almost as if the people who employ the phrase to discredit someone whose ideas they dislike believe that there are no such things as conspiracies about which one might develop compelling theories. But when Calpurnia and the Soothsayer warned Caesar about a conspiracy to assassinate him, they spoke not idly but truthfully. Their theory, that is to say, was grounded in empirical fact. How about the theory that the Wuflu, aka Covid 19, originated in an American-funded Chinese lab whose experiments were overseen in part by Anthony Fauci. Was that a “conspiracy theory?” Or was it a conspiracy exposure? In any event, I think it is worth bearing in mind the extent to which the accusation that someone is a “conspiracy theorist” is often just a way of declaring him beyond the pale, not worth listening to, beneath our consideration.
Who knows whether Joe Biden the candidate will make it to the November 2024 election? I have been suggesting for some time that he wouldn’t. The consensus is solidifying that he is but one serious fall away from Golden Pond. Hence the sneakers, the physical training, the shorter stairs in and out of Air Force One.
But whoever heads up the Dem ticket in November—my money is on Gavin Newsom, with a small hedge bet on Michelle Obama—the entry of RFK Jr. into the race as an independent will act as a serious drag on the Dems. Maybe he will pick some POC female-to-male transexual to share the ticket and pander to the Dem base. But if David French is unavailable, the Dems could do something really clever and convince RFK to complete the ticket with some squishy, low testosterone Republican: someone like Mitt Romney, say. That would give the ticket the requisite “bi-partisan” window dressing.
But whomever RFK picks, his candidacy would peel off many more votes from the Dem ticket than from the Republican ticket. Let’s say, as seems very likely now, absent an act of God, that Donald Trump is the Republican candidate. There are some anti Trump fanatics who would vote for RFK, especially if he can boast some uniparty Republican puppet as a running mate. But for every vote RFK peeled off from the Republican ticket, he would peel off three or four from the Democratic candidate. In other words, he would assure Trump’s victory, a victory that I believe is becoming more and more likely with every passing week with or without RFK’s bid as an independent.
That, I know, is a minority opinion wherever the waters are full of AntiTrump and NeverTrump solvents. I am always interested to ponder the opinions of people whom I respect but disagree with. What are they seeing, I ask myself, that I don’t? In many cases, it saddens me to acknowledge, the answer is “lots of things.” But in this case, I suspect that there may be one or two things that the “Trump-can’t-win” contingent are overlooking.
One common theme in their argument is that the Democrats, those wily critters, have been building up Donald Trump only because they think he would be easier to beat than, say, Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley (yes really). One even hears the name “Mike Pence” uttered in this context. I think that is a woeful misreading of the tea leaves. To stick with Ron DeSantis for a moment. Can anyone argue that he has run a compelling campaign? I agree that he has been an outstanding governor of Florida, but I think his campaign has been one misstep after the next, from his disastrous Twitter launch to his his grim performance in the debates.
Why are the Dems going hell-for-leather after Trump, saddling him with four preposterous sets of indictments in different locales? The Dems-are-Machiavellian-Geniuses faction says that it is because they know that each indictment strengthens the resolve of the Trump base, thus increasing the likelihood of his nomination, after which they will come down on him like a ton of bricks.
But I think that the ton of bricks has already been offloaded. No “grab ’em by the pussy” video clip, Russia collusion hoax, or conversation with Ukrainian politicians is going to shock the voting public. Trump’s millions of voters already know the worst. The Dems have been hammering him for some six years now, but to no avail.
Moreover, isn’t it possible that the Dems keep inventing things to indict him for not because they think he is the most beatable candidate but because they are terrified by his political potency and fear that, were he nominated, he might well win? That’s what I thought even before I heard that RFK Jr. was thinking about running as an independent. If that happens, I suspect that Trump will not only win but will do so while dealing a crushing defeat to Joe Biden or whatever puppet The Committee decides to put in his place.