Joe Biden: A Kennedy in the 2024 US election makes him nervous

In the two-party system in the USA, the third, fourth and fifth presidential candidates generally do not play a role. But this year there is a third man with a very famous name – and that has an impact on the election campaign.

There's always a Kennedy hanging around on some American parliamentary chair, and it's been that way for decades. But no member of the famous clan has ventured into the limelight as much as Bobby in a while. Robert Francis Kennedy Junior doesn't just want to become a representative or senator like so many others in the family, he is drawn to the White House, like his uncle John F. once did.

Is Kennedy stealing votes from Trump or Joe Biden?

He has no chance of becoming US President, but he belongs to the wrong party. In fact, none at all. But he is surprisingly successful with his election campaign. So much so that the 70-year-old could potentially steal the decisive votes from the two top dogs, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, in the very close race on November 5th.

The presidential election in the United States is traditionally a duel. No third candidate has made it to the Oval Office in 170 years – although in the two-party system in the USA there are always brave souls who challenge the favorites of the Democrats and Republicans.

One percent is best of the rest

Jill Stein is one of them. The left-wing progressive doctor is running for the US Green Party in the presidential race for the third time. In her most recent election in 2016, she received around one percent of the vote. Not much more was to be expected, as libertarians usually occupy third place in the party hierarchy, but their candidates are rarely able to convince more voters.

RFK Jr., on the other hand, is different. The average of the surveys, which are slowly gaining significance six months before the election, is almost ten percent. No third-party candidate has achieved such values ​​since 1992. At that time, it was the IT entrepreneur Ross Perot who stole voters away from incumbent George Bush (Republican) and his opponent Bill Clinton (Democrat). Ultimately, he achieved an election result of 19 percent – higher than any third-party candidate before him.

Politically, Perot moved through the country with a colorful bouquet of liberalism and conservatism. He was electable to both right-wing Democrats, left-wing Republicans and all the many independents for whom every election is torture. What Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stands for now, 32 years later, is also colorful, but does not follow a clear pattern. Bobby Jr. juggles environmental protection and lateral thinking, various conspiracy theories and a clear commitment to the extremely free market economy.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as Connor Roy

Kennedy originally wanted to run for the Democrats, but US President Joe Biden was the candidate there, which is why he decided to run as an independent. His appearance is reminiscent of the character of Connor Roy from the media billionaire family saga “Succession”. He, too, an older gentleman with confused ideas from an influential family, wanders around the country in vain with a radical outsider program and fails without understanding why.

The fact that RFK has done so well in the polls so far is partly due to his name, which continues to electrify Americans. On the other hand, it's also because they don't particularly value either the Democratic or Republican top candidates. An antipathy that obviously connects. Asked about his ambitions, Kennedy recently replied: “My intention is to ruin it for both of them.” But he also describes Joe Biden as the “biggest threat to US democracy.”

Who does RFK harm more?

Both Biden's and Trump's teams are closely watching their opponent's election campaign. Although he is fishing in similar waters as the Republican presidential candidate with his elite bashing and populism, it is currently becoming apparent that he could do more damage to incumbent Biden.

In the polls, Donald Trump is ahead of Joe Biden – on average by one percentage point. Quinnipiac University, however, comes to a different conclusion: there the US President leads by three percentage points, but only in a direct duel. If the pollsters expand the field to include the candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jill Stein and Cornel West (an independent from California), Donald Trump is suddenly ahead here too.

The Democrats are getting nervous

The Democrats are slowly beginning to suspect that the old man with the famous name could actually spoil their race. After Kennedy introduced his vice presidential running mate, patent attorney Nicole Shanahan, the party responded by forming a team whose sole job would be to develop anti-Kennedy strategies. The nervousness increases.

Sources: “The Hill”, “New York Times”, ABCNews, DPA, AFP, Reuters, Realclearpolitics, Quinnipiac University