Robert Kennedy, Jr. Sues Trump And Biden

[Democratizemedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons]

The presidential campaign of independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced on Wednesday that it had filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding Kennedy’s possible exclusion from a scheduled June 27 debate on CNN between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Biden has been insistent that he never have to interact with the “annoying” candidate, to whom he has refused to even provide Secret Service protection.

CNN reported that RFK, Jr. seeks to join the two frontrunners on stage and believes that the network gave both campaigns a huge “donation.”

The complaint alleges CNN “colluded” with the Biden and Trump campaigns in scheduling the debate and setting debate qualification criteria, which the Kennedy team claims amounts to “prohibited corporate contributions” to both campaigns.

The Kennedy campaign asks the FEC to bar the campaigns and CNN from holding the debate until they address the alleged breaches in federal law.

The complaint marks the latest step in Kennedy’s push to appear on the debate stage alongside Biden and Trump. He has frequently argued that the scheduling of the debate unfairly excluded him since the event was announced earlier this month.

In order to participate in CNN’s debate, candidates must be qualified on enough state ballots to be eligible for 270 electoral votes. Candidates must also earn at least 15% support in four national polls that meet CNN’s polling standards. The window for candidates to earn qualifying polls opened March 13th and closes seven days prior to the debate.

Aides to Kennedy predicted to The Washington Post that “he would be on track to get enough ballot access by June 20 if they were to speed up their timeline for turning in signatures. Last week, Kennedy campaign spokeswoman Stefanie Spear noted that Kennedy had reached the 15 percent threshold in the third of his four polls needed to qualify for CNN’s debate.

Kennedy’s campaign has acquired the signatures or expects to soon for states that would add up to 270 electoral votes but is not sure if states will certify the results in time, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. The campaign is also aware that its early submission of signatures could give Democrats and others an opening to file objections in states where it is seeking ballot access.”

RFK recently penned an op-ed making the case for him to join Biden and Trump, writing, “There is, however, much more at stake here than just journalistic integrity and the principle of fairness. This election is the best chance in a generation to liberate American politics from the two-party stranglehold that has gripped Congress and American society in a deepening paralysis.

The electoral strategy of each party is to incite as much contempt and hatred as possible for the other side. Today, Republicans and Democrats paint the 2024 election—as they did the 2020 election and the 2016 election—in apocalyptic tones. The people on the other side are so horrible, you see, that democracy itself is at stake.

The venomous tone of political discourse drives many people away from politics altogether. This combination of apathy on the one hand, and partisan frenzy on the other, paralyzes our political system. The two sides consume 99 percent of their energy fighting each other over the narrow set of issues (mainly culture war issues) that are most useful in inciting outrage among their base. Little political will remains to address the problems that are crushing our nation. Issues such as $34 trillion in public debt, the chronic disease epidemic, decaying infrastructure, addiction to war, corporate-government corruption, and the affordability crisis occupy precious little bandwidth compared to abortion, guns, and trans rights.

That is why it is so important to inject an outside perspective – a perspective that also expresses the independence of nearly half the electorate—in the presidential debates. The “political conversation” starts at the top, with the words spoken by the candidates for the highest office in the land.”

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