Dem 51
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GOP 49
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RFK Jr. Moves to the Right

Now that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is running for president as an independent, has he changed his approach at all? Yup! He has lurched sharply to the right. Now he can openly court Trump voters, something he couldn't do while running for the Democratic nomination. Whether this is good or bad for Joe Biden is hard to say. In the absence of Kennedy on the ballot (if he gets on the ballot everywhere), disgruntled Republicans who don't like Trump might have held their noses and voted Biden. Now they can vote for Kennedy. On the other hand, Republicans who would never vote for a Democrat under any circumstances, and who in a two-way race would be stuck with voting for Trump, now don't have to vote for Trump. They can vote for Bobby Jr.

The first thing Kennedy did when becoming an independent is dump his campaign manager, Dennis Kucinich, a progressive many yards to the left of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Kucinich was replaced by the candidate's daughter-in-law, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, a former CIA officer. Generally, letting your relatives run your campaign is not a good sign, but Kucinich had no experience running campaigns either.

One of Kennedy's main campaign positions is opposing vaccines. That is not going to go over well with Democrats but could be a big hit with Republicans. There are enough anti-vaxxer Republicans that Kennedy could pull a few percent of Trump's voters away from him on this one issue alone. In close contests, a few percent is the difference between winning and losing. Kennedy is also very anti-corporate, anti-pharma, and anti-media. That tends to resonate with the little guy. But the little guy is now typically a Republican, so more votes from Trump here.

The RNC sees this and is now regarding Kennedy as a serious threat. Polls are already showing him drawing more votes from Trump than Biden. To the extent it is all about getting more than 15 minutes of fame, Kennedy is likely to exploit that and continue appealing to Republicans, where he has a toehold, rather than Democrats, where he doesn't, other than very low-information Democrats who don't realize his father was murdered 55 years ago and is not running in 2024. The RNC is starting to think about ways of dealing with him and branding him a pinko commie socialist, like Biden.

One factor other than policy is that Democrats are constantly sneering at Trump. This alienates a lot of Republican voters. Kennedy doesn't do that. His pitch on vaccines and hating corporations makes it easy for him to say to Republican voters: "I support many of the things you do and Trump does, only I don't have the baggage and I can get things done." (V)

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