By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023
PresidentCan RFK Jr. Do It?: Here’s How — Though there is plenty with which to disagree in a new piece that author and literary agent Brian Robertson published Sunday in the Washington Examiner (RFK Jr. Has a Path to Victory), he does raise an interesting point about a potential victory path for presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
In the article, Robertson makes the statement that the Kennedy campaign is now “driving the legacy media, as well as their handlers in the Democratic Party, insane with desperation.” He further states that Kennedy is showing “surprising strength” in the polls and posting “robust” fundraising numbers.
Little of the aforementioned rings true. It is highly unlikely that the Biden campaign strategists and their many media allies are panicking over the presence of Kennedy as an opponent.
Furthermore, it is not realistic to describe Kennedy’s poll numbers, which ranged from 11-20 pecent among Democratic primary voters through various national surveys, as ”surprising strength.” Additionally, while the Kennedy campaign reports on their June 30 Federal Election Commission campaign finance disclosure report of raising over $6.3 million, in this day and age of campaigning nationally such a dollar number is not particularly “robust.”
Robertson, however, does make some intriguing points. First, he is correct in his assessment that Kennedy has done a credible job of cracking through the media-imposed blackout of him and at least neutralizing their attempt to dismiss him as basically just a nuisance candidate to President Joe Biden.
Conversely, it’s important to keep in mind that President Biden’s own standing within Democratic primary polling isn’t all that impressive for an incumbent national leader. While Kennedy ranges from 11-20 percent as mentioned above, President Biden’s numbers spread between 60-71 percent in the same polls. Typically, an incumbent president should be posting average support figures of well over 80 percent from voters within his own political party.
But Robertson’s most interesting point is around the type of primaries the early states will host. The author isolates the first voting states of, for the Democrats, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Michigan, and educates the reader that all have some form of open voting. This means that non-affiliated voters can crossover and cast their ballot in the Democratic primary. The vast majority of these voters are not covered in the Democratic nomination polls, so within this group could be a hidden subset of voters for Kennedy.
The situation then becomes more intriguing if President Biden does not enter the New Hampshire primary. The state is unlikely to adhere to the Democratic National Committee’s primary schedule, thus President Biden may just skip the Granite State vote.
In and of itself, this would not be a major happening, but if Kennedy can begin to attract enough non-affiliated voters, and perhaps even some Republican support where election laws allow, meaning South Carolina, Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia, from this pool of states voting before and on Super Tuesday, the campaign could begin to change.
While there is little chance that even a surging Kennedy campaign could deny President Biden renomination, the challenger exceeding expectations may certainly cast a new light upon the general election. Additionally, the stronger Kennedy’s showing in the early states is, enhances his attractiveness to a minor party searching for a candidate.
While Kennedy at this point rejects questions about running as a minor party candidate, a stronger than expected finish in the early Democratic primaries could cause him to think otherwise.