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Robert Kennedy Jr. Is Flirting with the Libertarian Party

Robert Kennedy Jr. is running for president because: (1) He wants more than the 15 minutes of fame to which he is entitled, (2) He wants a well-paying gig on Fox News next year, or (3) He is secretly a sadist and wants millions of people to die when half the population stops getting routine vaccines for once-lethal but now easily controlled diseases. Pick one. Or more. We don't know. Being elected president is not one of the options. If he really wanted to be president, he should have waited until 2028 when both parties will probably have wide-open primaries, and then flipped a coin and picked one of them.

Be that as it may, he is running in 2024 and discovering that getting on the ballot ain't no picnic. So far, he has gotten on the ballot in exactly one state: Utah. The chances of his winning that state are as close to zero as you can get without actually being zero. "He" is trying to get on the ballot in 12 other states. We wrote "he" because actually, the effort to get him on the ballot in those states is being funded by his super PAC, which by law may not coordinate with the candidate and do things that candidates need to do, like get on the ballot. What the super PAC is doing is probably illegal. The DNC has filed a complaint with the FEC about that.

Kennedy seems to understand that he is skating on thin ice—although having seen Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) outsource almost his entire campaign to his super PAC may have given him the courage to do the same thing. Nevertheless, Kennedy is looking at a second option: becoming the Libertarian Party candidate. That would solve the ballot-access issue instantly, since the LP is on the ballot in most states already.

LP chair Angela McArdle has confirmed they have spoken about Kennedy being the LP standard-bearer, but said no decisions have been made. In the end, the 1,000 or so delegates to the LP convention in late May will pick the nominee. One problem Kennedy has is that he is not a Libertarian. On one issue—vaccinations—he is on the same page as the LP. Neither one wants the government to force people to be vaccinated against their will.

But there are many other issues. The Kennedy family has long supported the use of a powerful government to help people. The LP supports the smallest possible government and believes the free market can solve every problem. The LP believes in unfettered gun ownership, decriminalization of drugs, demilitarization of police forces, same-sex marriage, open immigration, low taxes, legalization of prostitution, and free trade, among other things. It used to believe in abortion on demand, but in 2022 scrapped that plank. Before Kennedy can get the LP nomination, he is going to have to convince the delegates that he is on their side most of the time.

And the triangulating got even stranger yesterday. Kennedy's super PAC laid out $7 million for a Super Bowl ad. For the spot, they took a JFK ad from 1960, which featured a bunch of stills of the candidate with some animation and an upbeat song playing in the background, and replaced the stills of the uncle with stills of the nephew. Here is the ad, if you would like to see it:

It is very hard to figure out who the target demo is here. People who remember Jack fondly, but don't pay enough attention to know that Bobby Jr. has some very, very different policy ideas? In any case, if RFK Jr. does decide to dance with the Libertarians (who, it should be noted, are wary of not-really-Libertarians using them for ballot access), then he will have to embrace some positions that anger Democrats and others that will anger Republicans. This is far from a done deal. (V & Z)

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