Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Becoming ‘Annoying’ To Joe Biden

[Twitter.com, @RobertKennedyJr]

Joe Biden is having a hard time getting rid of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and more and more Democrats are beginning to take notice. A recent spate of high-profile interviews, along with a release of new poll numbers showing him attracting around a fifth of the Democratic primary vote, has boosted the longshot’s odds at taking out an incumbent president. 

Some campaign consultants who’ve worked for other “outsider” candidates have a message for Biden: You better start looking over your shoulder. 

“Kennedy, an anti-vaccine proponent who launched a primary bid against Biden this spring, is doing unexpectedly well in some polls and receiving increasing media attention as a result. He has also been on a press tour this week that included a Twitter Spaces discussion with Elon Musk and digital town hall with journalist Michael Smerconish, writes The Hill.

Democrats widely consider Kennedy to be a problematic fringe candidate who freely spreads conspiracy theories. But his relatively decent poll numbers, as well as his media-ready image as an heir to the famous political dynasty, have caused some to worry he could gain steam and potentially distract from the task of reelecting Biden in 2024.

‘Democrats would be foolish to mock or belittle RFK Jr. Every time we make fun of those who hold fringe positions, we lose,” said Michael Ceraso, a Democratic strategist and former campaign aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Democratic Party acting smug never works.’

Kennedy has indeed stirred up some untapped anger within his own party; Democrats have seen him rise to double digits in several recent polls, leading some establishment figures to acknowledge the parts of his message that may be resonating with voters.”

Politico reports that RFK Jr. has become an “annoyance” to the president, writing, “Besides using his legendary name and a national campaign megaphone to espouse fringe views, his outsize polling performance has served as a routine reminder of Biden’s vulnerabilities among his base.

Yet, for now, Biden world’s plan is to ignore him. The overwhelming sense inside the campaign and White House orbits is that any other posture would elevate him from a gadfly with a good name to a genuine contender.

They are counting on reporters and other Democrats to do the work of informing voters about Kennedy’s well-established views. Once that happens, as one Democratic strategist put it to us, they will “realize he’s running in the wrong party.” (This person, like others who spoke about Kennedy, did so on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about strategy.)”

That plan may be working. CNN has shut out Kennedy from any of its town hall programming despite giving air time to several Republicans who are polling at far lesser numbers than he does in Democratic polling. 

The Daily Caller noted, “CNN is welcoming more 2024 contenders onto their network for town halls ahead of the primaries, except there’s only one catch: they’re only inviting Republicans, leaving out perhaps President Joe Biden’s biggest challenger: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK).

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has been taking heat from all sides after refusing to hold primary debates despite Biden facing self-help author Marianne Williamson and former environmental lawyer RFK. And while parties typically do not hold debates if there is an incumbent, RFK’s polling at around 20% seems significant enough to warrant a network town hall.

Former Vice President Mike Pence is slated to join CNN on Wednesday for a town hall with voters in Iowa after officially launching his bid and the network will then host former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on June 12.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also joined the network for a town hall on Sunday and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is also running for the GOP nomination, frequents the network though an official town hall has yet to be announced.

But what these three GOP contenders have in common is that they all poll under 5%, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Pence currently polls at 3.8, Christie at 1.0 and Haley at 4.4.”

The Democratic dynast is taking has continued to take shots directly at the White House, nonetheless. Kennedy has hit Biden on his failure to secure the border, calling it a “humanitarian crisis” and “unsuitable” during a recent trip to Yuma, Arizona. 

Kennedy spoke with Border Patrol agents in the area and was told they have encountered migrants from 117 nations over the last few years. 

Last month, he commented on the illegal immigrant background of a suspect arrested for the murder of five people in Texas.

Kennedy noted on Twitter, “It is not anti-immigrant bigotry to demand an immigration system that keeps out criminals. In fact, letting them in stokes bigotry. As President, I will enforce a secure border, and I will expand the kind of LEGAL immigration that made our country great.”

“He also urged officials to address U.S. policies that create the conditions that cause many migrants to flee their countries in the first place, citing the war on drugs,” Fox News explained.

“The War on Drugs is one,” Kennedy said. “U.S.-funded dictators, juntas, paramilitaries, and death squads. Neoliberal extraction of resources. Unpayable debts. It is inhumane and hypocritical to deny immigration while creating the conditions that drive immigration. As President, I will change these policies. That’s the only long-term solution to the border crisis.”

“But we also need to recognize that this is a humanitarian crisis, and we need to fix the policies that have caused this mass migration, including decades of U.S. foreign policy that have imposed austerity on those governments, neoliberal policies that have encouraged the rise of the Junta military dictatorship that has trained and supported death squads in countries across Central America,” Kennedy continued.

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