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David Pakman

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GOP worried independent RFK Jr. run may cost Trump presidency

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David Pakman

Host of The David Pakman Show

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently announced he would now run for president of the United States as an independent, not a Democrat. Recent polls suggest that a three-party ballot would hurt Republicans more than Democrats, potentially pulling votes away from the GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.

Straight Arrow News contributor David Pakman clarifies why Republicans are increasingly concerned about Kennedy following his party switch. Pakman also observes a new Republican strategy aimed at securing the support of independent voters by smearing Kennedy as “a far-left Democrat.”

Over time, however, it seemed as though — as RFK’s polling went from 20 to 10, and he lost half of his support — that he was losing Democratic support. And thus, if he ran third party, he might actually pull more votes from Trump than from Biden. Well, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has now announced that he is running as an independent. This means he doesn’t have to win the Democratic primary or the Republican primary to make it to the ballot, assuming he has some means of getting ballot access — which is, of course, another question — or will he run a write-in campaign, but that’s a separate question. 

All of a sudden, Fox News has done a 180. Sean Hannity interviews RFK Jr., loads him up with all of his left-leaning positions, and makes it clear: “This guy is really a Leftist” — with the hope that he will siphon off voters from Democrats rather than from Republicans. RNC research — within hours of RFK Jr. making the announcement that he’s running for president as an independent — put out a sort of opposition research email, one-pager sort of thing, saying, “This guy’s a far-left Democrat, with all the far-left positions — don’t be tricked.” And this is all happening because the math has now changed.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr is no longer running for president as a Democrat. He’s now running as an independent. And the very same Republicans that were thrilled at the chaotic element that he introduced into the Democratic primary, are quickly very worried that RFK Jr might actually cost Trump or whoever else might be the Republican nominee. The presidency, let’s discuss when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. First announced that he was running for president. He’s a Kennedy, historically from a family of Democrats, he was running as a Democrat. This was very exciting to many on the right, because it achieved a number of different goals. Number one, it made the Democratic primary more chaotic. Why is this good? Well, generating the idea that there’s discontent among Democratic voters that they may not want Joe Biden or may not even vote for Joe Biden to run for reelection, makes the Republican primary seem less crazy by comparison, and potentially weakens Biden, even if he is the eventual nominee, I think there’s a good case to be made, that it doesn’t actually weaken Biden, but there was at least the idea that maybe it does. Fox News welcomed RFK, Jr. with open arms, he was interviewed all over right wing media, and everybody was just thrilled. Why because it was seen as bad for Democrats, that RFK was running. While RFK was running as a Democrat, internal polling started showing that his support, Kennedy’s support was pretty split between Democrats and Republicans. So when you look at a poll that says, Oh, he has 15% support in the Democratic primary, sometimes half of that support would come from voters who are not historically Democratic voters. They were Republican voters, independent voters, right leaning moderates, whatever the case may be. And so this started raising the question of what would happen if RFK Jr. were to run as an Independent? Who would it help? Who would it hurt, and the consensus sort of was, it’s not really clear, not obvious that it would help or hurt one or the other candidate. Over time, however, it seemed as though as RFK is polling went from 20 to 10. And he lost half of his support, that he was losing Democratic support. And thus, if he ran third party, he might actually pull more votes from Trump than from Biden. Well, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, has now announced that he is running as an independent, this means he doesn’t have to win the Democratic primary or the Republican primary to make it to the ballot, assuming he has some means of getting ballot access, which is of course, another question, or will he run a write in campaign but that’s a separate question. All of a sudden, Fox News has done a 180 Sean Hannity interviews, RFK Jr. Loads him up with all of his left leaning positions and makes it clear, this guy is really a leftist, with the hope that he will siphon off voters from Democrats rather than from Republicans, RNC research within hours of RFK Jr, making the announcement that he’s running for president as an independent, putting out a sort of opposition research email, one pager sort of thing, saying This guy’s a far left Democrat, with all the far left positions, Don’t be tricked. And this is all happening because the math has now changed. If you are a Democrat right now, you either already know if you’re not voting for Joe Biden, or you might not like Biden, but you still plan to vote for him because you realize Trump or DeSantis, or whoever are a threat to American democracy. So RFK is sealing with Democrats is where it is right now. On the other hand, if you’re a Republican right winger, maybe you’re anti Vax, or whatever the case may be, and you’re a default Republican voter. But you see Trump getting indicted again and again and again, and you start having some second thoughts. You might switch to RFK between now and November of 2024, meaning the ceiling with Republicans for RFK is quite a bit higher than where it is today. What this means is that in all likelihood, by the time November comes RFK, Jr, is independent candidacy, if it continues, there’s no guarantee it will but if it continues, we’ll be more of a benefit to Joe Biden than something that hurts him. That’s my prediction as of today. If you have a different view, if you think that Kennedy’s independent candidacy actually hurts Biden more, I’d love to hear from you in the comments in an email or on whatever platform you want to get back to me because I don’t see the math justifying that

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