Robert F. Kennedy Jr. launches Democratic challenge against Biden, vows to fight ‘corporate feudalism’

Environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Wednesday formally launched a 2024 Democratic presidential primary challenge against President Biden. Kennedy, the son of the late senator, attorney general and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, declared his candidacy for the White House at a campaign launch event at a hotel in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. “I’ve come here today to announce my candidacy for Democratic nomination for President of the United States,” Kennedy said after taking stage. “My mission over the next 18 months of this campaign, and throughout my presidency, will be to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism on our country,” Kennedy said. BIDEN LANDS ANOTHER 2024 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CHALLENGER He charged that state and corporate powers have “poisoned our children and our people with chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs, strip mine our assets to hollow out the middle class and keep us in a constant state of war.” Pointing to his famous family political dynasty, Kennedy said “my whole family including myself have long personal relationships with President Biden,” Kennedy said, adding that many of his family members disagree with him on a range of issues, but he still loves them. “Is it too much to hope that we could have the same thing for our country?” He warned that “we have a polarization in our country today that is so toxic, so dangerous, than at any time since the Civil War.” And Kennedy pledged that his goal will be to end that division by encouraging people to talk about common values rather than the issues that divide. “I’m going to do that by telling the truth to the American people,” he said. And he also took aim at the media, charging that “we know the media lies to us. Everybody knows that.” The announcement comes nearly two weeks after Kennedy political representatives filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to begin setting up the campaign. WILLIAMSON CHARGES REPORT ALLEGING ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR DURING 2020 CAMPAIGN A ‘HIT JOB’ Kennedy becomes the second nationally known Democrat to launch a long-shot primary challenge against the president. Marianne Williamson, the best-selling author and spiritual adviser, last month launched her second straight campaign for Democratic presidential nomination, and has been campaigning in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and other early voting primary states. Biden, whose approval ratings among all Americans remain in negative territory, has repeatedly said that he intends to seek a second term in the White House, but he has yet to make any formal announcements. He told reporters this past weekend that an announcement would come “relatively soon.” As he jumped into the race, a new national poll from USA TODAY/Suffolk University suggested that 14% of voters who backed Biden in 2020 would support Kennedy in 2024. According to the survey, which was conducted Sunday through Tuesday, two-thirds of Biden’s 2020 supporters said they’d back the president again for the Democratic nomination, with Kennedy at 14%, Williamson at 5%, and 13% undecided. Kennedy has faced criticism from fellow Democrats for his activism against the COVID-19 vaccine, and his emerging role in recent years as a crusader for individual liberties has made him an increasingly popular figure on the political right. While Kennedy insists that he’s not opposed to vaccines and that his sole interest is to make them safer, his Children’s Health Defense non-profit has been accused of spreading doubts about the safety of vaccines. Kennedy’s notoriety on the issue is a main reason why most of the major figures in his famous political family were absent from his campaign launch. The ballroom at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, where Kennedy announced, was jam-packed. Fox News witnessed a standing room-only crowd, with an overflow room filled. The Kennedy campaign said that “thousands of people” were attending. Brian Dignan, a registered independent from New York State, told Fox News: “I’m absolutely supporting him. I have one word of why I am voting for this man — and that’s courage.” “Bobby Kennedy has it. He has courage. And he’s demonstrated that courage throughout his career,” Dignan added. “And the fact that he’s running at all in light of the history of his whole family is tremendously courageous. And I think the whole Kenney family has demonstrated that courage throughout the years.”  Pamela San Clemente, a central Massachusetts resident who described herself as an independent conservative, said “I’m here because I so admire all his work with medical freedom, with freedom in general. With Constitutional issues…this push towards globalism that’s anti-sovereignty.” “I just feel like he’s a person who’s highlighting all those issues and I just want to learn more about his candidacy because I so admire what he’s done with issues that are important to me,” she added. Kennedy sparked speculation about a potential White House run early last month by visiting New Hampshire, which for a century has held the first primary in the presidential nomination race. He was joined on his trip to New Hampshire by his wife, actress Cheryl Hines — best known for portraying the wife of Larry David on his popular HBO comedy series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” 2024 FRICTION: DEMOCRATS VOTE TO UPEND THEIR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CALENDAR Kennedy earlier this year took aim at Biden and Democratic National Committee over the decision to move the New Hampshire presidential primary out of its position as the first in the nation primary. New Hampshire will now vote second in the DNC’s calendar, along with Nevada, three days after South Carolina, under the DNC’s new schedule. Ahead of the DNC’s final approval of the schedule in early February, Kennedy wrote an open letter to the committee, urging members to keep New Hampshire in the first spot because of the state’s long history advocating for civil rights and election transparency.  The DNC changed the nominating calendar in an effort to reflect more diversity in the Democratic Party, but Kennedy said that New Hampshire already showcases the diversity in America. As a general election battleground state, Kennedy said, New Hampshire’s “four electoral votes could decide the 2024 election.”  Kennedy, is being helped in his campaign by former Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who made unsuccessful bids from the left for the party’s presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008. Pundits view Kennedy and Williamson as long-shots for the 2024 nomination against Biden. But with the president likely to stay off the ballot in New Hampshire to avoid an unsanctioned primary, Kennedy and Williamson will grab plenty of national media attention and could create a bit of mischief in the Democratic nomination race. This is a developing story and will be updated.
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