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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK) is the 5th member of the Kennedy family to run for President of the United States. He expects to be a third-party spoiler in the 2024 election as he made the decision to run as an independent after first announcing a run for the Democratic nomination.
While Kennedy lacks a real path to victory in taking the White House in 2024, he is an important figure in this election. Who will he endorse? Who will he take more votes away from in potential swing states? Could he even end up as Donald Trump’s Vice President pick since we know it won’t be Mike Pence this time around?
Some top-rated political betting sites such as BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review to learn more) are even offering odds on who Kennedy Jr. will endorse, but it is possible he only sticks in this long enough for his own best interest rather than the interest of most Americans.
We look at RFK’s decision-making and which way he and the voters should lean.
Independent Was the Only Choice
When RFK filed for a presidential run in April 2023, he did it as a member of the Democratic party and he would be a challenger to incumbent Joe Biden in 2024.
However, it is very difficult to challenge the incumbent. RFK’s uncle Ted Kennedy once challenged incumbent Jimmy Carter, and while it was unsuccessful in 1980, Kennedy still received 7 million votes and it was the last serious challenge to a sitting president.
Biden’s age is a unique variable to this election as many Americans want someone younger to run in his place. But RFK has not been very popular with Democratic voters even though his famous family members, former president JFK and his father Robert, were staunch, beloved Democrats in the 1960s.
Realizing the error of his ways, RFK announced in October that he would be running as an independent instead of challenging for the Democratic nomination.
“Recent polls show that @RobertKennedyJr has suddenly become a serious contender in the 2024 race for the US presidency. Despite the traditional headwinds against an independent candidate, RJK Jr. shows a powerful possibility of winning.” #RFKJr #POTUS https://t.co/JuL7qCZpaW
— Brandon Bolin, Esq. (@rollinwithbolin) November 28, 2023
Who Has RFK Endorsed in the Past?
The Kennedy family has been synonymous with Democrats over the decades, so it should come as no surprise that RFK has a history of endorsing Democrats for president. RFK even worked on his uncle’s staff when Ted Kennedy tried to run for president in the 1970s and for the 1980 election.
In 2000, RFK endorsed Al Gore, the Democratic Vice President who was running for the presidency against Republican George Bush. He did this while opposing Ralph Nader, a friend of RFK’s, from the Green Party.
In 2004, RFK again backed the Democrat (John Kerry) over Bush, the incumbent. As we know, Bush won both elections.
In 2007, RFK was in support of Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee in 2008. When she lost that nod to Barack Obama, RFK had no problem throwing his support and campaigning for Obama, who served as a 2-term president.
In 2016, RFK again supported Hillary Clinton for president, calling her a friend and believing she would make a very good president.
In 2020, RFK noted that Trump was a bully, but he never specifically endorsed any Democratic candidate. He said that Tulsi Gabbard aligned closest to him on foreign policy issues.
Why RFK Won’t Endorse Biden
BetOnline has the following odds for RFK to endorse Joe Biden:
- No (-2500)
- Yes (+800)
It seems very unlikely that RFK will endorse Biden. He looks committed to running as an independent and seeing this through to the bitter end.
In June when RFK was still running as a Democrat, he would not commit to endorsing Biden if he lost the primary and Democratic bid. His only goal is to win this election, but we know that is virtually impossible for a 3rd party in the United States to do.
RFK can see the issues with Biden that many of us can see. Chiefly, he is simply too old to reliably complete a 2nd term as president. Anything can happen between now and November 2024, so staying in the race as long as possible is in RFK’s best interest. Why bother dropping out and endorsing Biden when Biden could not be on the ballot in 11 months?
In the event Biden is not running in November 2024, RFK could have some favorable numbers in polls against Trump. RFK has not done the best job of upholding Democratic values in recent years, including his anti-vaccine rhetoric and pushing numerous conspiracy theories. But the brand name of the Kennedy family is important and will help him.
But RFK is not going to endorse the president he wanted to run out of office in 2024.
Pick: RFK to Endorse Joe Biden – No (-2500) at BetOnline
Why RFK Is Unlikely to Endorse Trump
The odds via BetOnline for RFK endorsing Trump are not as much of a longshot as they are for Biden, which is interesting:
- No (-500)
- Yes (+300)
Again, the Kennedy family has been reliably Democratic for decades, and it would be very unlikely for RFK to endorse someone like Trump.
But there is a theory that Trump could be best served by choosing RFK as his Vice President pick for 2024, ending his independent run and not losing those votes to a 3rd party.
|Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Data has shown that RFK is receiving more donor money from Republicans than Democrats, a sign that he could end up stealing away more votes from Trump than he will from Biden in 2024. This is why there is a chance Trump could choose him as his VP, though there is also a belief that Trump will seek balance by choosing a woman this time.
But RFK very well might harm Trump in the key battleground states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona). Independent voters also favor RFK over Trump and Biden. There just aren’t enough of them compared to those who vote strictly Democrat or Republican.
Like Biden, RFK should not look to endorse his opponent Trump, who may not be the final candidate come November 24. Trump is getting on in years too, and he is under stress with his legal problems with the 91 charges over 4 indictments.
In the end, look for RFK to stay the course and run as an independent all the way, never endorsing Biden nor Trump. He is not going to win the election, but he is going to have an impact on it.
Pick: RFK to Endorse Donald Trump – No (-500) at BetOnline