Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Anticipated to Withdraw from Democratic Presidential Primary, Eyeing Independent or Third-Party Candidacy

by Joshua Brown
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Independent Run

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a well-known anti-vaccine activist, is poised to declare on Monday that he will withdraw from the Democratic primary for the 2024 presidential election. Instead, he plans to enter the race as either an independent or third-party candidate. This development introduces a new element into an already volatile electoral landscape, which seems to be shaping up for a rematch between the incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Kennedy’s campaign has been hinting at the impending announcement with a series of teasers leading up to a scheduled speech on Monday afternoon in Philadelphia. In a recent video message, Kennedy lamented what he perceives as corruption entrenched in the leadership of both major political parties. He expressed a desire to alter the prevailing norms and practices that govern American politics.

This anticipated change in his campaign strategy follows a report by Mediaite that indicated Kennedy was considering an independent run for office. Kennedy, a member of one of America’s most iconic Democratic families, has been engaged in an uphill battle within his party’s primary. Notably, his approval ratings appear to be higher among Republicans, casting uncertainty on how this Republican support would fare in a general election—especially when Donald Trump is likely to be the GOP’s nominee. Spokespersons for both Biden and Trump have at times speculated that Kennedy’s candidacy could be detrimental to their respective campaigns.

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Kennedy has long accused the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of manipulating the primary process against him, even suggesting that he might explore alternative avenues. Campaign communications have been rife with his criticisms of the DNC’s decisions, including the absence of debates between Biden and other Democratic candidates, as well as the controversial move to place South Carolina ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire in the primary schedule.

A recent development further complicating the 2024 presidential landscape was progressive activist Cornel West’s decision to end his Green Party campaign in favor of an independent run. Concurrently, the centrist group No Labels is diligently working to secure ballot access for a yet-to-be-identified candidate.

Kennedy has amassed a following among far-right and anti-vaccine circles, having appeared on platforms managed by conspiracy theorists and fringe groups. Polling data indicates that Kennedy enjoys greater approval among Republicans than Democrats, a trend further solidified by his skepticism towards COVID-19 vaccines—despite substantial scientific evidence affirming their safety and efficacy.

Kennedy’s organization, Children’s Health Defense, has an ongoing legal case against various media outlets, including The Big Big News, accusing them of antitrust violations for efforts to identify and counter misinformation, specifically concerning COVID-19 and its vaccines. Kennedy, who took a hiatus from the organization for his presidential campaign, is listed as an attorney in the lawsuit.

Contributor Notes

Michelle Smith and Will Weissert of Big Big News contributed to this report.

Funding Information

Big Big News receives financial backing from multiple private foundations aimed at amplifying its analytical coverage of elections and democratic processes. The Associated Press bears sole responsibility for the content published.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Independent Run

What is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s planned political move?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is expected to announce his withdrawal from the Democratic primary for the 2024 presidential election. He plans to run as an independent or third-party candidate.

How could Kennedy’s decision affect the 2024 presidential race?

Kennedy’s move introduces a new variable into an already complex political environment. The 2024 race is currently shaping up to be a rematch between incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Kennedy’s candidacy could potentially siphon votes from either candidate, although it remains uncertain how significant this impact would be.

Has Kennedy made any public statements about his decision?

Yes, Kennedy has hinted at this decision in recent campaign teasers and a video message. In the video, he criticized what he perceives as corruption in both major political parties and expressed a desire to change the prevailing norms of American politics.

Who are Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s primary supporters?

Kennedy has a following that is more favorable among Republicans than Democrats. He has also gained significant support from far-right and anti-vaccine circles.

Is there an ongoing lawsuit involving Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s organization?

Yes, Kennedy’s organization, Children’s Health Defense, has a pending lawsuit against various media outlets, including The Big Big News. The lawsuit accuses these organizations of antitrust violations for efforts to counter misinformation, particularly concerning COVID-19 and vaccines.

Have other candidates also decided to run as independents?

Yes, progressive activist Cornel West recently abandoned his Green Party bid to run as an independent. Additionally, the centrist group No Labels is working to secure ballot access for an as-yet-unnamed independent candidate.

What has been the Democratic National Committee’s response to Kennedy’s campaign so far?

The Democratic National Committee has largely dismissed Kennedy’s primary campaign as not being serious. In response to queries about his potential independent run, a DNC spokesperson offered a dismissive gesture, encapsulated by an “eye roll emoji.”

What issues has Kennedy raised about the Democratic primary process?

Kennedy has criticized the Democratic National Committee for what he perceives as unfair treatment, including their decision not to host debates between Biden and other Democratic candidates. He has also opposed the DNC’s decision to place South Carolina ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire in the primary calendar.

More about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Independent Run

  • Kennedy’s Planned Independent Run Announcement
  • Mediaite’s Report on Kennedy’s Potential Independent Bid
  • 2024 Presidential Election Outlook
  • Cornel West’s Shift to Independent Run
  • No Labels’ Efforts to Secure Ballot for Independent Candidate
  • Children’s Health Defense Lawsuit Against Media Outlets
  • Democratic National Committee’s Response to Kennedy’s Campaign
  • Kennedy’s Criticisms of DNC Primary Process

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PolitiThinker October 9, 2023 - 8:33 pm

Very interesting, but I’m more concerned about the lawsuit his org has against media outlets. What’s the story there?

MotorheadMike October 9, 2023 - 11:20 pm

Looks like the 2024 race just got a new wildcard. With Kennedy’s mixed support, it’s anyone’s guess who he’s gonna take votes from.

CryptoQueen October 10, 2023 - 12:40 am

So Kennedy’s done with Dems huh. makes u wonder if any party can keep their house in order these days.

ElectoralJunkie October 10, 2023 - 7:59 am

With Cornel West and now Kennedy, the rise of independent candidates is something to watch. Could be a game changer in 2024.

FinanceWiz October 10, 2023 - 8:11 am

didn’t see this coming. Kennedy has been complaining about the DNC for a while now, but actually going independent is a bold move.

GreenActivist October 10, 2023 - 1:04 pm

he’s anti-vaccine and far-right? Not sure how that aligns with the Kennedy legacy. Pretty confusing if you ask me.

JohnDoe42 October 10, 2023 - 1:08 pm

Wow, RFK Jr. goin independent? This is gonna shake things up for sure. Who do you think it hurts more, Trump or Biden?


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