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How RFK could smash the two-party system In American politics, upset has become the rule

'Are Americans quietly planning an “Independents’ Day”?' (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg/ Getty)

'Are Americans quietly planning an “Independents’ Day”?' (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg/ Getty)


March 11, 2024   6 mins

The surrender of Nikki Haley — long drawn-out but long expected — has set both of America’s major parties on the same course: a limp coronation, conducted through process of elimination. Donald Trump’s path is clear, competitors fallen away, while Joe Biden is also slipping through effectively unopposed, happily ignoring token challenges by Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson. But the frictionless progress of both candidates through their party’s internal processes is concealing a hidden truth about this year’s election. Many  Americans don’t want Joe Biden or Donald Trump. They see the race as a horror-reality show featuring two geriatrics who seem doddery, unwell, and angry at being told so. It is increasingly possible that they support independent candidates who could deprive both Trump and Biden of the votes needed to win the presidency. America could end up with a hung presidential election.

How would this come about? The Constitution requires that a victorious president wins at least 270 Electoral College votes, which they must gather from some combination of the 50 states. It now looks possible that neither mainstream candidate will manage that. For a start, the “Never Trump” and “Never Biden” voters are on the rise. Americans are now keen to explore almost any alternative, and independents are offering one in the form of the “No Labels” movement as well as Robert Kennedy Jr’s campaign. Both have received relatively little coverage so far, partially because of the juggernaut status of the Democratic Party and the GOP, but also because third-party candidates rarely do well in American elections. But, given the staggering sense of frustration nationwide with Biden and Trump and the absence of a unifying figure, an independent candidate could have a historic opportunity.

If neither Biden nor Trump reaches the required 270 Electoral College votes, the Constitution dictates that the voting shifts into a “contingent election”. This means that the incoming House of Representatives will decide the winner based on whoever can form a coalition of red and blue states and win 26 of them first. The Senate would select the vice president. Given that most Republican or Democrat politicians are hardly able to look at each other, let alone agree any deals, it seems unlikely Biden or Trump could forge that coalition. But Kennedy or the as-yet-unnamed No Labels candidate, who actively cultivate the idea of returning to centrist bipartisan solutions, potentially could, should the presidency slip into the arcana of America’s 18th-century constitutional schematics.

This would represent a seismic rupture in American political culture, breaking the rigor mortis on Left and Right, possibly opening the door to European-style coalition politics and spelling the end of the current party system. Such changes may seem impossible. But there is considerable precedent in American history for such creative destruction. We forget that we are currently on our sixth iteration of the party system, which began in the Seventies with the demise of the New Deal era and the realignment of the Democratic and Republican vote. And before that, earlier in the 20th and 19th centuries, Progressives, Copperheads, Whigs and Federalists fought over American government, flourishing and vanishing with a dynamism unimaginable in the days of our sclerotic party system. Political parties can and do disappear in America.

That said, the transition to a seventh party system would be nothing short of a revolution, and a potentially violent one. There would be a large gap between the election results in November 2024 and any contingent election, which only takes place after the new House members have sworn their oaths of office in the following January. That two-month void could descend into chaos, with contested results, claims of unreliable ballot systems, and wild threats made by reckless politicians. All this could make the hanging chads fiasco of the 2000 election, or even the riot of January 6, 2021, look like child’s play in comparison.

And yet such a scenario looms upon us, and the maths is clear. An independent candidate doesn’t have to win 270 Electoral College votes to win. They need only deny 37 votes to Biden and potentially even fewer to Trump. That would open the door to a contingent election. This would require hitting both Trump and Biden in their most vulnerable states, where each only had extremely thin margins last time around. But these tend to be the places that would welcome a moderating centrist voice, someone able to speak to the concerns of Left and Right.

Imagine if Kennedy were to win 45 Electoral College votes, just as George Wallace managed in 1968. This is conceivable given that polls show that a bare 27% of Americans now identify as either Republican or Democrat, and some polls show that 49% of Americans already identify as independent. It matters then that Kennedy looks set to announce that he is aligning his “We the People Party” with the Libertarian Party. That will automatically put him on the ballot in every state. He already leads the under-35 demographic, and attracts voters equally from Left and Right. His fundraising looks as strong as Barack Obama’s during his first presidential run.

The alternative, No Labels, has a PAC to raise money, but no actual candidate at present, so it’s hard to judge what impact they will ultimately have. But they describe their mission as supporting centrism and bipartisanship through what they call the “commonsense majority”. And it is telling that Americans are drawn to such a vague promise even without a personality to pin it upon. Given sufficient momentum, and a measure of luck, either Kennedy or a No Labels candidate could perform well enough to deprive Trump and Biden of the prize, triggering a contingent election. Though unheard of in modern times, contingent elections have happened before: in 1801, 1825 and 1837. After all, it’s how Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams each became president and Richard Mentor Johnson became vice president. While it would be a shock to see this antiquated procedure revived, the independent movements of 2024 already far exceed the more recent third-party challengers seen in 1912, 1968 and 1992.

Could America elect a long-shot outsider? It’s not unlikely, because they usually do. The last three decades of American political history is a catalogue of unlikely upstarts turned victorious presidents. In 1990, Bill Clinton was a relatively anonymous state governor and President George H.W. Bush was thought to be unassailable. No Democrat dared run against him. But then Bush stumbled and Clinton was suddenly in. George W. Bush also defied the odds: compared to the “Shrub” (as he was known), his brother Jeb was seen as the shoe-in. Next up, a young senator from Chicago called Obama surprisingly beat Hillary Clinton and then the well-known establishment candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney. Then came Trump. Even he was surprised by his win. In American politics, upset has become the rule.

No-one is talking about these possibilities yet. Instead, we are still analysing 2024 through the frameworks of 2020 and 2016. We love predicting the future by looking in the rear-view mirror. But there is a better way to understand what’s happening. Technology plays a huge role in defining the presidency. How we observe the race determines who will win. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were the last presidents to win on TV. Obama won on YouTube at a time when few understood what the website could do. Trump mobilised a Twitter campaign when the platform was still a novelty to most Americans. Today, the media battleground has shifted once again, with most younger voters no longer watching mainstream media and instead relying on alternative platforms such as Joe Rogan. His podcast interview with Kennedy was seen live by 30 million people, dwarfing mainstream audiences. By comparison, less than 10 million people watched the second Republican debate on TV. We are witnessing the first podcast presidency, with Instagram in a supporting role. These are the best ways to follow this race.

“We are witnessing the first podcast presidency”

Even if victory eludes them, there are other intriguing possibilities for these independent candidates. Trump and Kennedy are remarkably close on policy. Both are hostile to Washington; both want to stop the forever wars. Both support entrepreneurs and want to dismantle the corporate capture of the regulatory process. Both want to move power from Washington back to the states on all issues, including the biggest social issue of this election, which is abortion rights. They have some differences: Kennedy is a committed environmentalist while Trump leads the “drill, baby, drill” movement. But Kennedy already claims that Trump requested that he run alongside him. If Trump wins, it’s possible that he’d bring Kennedy into his administration, possibly to spearhead the attack on the regulatory process, a subject that is so detailed that Trump has little interest in it. Similarly, if Kennedy were to win a contingent election, he knows Trump supporters would challenge the legitimacy of his presidential mandate. A simple solution would be to invite Trump into the government, taking Trump up on his boast that he could “fix Ukraine in a day” and let him handle that ugly foreign policy issue.

As two ancient politicians arrogantly rumble their way to the presidential candidacy, American politics can seem more narrow and unimaginative than ever. But perhaps all the creative political energy is taking place on the fringes. Perhaps this year the date November 5 will gain a new moniker: are Americans quietly planning an “Independents’ Day”?


Dr. Pippa Malmgren was an economic advisor to President George W. Bush and has been a manufacturer of award-winning drones and autonomous robotics.

DrPippaM

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J Bryant
J Bryant
4 months ago

Fascinating article. I have no idea how likely a contingent election is, but I’d love to see the current stale, underperforming two-party system overthrown. Kennedy as Trump’s VP? That might help Trump win the election, but being Trump’s VP is a thankless task that requires total self-effacement (ask Mike Pence).
We desperately need political change in this country. I hope we don’t have to wait another four years to get it.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Given Trump’s style, a woman would probably be a much better choice as his VP. A feminine foil for him.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him choose Noem, or better yet, Huckabee Sanders. I understand that he was considering Kari Lake for a short time, but acting with less decorum than expected when at Mar-a-Lago.
Lots of people online are pushing Vivek as a VP choice, but that seems delusional to me. I can’t see how or why Vivek would ever agree to it, and even if he did, they’d be feuding immediately. Vivek is another alpha — he is a self made billionaire in his own right, and a peer to Trump, not a lackey. Watching their body language at the SC primary events was interesting … Trump doesn’t quite know what to do with Vivek. He recognises the raw talent and would surely love to harness it, but Vivek is a peer competitor who is probably the only person in the room who doesn’t ‘need’ Trump. Interesting dynamic.

J Bryant
J Bryant
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

I totally agree with your comment about Vivek. If Trump really wants to change a part of the federal government (e.g., the education department), he should probably give Vivek a cabinet position and let him get on with it.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Vivek is genuinely the highest calibre candidate to run in decades. If Trump has any sense he would give him a chief policy role and a dedicated team. He has some seriously good policy ideas.

Whilst campaigning Vivek joked that he wanted to set up a ‘Department for Abolishing Other Departments’.
He would be perfect for heading up something like this — he could have his own space and his own team, and get to work without the two big egos stepping on each other!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
3 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Vivek could saddle up with Trump and just stick around till he dies.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

What she’s calling a contingent election just means the House of Representatives decides the election, but with the caveat that each state delegation as a whole gets one vote. Further, the Constitution doesn’t say how each state’s delegation should decide how to vote, only that it is decided by the states themselves. It says they take a ballot, of the house but the twelfth amendment doesn’t say whether the current representatives as of November do the ballot or the incoming representatives do it. That’s ambiguous, and there’s nothing more stated. It also doesn’t expressly forbid the states from telling their representatives how to vote, which almost guarantees some state whose congressional delegation didn’t match their state legislature would try just that. It’s then a simple majority out of fifty. This is bad for Democrats. First, the Republicans control the house and would until January of 2025 when the new elected candidates take office. They will do all they can in the lame duck session to give Trump an advantage, most probably by blocking any attempts to disqualify Trump after the fact. Second, the Democrats power is concentrated in major urban centers. The Republicans are spread out across a much wider area so even if they don’t have a majority of representatives, they may outnumber the Democratic representatives in more states. Third, since the Constitution is vague about the process, the states could try to hold very quick legislative sessions to decide for their state rather than let the representatives vote however. In that case, Republicans control the legislatures of a majority of the individual states as well.

In short, every scenario is bad for Democrats. In order to deny Trump the victory, they would have to put together some type of coalition with never trump Republicans, and there are a lot fewer of those than the media thinks. The Trump Republicans outnumber the others quite badly almost everywhere. A Republican siding with Democrats against Trump would be ending his or her career. If this were to actually happen, it would most likely lead to a Trump presidency but with even more controversy and even more reason to view the incoming administration as illegitimate. It would be a huge cluster**** that would likely leave everyone angrier than they already are. The winner would face an impossible hill to climb in terms of public opinion and would very likely be a lame duck from day one. The loser would have every reason to employ further political and legal shenanigans. Everybody would be angrier than ever and the chance for political violence would skyrocket, as would the possibility of further noise about nullification and secession. As much as i hate the two party system, this would be dropping a nuclear bomb on one’s own territory to stop an invading army. It’s just not worth the cost. Nobody should be cheering for this to happen.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Very insightful. Thank you.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I do not entirely disagree with you, but maybe it is time.

We have tried switching parties in elections, we have voted for Hope and Change, we even sent Trump to DC to smash the place up and break the uniparty. Nothing has worked and we cannot continue as we are.

Either one side or the other has to take clear control which cannot happen because we are so evenly divided, or we need to push both parties aside.

This just may be a fight we have to have, even knowing the potential consequences.

But there is no good answer, no easy answer at this point. Regardless of who wins in November there is going to be massive violence. Trump wins and the left wing loonies, the Antifa crowd, will lose their minds. We will see attacks on republicans and we will see riots etc like back after George Floyd. Biden wins, a whole lot of well armed Trump voters will be perfectly prepared to go after the democrats and liberal groups. They are going to be convinced that it was all the lawfare, the interference by the FBI and the NY AG and the media that did him in. This is a group that already thinks democracy is on its death bed. Both sides are ready for a revolution and to use violence. It does not help to have AG’s like Letitia James going after the NRA, then Trump and now the beef industry. It looks like democrats are prepared to wage lawfare against anyone they do not like which makes losing in November not an option for the republican base.

The best thing that could happen would for both Biden and Trump to step aside. You would probably need a hardcore commitment from every other candidate to pardon Trump for him to even think about it but really……do any of us care if Trump is convicted and jailed or do we just want him back in FL playing golf and not at the White House? Just grant him a pardon, tell him he is a great American for stepping aside to stroke his ego, and then let him go back to Mara Lago and do interviews with Tucker Carlson. That would kill off a lot of issues even if it left democrats gnashing their teeth.

Short of that, we are screwed.

That said, I will never vote for Biden, so I have to choose between Trump and Kennedy. I would like to vote for RFK but feel like I have to vote for Trump to push back against the weaponization of the justice system and the legal system by democrats, to push back against the interference of the FBI and CIA in elections.

Terry M
Terry M
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Trump wins and the left wing loonies, the Antifa crowd, will lose their minds. We will see attacks on republicans and we will see riots etc like back after George Floyd. Biden wins, a whole lot of well armed Trump voters will be perfectly prepared to go after the democrats and liberal groups.
Left wing violence is much, much more likely than right wing violence – See Antifa 2020 vs J6 2021; one side was terribly violent, killing many and causing $billions in damage, while the other side broke a few windows and stole a few items from the Capitol. No comparison.
So, expect Trump to win and get a weapon in case you are within range of the leftist looneys.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

I have a feeling that either the NY case or the DC case are gonna get pushed through before the election and I expect that a DC jury or a Manhattan jury will convict Trump regardless of the evidence.

I can see both judges refusing to allow Trump to remain free while on appeal.

And, I can still see Trump winning. In fact, that could be the thing that pushes him over the top.

Question is, what will the courts do then?

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I think SCOTUS will put the brakes on Smith’s case — it isn’t just the Trump / Presidential immunity case that they need to pronounce on before Smith can proceed, it’s also the other Jan 6th case (Fischer v. United States).

In the former, I think they may rule against Mr Trump. In the latter I think they will rule in favour of Fischer (which helps Trump, and would effectively gut Smith’s case, not to mention all the other J6 rulings).

No matter how they rule, I can’t see how it will be possible for Smith to get this case heard and sentenced in time. The Dems will certainly try to it happen (sentencing) between Nov and Jan, but that’s a serious hail-mary pass, and whether the public would even wear it is highly questionable…

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

I think they might…

I was just reading the laws on this stuff. Apparently, neither members of congress nor federal judges can be tried either civilly or criminally for their official actions.

Presidents cannot be be tried civilly, but the question of criminal has never come up before.

I do not see how you can have that for congress and for federal judges and not for the president.

I can see a scenario where the court says that a president IS immune from criminal prosecution for OFFICIAL acts and then remands the case back to the trial court with instructions to make determinations on what acts were official and which were not. That then has to be determined and then that will invariably have to be appealed.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Yes, quite.
SCOTUS will back him on the immunity for official acts part (as the law is quite clear, and an alt ruling would open a Pandora’s box of untenable hampers on exec power).

However, I think they will rule that some of his actions in the lead up to J6, and on that day, do not fall within his “official duties” as President.

The current SCOTUS panel is highly constitutionally conservative, and rather literalist. As such, I think they’d be reluctant to rule in favour of blanket immunity for any state or federal official, and will stick with the literalist interpretation (that only ‘official acts’) are covered, lest they risk de facto unleashing monarchic powers for the President, by virtue of precedent. The Founders sought to restrain state power as much as possible, and the current court makeup are federalist types, so I think Trump will lose on that basis here.

However, in Fischer v United States, I would bet good money they will rule with Fischer.

Essentially, the case is a challenge to the “obstruction of an official proceeding” charges that have been contorted into awkward shapes to try the J6 rioters (and latterly, Mr Trump, in Jack Smith’s case) for felonies, where the DOJ otherwise could not make any meaningful charges stick. The court granted certiorari in Dec, and the case is on the docket for the current SCOTUS term. Smith cannot proceed in his Trump case until SCOTUS rules (as a ruling for Fischer blows the guts out of his case).

Fischer is the challenge brought by Capitol riot defendants, to the DOJ’s use of a controversial obstruction statute to prosecute them (on felony charges). The statute being challenged is Section 1512(c)(2), which was designed to close a gap in the criminal law that made it difficult to prosecute people who shredded or otherwise manipulated evidence of financial crimes. The argument of the defendants is that the DOJ has stretched the statute well beyond it’s original purpose, and essentially they’re ‘trumping up’ charges, using a financial/document crimes statute, to try to imprison the J6 protestors/rioters.

SCOTUS is likely to be partial to this view, given the majority of sitting SCOTUS judges are not in favour of anything that looks like judicial overreach, or abuse of the law.

Oral arguments have been scheduled for April 16th. The amicus briefs filed so far can be read on scotusblog, and are interesting to read, if you are interested.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

That was kinda my thinking on the Fischer thing…..DOJ got TOO creative there.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

There is a Peace and Freedom party candidate.
Think real 3rd party not a cult figure like RFK

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

You would be surprised how pragmatic and well-reasoned are his views and how personably RFK Jr. comes across. The other parties are afraid of him because he is a threat, hence the vituperation he widely receives but does not deserve.

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Violence from Conservatives is much, much less likely than from Progressives, I agree. But when it comes, it will be far more organized and effective. It will include half the military, three-quarters of the States, and its goal will be to restore the Constitution to its intended stature, not tear it down. It is unlikely at the moment, but history shows that a precipitating event can change that overnight. An assassination, a mass casualty event at the hands of the government, or even a disastrous election?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Regardless of who wins in November there is going to be massive violence.
At this point, I do not discount anything. However, lest we forget, all the preparation for potential violence that went into place in 2020 was in case Trump won, not in the event of him losing. After endless violence post-Floyd’s overdose, it was abundantly clear which side was prone to mayhem.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Wow sounds like the US style of government is a Big Failure.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The only thing I know for sure is that if the left erupts and causes violent chaos, the official narrative will be they are trying to save democracy and need to express their emotions. But if the right does it, they will be hunted down and imprisoned.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes, but Alex, so much has happened since then.

I’m telling you, all this lawfare by the democrats, the treatment of the Jan 6th rioters, the chasing of the NRA and the beef industry.

The degree to which the elites have corrupted the government and the legal system, their abuse of the CIA and FBI, were not clear in 2020. They are now VERY clear.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I too would like to vote for RFK Jr but worry that it would be a wasted vote (I voted for Perot in ‘92). But I cannot and will not vote for Biden. So, I am stuck voting for Trump.

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
4 months ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

Sounds similar to the options available to us in UK this year

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Elgey

At least Trump managed to get his country Energy Independent and was building a wall, hindered only by the D’s while, in the UK, the two legacy parties have been strenuously implementing stasis, sometimes in competition, and at other times in unison.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

You one of those who think every liberal is a secret FBI agent !o!

Dr E C
Dr E C
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Please vote RFK! I feel the time has come for a protest vote en masse. If enough people don’t vote for the lesser of two evils (in the fear that their vote will otherwise be wasted) we might finally get rid of the rot. Here in the Uk I’ve had it with the main parties & will be voting SDP for the first time. It might be equivalent to spoiling my ballot; but even that’s a message I’m prepared to send. If a critical mass did likewise we might finally get the change we desperately need…

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

You may be right. I’d just like to keep the violence minimal. I still hope for peaceful resolutions. If the ruling class is reasonable and adopts a more worker/middle class oriented agenda and gives some concessions to populism, things like a more controlled border, regulated trade that protects American workers, monopoly busting, banking regulations, etc. I hope that would be enough to reverse some of the polarization and animus that pervades our politics, though I’m wary of so-called centrists like Haley who represent a past version of centrism that is, in my view, even worse than a second Biden administration.
Biden, for all his faults, is at least so old as to be incapable of doing much damage and his administration seems to be run out of the Pentagon, or at least that’s whose priorities actually got passed by Congress during his administration. He’s a placeholder and its clear to me he’s given his military advisors most of the reins over foreign policy. The military leadership are certainly not what they were three decades ago, but they remain, in my view, the least incompetent people remaining in the Washington blob. We could do worse, like every other Democrat whose name has been mentioned. He’s the least woke, the least progressive, the least objectionable Democrat who’s capable of winning their primaries. They have the same problem as the Republicans but their plurality is much smaller than Trump’s and too concentrated to be politically effective. I’m of the opinion that a second Biden administration is unlikely to accomplish any more than this one did and will simply be four more years of nowhere that builds anger and opens the door wider for a real populist, Kennedy or somebody else, to build a more dominant coalition to challenge the establishment, whether under the banner of one of the major parties or not.
The lawfare disgusts me, because it’s just so irresponsible on so many levels, and it clearly isn’t even working anyway. It proves that the people running the Democratic party have very little concept of how America works or they would know how this would poison them in the minds of the voters. Americans have a rebellious anti-elite streak a mile wide that goes back to the revolution. Putting political candidates on trial, justified or not, was bound to backfire. Trump had people chanting ‘lock her up’ but once he got in office, he didn’t actually do it. Now the Democrats are doing it, and once the precedent is established, the other side will retaliate and the next thing you know the courts are filled with frivolous political cases at every level from both sides in addition to all the crap that has them overworked to start with. It clicks the ratchet to the left one more time, getting a little bit closer to ‘no holds barred’ political warfare. We’re already in a cold civil war, but the right provocation could turn it hot and that’s not something anybody should want. I expect a lot of push/pull and brinkmanship between states and the federal government over the next decade or two and a lot of it will play out in court. The same thing happened from 1830-1860.
I agree about Trump. He’s an impediment at this point. He’s just clogging the lane that could be filled by another populist like Kennedy, or Ramaswamy, or even someone like Josh Hawley or Rand Paul. Alternatively, maybe I’m wrong and the Trump haters are correct. Maybe people are loyal to him alone personally and his movement collapses without him. I personally doubt it but we won’t know so long as he insists on being out front, which he probably will until he either croaks or becomes too frail to do anything, and Biden hasn’t exactly set a good precedent for how senile a President is allowed to be. Trump could have handled 2024 a lot differently, pick a candidate to endorse and pull strings from the sidelines the way Obama and the Clintons did and still do, but be more obvious and honest about it, because that’s why people like him. That would have given his movement a head start on the future and made a 2024 victory far more likely simply by virtue of how unpopular Biden is, but for reasons of ego or self-preservation, he had to run again, so here we are. He seems to care more about himself than his movement or his supporters, which is bad, but then, at least he respects them enough to listen to what they want and actually try to accomplish it.
It’s naive to think the elites would ever let him go. He challenged the globalist status quo and forced the elites to actually *gasp* do things they didn’t really want to do, like partially decouple from China, renegotiate NAFTA, and come to terms with the fact that globalism is politically toxic at a grassroots level in a lot of places, if not most places. They’ve been forced to give ground that now can’t be entirely taken back, as evidenced by the Biden administrations lukewarm protectionist policies and keeping the China tariffs. Trump killed TPP before the 2016 election even happened because it was too much of a political liability despite being an Obama policy. The tech and media companies hate Trump. The big banks hate Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The bureaucrats hate Trump (because they might lose their jobs). The MIC don’t like globalism but also don’t like Trump because he’s anti-interventionist. I’d never believe any of them, or their political tools, would ever pardon Trump because they blame him for ‘ruining everything’. It has nothing to do with what he actually did or the law. He upset their apple cart and they want him to bleed for it. You’d never get a full slate of Republicans to pledge to pardon Trump. The careerist politicians who aren’t completely corrupted, like Scott, DeSantis, Burgum, etc. Ramaswamy already did make that pledge I believe. There’s no way Haley would ever pledge to pardon Trump and I wouldn’t believe her if she did. Same goes for Christie or Pence though they were non-factors from the get-go as defectors from the Trump movement.
There are two ways to defeat the establishment in the long-term without blowing everything up in a violent revolution. First, the FDR approach, which happened the last time the elites let the regular folks suffer the economic consequences of their preferred policies. If a populist candidate could, like FDR, get a large majority of the votes, it would force the aristocrats to accept reform and stay silent, as any attempt to stand in the way would show them for the aristocrats they actually are. Could come from either party, but would need at minimum 60% of the vote, and widely distributed geographically, not concentrated on the coasts or in the middle. That’s the FDR approach. I’m skeptical this could happen given our current political divisions but can’t rule it out.
The second, more likely, way to defeat the establishment is simply by attrition, with both parties blocking the other and with factions within the parties fighting each other. So long as neither an executive nor a Congress gets a wide majority and a broad mandate to govern, it’s easy for either party or even a group within the parties to limit what anyone can accomplish and lock-in the status quo whatever it happens to be at the moment, preventing the government from addressing any of the nation’s pressing issues out of a disagreement over how to do so or doing much of anything besides keep the wheels turning. This will leave the states more room to take matters into their own hands, particularly on contentious issues like abortion, immigration, etc. Over time, the country slowly slides toward a more decentralized system which will be formalized and recognized at some point once enough people realize the battle is over and there’s no going back to the way things were. As a libertarian, this is the scenario I would favor because over the long term, the USA is too large and too diverse for consensus based politics on all issues. I’d like to see the USA become a better version of the EU, without the ideological nonsense, where monetary and military issues are kept at the national level but most everything else is kicked down to the states. Granted, there would be problems, but there already are. The US already has it’s own Greece (Mississippi), it’s own Germany (Texas) and its own France (California).

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

For me, the Democrats have proven themselves domestic enemies of the Constitution and the rule of law, not only with their trumped up cases against Trump, but also their FBI censorship “suggestions” and payments to private companies, like Twitter. The censorship shows in the discovery in Missouri v Biden and the Twitter Files revelations.

If voters don’t push back hard against Democrats’ lawless behavior in 2024, they may not get another chance. Ilegal intimidation of Supreme Court Justices, with riots near their homes, may put reasonably fair elections out of reach. It’s certain that if legally harassing Trump is seen as successful, Democrats will use it early and often against Republican candidates at all levels, not just for president. The only way to put a stop to this tactic is to elect Trump and thus show it backfired.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

Why do you think Trump is above the law? Do you consider him to be your king?

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The real chaos comes if there is a contingent election AND Democrats have a majority in the House. As you say, a majority of states will choose Trump and thus he should win but there is little doubt in my mind (based on the two absurd D impeachments of Trump) the House would have an insurrection of their own by a different name to keep him out of office.

Arthur King
Arthur King
4 months ago

I’m worried about that situation too. Republicans will rightfully be angry and the Democrats will use the reaction to repress their opponents.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

The Dems are already doing that…
They’re busy trying to twist the law into pretzels to bankrupt and imprison Trump. But they’re also refusing to even hold a primary (so much for “Democrats”!)… and they’re trying to sue RFK out of race too.

They’ve filed a series of vexatious legal complaints against RFK across various states, hoping to tie up his resources fighting those off. Biden is also — still — refusing RFK any Secret Service protection, which is appalling.

These tyrants have no shame. They will use literally any means, and try to destroy anyone that opposes them. They are making it clear that they would rather burn it all down than hand over power.

It’s actually quite frightening.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Why should Joe Biden give Bobby Kennedy Secret Service protection? He doesn’t qualify for it under the law and regulations. His father and uncle were killed by assassins but that was 50 years ago. Sadly, we can’t afford to protect every candidate that gets death threats.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Of course he should give it to him…. He isn’t just any candidate. Assuming that he is making the decision.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago

Bobby Kennedy is not just any candidate? How so?

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. I hope so.

All Presidential candidates (and VP candidates) are entitled to Secret Service protection within 120 of election (ie. the govt literally cannot refuse him when it gets 4mo out), but it is customary that this protection is offered from 1 year out to anyone with a high profile, which in practical terms means anyone polling at 10%+, due to the obvious, serious threats that candidates face.

Nikki Hayley requested Secret Service protection recently, and a Congressional panel gave their recommendation to grant it [but then she dropped out before it could be put in place].

Nikki Hayley was never going to get anywhere near the popularity of RFK, as polling demonstrates. So the continuous refusals to provide protection for RFK, despite repeated requests and proof of very serious death threats and stalking incidents is just outrageous. Imagine if a Republican President was doing to this to a high profile runner?! — it would be 24/7 news about how they were trying to get the person killed.

Furthermore, this is a *Kennedy* running. His father and uncle were both murdered while serving, so if anyone should be protected against these very real death threats it’s Kennedy, who btw is polling at 27%.

Peter G
Peter G
4 months ago

As I understand the Constitution, it’s one vote per state in a non-majority election, not a majority vote of the House. So if Republicans contol more states, even if they are in a numerical minority in the House because Democrats control more major populationcenters, they would control the vote. Hard to imagine that would be an accepted outcome by the left.

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Brought up short with the first clause…. ‘What he’s calling a contingent election……’
She! (I hope.)
The rest looked pretty good but I have no idea if it made sense. What is the timetable governing such a scenario after the newly-elected take office?

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Elgey

The House (newly elected) and Senate (with any newly elected members) will meet on January 6, 2025 to count electoral votes and determine who won the election. Yes, this is the infamous January 6 meeting which was delayed by the riot at the Capitol in 2020.
If no one gets a majority of electoral votes (at least 270 votes) then the House elects the president and the Senate the vice president. Each state gets one vote, not each member.
Votes are taken until a winner emerges. If no one wins the vote in the House by January 20 then the then-vice president temporarily becomes president.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Elgey

Well, sorry about that. I still slip into the old grammar drilled into me in the late 80’s and early 90’s in my extremely traditional rural school where ‘he’ is the default, but I do apologize for that. The President is supposed to be sworn in Jan 6th, which means there are about 2 months for all this to happen, which is not much. The twelfth amendment was written in 1804, and like most of the Constitution, it’s actually rather vague. When it was written, the President didn’t take office until the following March. The author says the incoming elected representatives would have this vote but that’s not actually in the language of the twelfth amendment. It doesn’t specify whether the current House members that were in office in November or the incoming House members should take this ballot. If it’s the latter, they would have had three months to do it in 1804. As things stand today, they have five days, which might be doable, but the author gets one thing wrong. It actually doesn’t specify whether the incoming House members vote or the current ones do, but it does say “immediately”, so if the Democrats win the majority in the House, the Republicans will almost certainly try to argue that it was always intended to mean the current House members.
This HAS happened before, in 1824. Andrew Jackson won the popular vote and the electoral vote but didn’t have a majority of the total in either case. The House put John Quincy Adams in office, and the people were less than pleased by this outcome, and elected Jackson in 1828 by a large margin in both the popular and electoral votes. In 1824, it was the newly elected House members that took the vote, but back then, the President took office in March and the vote was held in February. Transportation and communications were factors that had to be accounted for. There probably could be a vote taken in the five days from Jan 1st to Jan 6th, but depending on the circumstances of the election who knows what the situation would be. The election is likely to be close so there could be recounts and contentious court battles ongoing. Either candidate or anyone might question the legality of the process. We’re far past the point in the USA where people respect the process and honor it for the good of the nation. Even if the Democrats won a majority of seats, it does not follow that they would automatically have a majority of representatives in a majority of states. It’s actually quite likely the opposite would be true given geographic and political realities. The west coast and most of NE are almost one party states, and a lot of Democrats come from those places. Remember each state counts as one regardless of population. So you could have a minority party winning a vote because they have better geographic distribution.
I take it from all this you can tell what a monumental mess this would be and how many ways there would be for things to go sideways quickly. The good behavior of the candidates can hardly be assumed given Trump’s actions last time and the other side’s overreactions and irresponsible rhetoric since then. State governments could intervene and try to force their representatives to vote one way or the other and there’s nothing specifically to say they can’t do that. Everyone knows the American system is broken, but few realize just how badly it’s broken, but if we have a scenario like this, America’s dysfunctional side will be put on display for everybody in the world to see.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Don’t we already know the procedure the House and Senate will follow? Under 3 U.S.C. § 15, the new Congress will meet on January 6, 2025 in joint session to count the electoral votes. If no candidate gets a majority the House immediately goes into session to choose between the top two candidates.
The president is sworn in on January 20, not January 6. If a president has not been chosen by January 20, the then vice president temporarily becomes president.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Yes you’re right, sorry for the error. I was just considering the twelfth amendment in itself. I had forgotten in only modified the existing process and had thought it created a new process entirely and that the language of the twelfth amendment was all we had to go on. I suppose that would eliminate some of my concerns by clarifying it is the newly elected Congress and setting the date. Thanks for the correction.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

“Democrats power is concentrated in major urban centers. The Republicans are spread out across a much wider area so even if they don’t have a majority of representatives, they may outnumber the Democratic representatives in more states.”
So Republicans are more democratic? And Democrats more majoritarian?

As to the anger part, I think that’s what happened after the last election when Biden got more votes then Obama.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Well, at the grassroots level with actual voters, yes to the second part. The Democrats often cite the principle of one person one vote. In other words, everybody should count the same regardless of geography, tradition, regional interests, etc. Majority rule. That’s not the system we have though. The founding fathers were wary of pure majoritarianism and the rule of the mob. Small states in terms of population didn’t want to be dominated by the politics of much larger states and wanted a way to protect their interests. That’s why we have the Senate with equal representation by state and the electoral college system for electing the president. Technically, the USA is a representative republic, not a democracy. I wouldn’t say the Republicans are more democratic. Right now they are more populist and libertarian than anything else, both of which are a threat to the current ruling class and the Washington blob.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The incoming Congress acts in the event of no majority of Electors, because it is the incoming Congress that certifies the electoral votes of the States and it is only after that process fails to find a majority, that the Congressional process is triggered.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago

Hard to imagine the House backing RFK Jr. That guy makes Trump look sane.

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
4 months ago

The key to Pippa Malmgren’s scenario is RFK Jr. becoming the Libertarian Party candidate — 3rd party candidates have to be on every state ballot to be viable down the stretch. RFK Jr making a deal with the Libertarian party will be tricky, very tricky. Think the CATO Institute to understand its core values versus RFK’s environmental policies. There is no overlap. But this is politics and the Libertarian Party would get enormous street credibility in future elections and RFK gets 50 state ballot access.
Should they make a deal then RFK’s candidacy becomes more viable then Malmgren suggests. RFK would have significant resources and the Biden camp is in a two-front battle and Biden, to be kind, is in a fog. Biden won’t under any circumstances debate anyone and Trump and RFK could easily debate on Joe Rogan with Tucker Carlson and Meghan Kelly as moderators. Imagine the audience for that!
The polling suggests RFK is pulling 2 Biden voters for each Trump voter. By September RFK could be nipping at Biden’s heels in the polls. RFK’s argument then becomes “a vote for Biden is a vote for Trump” — Biden’s worst nightmare (presuming he’s at all cognizant by that time).
If RFK and the Libertarian Party make a deal the most likely outcome in November (in popular votes and electoral votes) is:
1st Trump
2nd RFK
3rd Biden (if the DNC doesn’t parachute someone else in).
If Trump doesn’t get 270 electoral votes, he would make a deal with RFK.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Pruger

Let’s see how well this post ages come November when Biden wins another landslide and nobody remembers who RFK is.
But those two clowns debating on Joe Rogan with Tucker moderating does sound hilarious! Any chance we could work Katie Britt in there somehow? She is amazing!!!

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
4 months ago

Biden can’t win “another” landslide because he has never won one. He got 306 electoral votes in 2020 which is three more than John F. Kennedy in 1960, who was widely considered to have fought to a tie with Richard Nixon (but that Kennedy won in the electoral college because of the quirky way that electoral votes are distributed).

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

But didn’t your overlord, Trump, declare it a landslide when he won the electoral college by the same margin that Biden did?
And there is the small matter of the 8 million votes that the president won by.
Yeah, that’s a landslide, sonny.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago

You call yourself a ‘socialist’ but are desperate for the Wall Street candidate to win. How does that work? Middle class lefties, eh? I bet you think Ed Davey is cool too.

Peter G
Peter G
4 months ago

Just once I’d like to see a constructive, well-supported, non-snark response from Champagne Socialist. All snide, no substance.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Pruger

Maybe. But I don’t see Bobby Kennedy going anywhere. The Libertarian candidate does get on the ballot but that’s not going to mean much. A few percent, maybe.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

This is dumb. Biden wins in another landslide. End of story.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
4 months ago

I wonder how many fraudulent ballots that will take.

Arthur King
Arthur King
4 months ago

With fortification help again.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
4 months ago

I was curious about this RFK fellow, so I pulled up a few videos on the internet over the weekend and watched/listened to what he had to say. I know this is probably not the priority of the millions of cheesed-off Americans fed up with two-party-politics and wanting something different and it isn’t Kennedy’s fault – but his voice!
Perhaps a sign of the dire straits US politics is in that the guy is seen as a contender, as in normal times he’d sink without trace. A leader needs a good, steady voice that people can listen to and I could barely get through 5 minutes of him speaking, the catching and the rasping were too distracting.

Rob N
Rob N
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I know what you mean about his voice but at the same time it seems shallow and a bit depressing to think like that.

Also I think you will quickly get used to his voice. I did.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

His voice doesn’t bother me, you get used to it.

Last week he released a 10 min State of the Union, the same night as Biden’s (link below). The juxtaposition of this, vs Biden’s angry, spiteful, sloppy SOTU performance could not be more stark.
Biden was essentially the “Old man’s shouts at clouds” meme, but with more nastiness and fearmongering (Hitler references dialled up to 11/10).
Watching Kennedy’s SOTU, I can fully understand why he’s already polling at 27% or so. It was Presidential. It was informative. It comes across as honest, but also inspiring. If this is going to be his style and his message, I really hope he does well. America does not need more angry old men screeching out tired WW2 references to try to scare up a vote. America needs unity, transparency, and calm, steady leadership.
I think was really well expressed in RFK’s SOTU, and I only wish we had some contenders like this in the UK political space…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0yvc2Qhn5E

Rob N
Rob N
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Thanks for the link and it was inspiring yet also did not really say anything about what he would do. Clearly he would be better than Biden and might be better than Trump (at least in healing the divide a bit) but I would need to know more about his policies (but not American so..).
Voice just becomes a non-issue after a few minutes.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes, agreed.
And he has all the policy stuff on his website — https://www.kennedy24.com/ — under the Policies tab

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Bobby Kennedy is a lawyer, and a good one. Trial lawyers like him can sound good, but that is just talk. He has no track record that shows he can get things done. He’s never had a real job. He’s never built a business. He’s never held office.
Judging a candidate based on a YouTube video makes no sense to me. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Bobby Kennedy’s list of accomplishments says it all. It’s blank.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

He has no track record that shows he can get things done. He’s never had a real job.”

What on earth are you on about?

He is America’s foremost public health and environmental damage litigator — I assure you that is a “real job”.

He is also the author of a large number of excellent and very well researched books. His book on Fauci literally has hundreds of pages of references.

If you personally don’t like him / his policies, well that’s up to you. But it’s a bit ridiculous to try and intimate that he’s not a serious person with real accomplishments. He most certainly is.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

His views on environmental protection and medical issues are far from being controversial, to put it mildly. Yes, he has won some cases, but then, he is a lawyer, that’s his job. You might trust him and be ready to vote for him, but not everyone would share your opinion. Carlos Danger has analysed information that is abundantly available about R. Kennedy and his politics/track record. So have I. And we have drawn conclusions that are different from yours. That’s normal, especially when it comes to political views and political personalities.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago

Sorry, I meant *his views are far from being uncontroversial

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago

Yes, he has won some cases, but then, he is a lawyer, that’s his job”

Madam, he is quite literally one of the nation’s foremost litigators in this space. He’s not some ambulance chasing bottom-feeder, he is former ADA turned legal rockstar who dedicated his life to litigating against public harm (things like suing companies that were illegally dumping chemicals into public waterways, and suing state agencies that were poisoning the food stocks, hiding data etc).

“Carlos Danger has analysed information that is abundantly available about R. Kennedy and his politics/track record. So have I.”

Great, what are his key cases / wins? Which of his books did you like best, and which referenced arguments do you dispute the source facts of?

I’m being somewhat facetious here, obviously. Because I know you’ve not read any of his books, nor would you know the details of any of his legal victories. You probably glanced at Wikipedia, and a few blogs. That’s not a diss, you’re free to make decisions that way if you wish to. It’s a free country.

As an aside, no I would not vote for Kennedy, even if I could (I’m British), since we differ too widely on a few points of policy. But knowing quite a lot about him, and having read the books and checked the references in them, I’ve no doubt he is principled in his stances (even the ones I don’t agree with).

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s not only his voice and, in my opinion, him being rather unlikeable.
He’s very keen on pushing the green agenda and there was an authentic video of him (made some years ago) in which he said that “climate deniers’ should be put in jail.
For me, another highly compromising fact is that at one point he was associated with “Dr” Reiner Fuellmich. Maybe you remember him. That was the man who at the beginning of lockdowns made bombastic promises of Nuremberg 2, etc., and lied about his credentials as a lawyer, only to disappear with the money donated by gulible people who trusted him.
I am not a lawyer, but even for me, after listening to Fuellmich for five minutes, it was crystal clear that all his grandiouse statements had nothing to do with the priniples of law and administering the law. Simply put, that it was all a scam.
The fact that RFK, being a laywer, preferred to ignore all that, for me is a clear sign that he is not to be trusted.

Rob N
Rob N
4 months ago

Don’t know anything about Reiner Fullmilch but a quick web search indicates that those claims of coruption, embezzlement etc may well be unfounded.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

I don’t know what exactly your search has shown and what the sources are, but there have been many facts not in his favour re embezzlement. Not least him fleeing Germany and briefly establishing himeslf in Bulgaria, with an account in a Lithuanian bank, then quickly leaving for Mexico.
It is also important to take into account that many people just do not want to acknowledge that they have been lured into a scam. Examples abound and you can see on SM people still defending Fuellmich, denying all accusations against him and obviously hoping that they would eventually get something for their money.
And even (even!) if the accusations of embezzlement were not true, there are so many things wrong about him and his claims. Plus, why would he make all these grandiose fake promises? The best case scenario: to make himself more visible as a lawyer and attract new clients. The worst case scenario: to raise funds and then disappear with them, which exactly happened.

Dr E C
Dr E C
4 months ago

The ‘green agenda’ aka trying to conserve stuff like air, water, etc that humans somewhat depend on to stay alive.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  Dr E C

No, in his case the “green agenda” means a heavy reliance on renewable energy, which is not practical, nor economically sound.
If you look more deeply into his views, you would be able to see that it is not about clean air or water, but rather about defending certain vested interests.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

He has speech defect. Do you really think that’s more important then his ideas? Do you vote for someone based on their voice?

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Yes, the condition he has is called Spasmodic Dysphonia. It affects the vocal cords, causing his voice to sound rather unusual.

It was a vaccine injury …which rather informs his views on vaccines, one might suggest.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Bobby Kennedy’s spasmodic dysphonia has nothing to do with vaccines.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

It was a vaccine injury.

He has explained that himself, many times, in interviews.

Are you suggesting that you know more about his health than he does? …odd.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

“A vaccine injury” is what R. Kennedy says, nothing more. And this fits in nicely with his narrative about vaccines. Do you think that people always say true things, be it about their own health? Do you believe that lawyers _and_ politicians always tell the truth? Let’s distinguish between what we know for sure and what we (choose to) believe in.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago

Strange take.

Are you asserting that vaccines cannot harm people? Or are you asserting that you know better about RFK’s health than he does?

I would posit that both are manifestly untrue.

Do you think all reports of vaccine harm are lies, or you only think it’s a lie in RFK’s case?

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Please, let’s not attribute to one another things that we have not said. It would also be helpful if we don’t take to the extremes things that have not been said.

Yes, vaccines could be harmful and, in my view, should be used only if they are the lesser evil compared to the disease they are supposed to prevent, plus taking into account the specific case of the person to be vaccinated. My objection to Kennedy is that he demonises vaccines indiscriminately and claims that they cause autism- something that is not proven. It might be proven at one point, but for now it’s not. Hence, making categorical claims is disingenuous.
If you read my other posts, you will know what my other objections are. That’s why, as you rightly assume, I haven’t read his books. His views and track record are well-known and I am not inclined to dedicate my time to his books, given that I have so many fundamental objections to his position on many issues.
Wishing you a nice day,

V. Z.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

I would agree with Katharine Eyre. A high-ranking polititian, let alone a president, should be presentable. The voice/appearance/clothes might not be more important than the ideas, but still for a public figure they count a lot.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago

I no longer care about this stuff. Obama killed it.

I no longer want style, I want substance. I don’t care if Trump’s combover looks ridiculous, and he acts like a poor person who suddenly got rich (with the gold furniture etc). And I don’t care about mean tweets, or occasional crass phrasing.

I also don’t care about Bobby Kennedy’s raspy voice.

I truly only care about what they do. The era of style over substance is done for me. Brass tacks time.

I want action, not rhetoric. I want substance, not style.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Fair enough. My point was more general. It was about the need for politicians to be presentable. I did not say that this was more important than their ideas. But I believe that this is an important factor. For you it might not matter, but, to win enough votes, a politician should offer both good content _and_ good form to present this content.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago

John Fetterman — the guy who slobs around in sweatpants, and had a stroke, then went to rehab and emerged a conservative — is up 20 points in the swing state of PA.

Whilst I understand your viewpoint, I think the public mood has changed since the Obama years. Gavin Newsom is handsome and dresses well, but he is also clearly a sociopath, not to mention one of the most terrible state Governors in US history. Style > substance really failed the people of California.

By contrast, guys like Grassley and Paul are unassuming men, never ostentatiously dressed or gurning for the cameras amid a gaggle of celebs. I would put to you that they’ve done more for the nation that Newsom ever will (or even could).

Of course I would like for the elected reps to put on a nice suit to come to the Capitol. But I would take a patriot in sweatpants, over a sociopath in an Armani suit, any day.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Yes, I know who Fetterman is and he’s been a nice surprise of late.
As for your reply, I find it truly fascinating that you get involved in a heated debate with me, while making exactly the same point that I made on this count 🙂

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
4 months ago

If you know the name, they’re in the game.

Does the author really think that Kennedy, or Trump, or Rogan for that matter, just popped up organically and people started listening to them simply because they liked what they had to say? Or does she actually think of them more like high-spec versions of some of the lovely automated drones she’s made?

The key is to admit absolutely no heroes, or anti-heroes, into one’s worldview. Without such protagonists and antagonists the narratives that are being played out to control people would simply fail to connect. The stories wouldn’t work and we might see things a little more clearly. Think of it as an anti-hacking policy for your mind, but remember that *everyone* is *always* susceptible to psychological manipulation, no matter how awake / sensible / intelligent / educated / informed / compassionate / progressive / conservative / pro-this or anti-that one considers oneself. That includes you (and me, of course).

If you are eligible to vote, vote for Kennedy if you want to, but don’t for one second believe that just because he is labelled “Independent” that he’s not just as much a creature of the swamp as all of the above. If reading this makes you feel angry, defensive or dismissive, please try not to simply react; instead consider simply observing the feeling and reflect on what might be have triggered it.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
4 months ago

Anything that sees Biden exit (and as ignominiously as possible) is good with me. The USA could survive four years of Trump (or Kennedy) but will be absolutely screwed if Biden somehow cheats his way back in again.

mike otter
mike otter
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Sometimes thats what you need, rip up and re-try, shock treatment, tough love, disruptors etc etc Sure Biden is a nadir – like Khan in London – crooks at the petty end of the scale: neither serious nor organised these dirtbags have all the hallmarks of the low rent criminal and are easily dealt with by any serious or organised grouping, be they criminal or political or a mix of the two.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Biden is not running things.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Why did my down vote not show up?

AC Harper
AC Harper
4 months ago

Yes, it could happen. But it won’t because one of the two main parties will sacrifice their turn at the Presidency to ensure it doesn’t. The gravy train (wobbly and half empty as it is) still needs two rails to run on.

Terry M
Terry M
4 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Neither party is ready to make that sacrifice.

Walter Archambo
Walter Archambo
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

.

Walter A
Walter A
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter A

If there is one thing I feel certain about, it’s that Democrats would rather lose to a Republican than lose to an Independent or Green..

I think that’s true if it was a swampy, uniparty RINO type Republican. But I don’t think they consider Trump a republican — they consider him to be an existential threat.

From their behaviour and rhetoric, I think they’d rather burn down America than let Trump serve a second term!

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago

If it were not for all the lawfare waged against Trump and what I see as a need to push back hard against any party weaponizing the legal system to destroy their opponents, and clearly the DOJ and the NY AG are doing so, I would readily vote for Kennedy. I may still.

I would love to see a third party succeed.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

But just not Kennedy for many reasons, one of which is his voice.Who could listen to that for four years?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

Oh, I think the RFK jr. thing has been planned for quite a while. The Democrats knew they blew it with the Corpse and the Cackler but didn’t know how to get rid of them.
I think they sat down with Kennedy and proposed that he masquerade as an independent. His comparative youth, his family name, his seeming levelheadedness, would appeal to voters disgusted with the two current choices. Never mind that Kennedy was a long-time drug addict who has some very crackpot ideas, whose wife killed herself when he abandoned her for a TV actress, and who was a big supporter of Hugo Chavez. The Democrats pretend they oppose him, but seriously, everything is an act these days, just as everything is rigged.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago

A few points:

Kennedy has been sober for decades, and whatever you think of his poltical stances there is absolutely no question that he’s done stellar work in the public interest (as a public health and environmental pollution litigator). Blaming him for the suicide of his wife is a bit low, since none of us know them, and they both had substance abuse issues at that time. I also can’t see how her own political views are in any way relevant. His present partner is the delightful, intelligent, elegant Cheryl Hines.

He is certainly not a Dem plant/foil. They’ve behaved outrageously toward him — filing a series of vexations claims against him smattered across various states (to force him to hire legal teams all over the USA, and spend time and money fighting off spurious filings instead of fundraising and campaigning). They’re also, still, refusing him Secret Service protection, which is frankly shocking, especially given his family history.

The modern Dem party does not tolerate people like RFK. They only want uniparty swamp creatures and controllable puppets. They are trying desperately to sabotage anyone running against them, and that now includes RFK. They’re starting to give him the ‘Trump treatment’ and I expect it to get worse if he continues polling well into summer.

Walter A
Walter A
4 months ago
Reply to  JJ Barnett

Well said – agree with all.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter A

Yes, sad ….but true.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

How very interesting, thank you.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
4 months ago

“Trump and Kennedy are remarkably close on policy.”
I don’t think so. I went to the Kennedy 2024 website and the talking points are the traditional “more government is better” of the pre race-baiting, corruption-accepting, war-loving Democrat party.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago

He is a Kennedy after all and isn’t pushing against the Climate hoax. As a matter of fact he once said, that “Climate Deniers” should be jailed.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago

Good, good, good. Any President who is able to end our world of war, war, war is welcome.

Peter G
Peter G
4 months ago

No president can end our world of “war, war, war” while Russia is trying to take over Ukraine and threatens eastern Europe, China is building its war machine rapidly and plans to seize Taiwan, and Iran stokes chaos throughout the Middle East. Unfortunately, we don’t get to decide to be peaceful when others decide to make war. We’re not protected by oceans in a time of missles.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter G

Thanks for your ill-informed corrective advice. Self-fulfilling prophecies, a morphing of the 19th century Protestant urge to bring Christianity into the ‘dark reaches’ of the world into an urge to bring our version of democracy to the ‘dark reaches’ per Vicky Newland et al, an undeclared unilateral continuation of Cold War I post-1991, all of it unnecessary and utterly avoidable with the greatest of ease. So we do get to choose. And now we equate Putin with Kaiser Wilhelm, despite the lessons of WWI. All of thus is not analogous to WWII. And I’m a classic free trade conservative. That’s not neocon by a billion light years.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

 They see the race as a horror-reality show featuring two geriatrics who seem doddery, unwell, and angry at being told so.
To suggest both men are equally doddery is to say that Harry Kane and some back-bencher who plays 8 minutes every other week are both footballers. While technically true, it is far from accurate.
Meanwhile, RFK has added some interest but he’s not going to win. Our system is not built to tolerate threats to the engrained duopoly that runs DC.

Paul Melzer
Paul Melzer
4 months ago

“… or the as-yet-unnamed No Labels candidate, who actively cultivate the idea of returning to centrist bipartisan solutions.” It does not appear that the No Labels is in any way centrist, despite being unaligned with either party.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago

Sorry, Pippa Malmgren, I don’t buy what you are selling. Bobby Kennedy lies too far on the fringe to win any electors. He’s not a new George Wallace. He’s not even a new Ross Perot. And neither of those men got anywhere close to putting the presidency up for grabs.
That some people consider Bobby Kennedy a viable candidate shows how superficial their analysis is. Stop skimming the surface and dig deeper. Just a little deeper and you will find out why Bobby Kennedy’s family considers him a nutter. Voters should too.

Walter A
Walter A
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

deleted

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter A

Bobby Kennedy believes that vaccines cause autism. There’s no medical evidence to support that view, and he knows it. He believes it anyway. He has supporters like Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Kirsch, a fellow nutter who believes without evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines killed tens of millions of people.
Bobby Kennedy has never held a real job in his life. He’s never run for office. His personal life has been tumultuous. (He struggled with drug addiction. His first wife divorced him. His second wife committed suicide.) His political views are amorphous and hard to pin down. He lies with abandon.
I watched an interview with Joe Rogan in which Bobby Kennedy claimed that WiFi caused cancer and other illnesses, breaking down the brain-blood barrier. He said that there were hundreds of studies that found this. There aren’t hundreds of studies. There isn’t even one.
I have no personal animosity toward Bobby Kennedy. He is bright. His environmental views seem sincere. He can be a persuasive speaker. But he has no business running for president. Politically, he’s on a road to nowhere. Thank God for that.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You need to talk to some of the parents.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter A

Please name the states that RFK Jr. has a plausible chance of winning. You don’t get electors for coming in a close second, not even if you’re second in every state. (With a couple of exceptions, Maine and Nebraska, that allocate substate electors–1 in each. But you still have to come in first even there.)
Wallace won states as a regional candidate who ran strong on a single issue in a single region, but with very limited appeal elsewhere. A better parallel to RFK Jr is Ross Perot, who won 19% of the popular vote in 1992, and exactly -0- electors. And Clinton got 60% of the electors with only 43% of the popular vote.
Similar story in 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose ruined the Republican Taft, and let Democrat Wilson pile up an enormous electoral college victory with less than 42% of the popular vote.
And if No Labels fields a strong candidate, he or she will mostly cannibalize RFK, splitting the protest vote and ensuring RFK wins no states.
A strong third party that draws mostly off one of the major parties can tip an election, as perhaps happened in 1912 or 1992, but none has ever come close to winning or even throwing the election to the House. If anything, the limited number of elections with strong third parties produced decisive results in the electoral college, more decisive than the popular vote.
Anything can happen, but some things are highly improbable.

Walter A
Walter A
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

deleted

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
3 months ago
Reply to  Walter A

So, if I read you correctly, Kennedy “wins” by taking enough net votes from Biden so Trump wins the election/. Fair enough, that could happen.
But that is not what the author was saying. She said RFK would take enough electoral votes that neither Biden not Trump would get to 270 and the election would be thrown to Congress. And I look at history and the election rules and think that very unlikely.
There are only about a half dozen states in play in a “normal” election, currently that looks like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, maybe Virginia, maybe Minnesota, maybe Iowa. By definition those are states where neither the Democrat nor the Republican has a commanding share of the vote and are therefore the for the places to look for where a third party candidate could get, say, 40% and leave the major parties splitting the remainder about equally, 30-30 give or take, and the third party wins the state’s electoral votes.
It is just very, very hard to come up with a plausible scenario where that happens in any of them. It has never happened, but a more plausible scenario would be a 269-269 split in the initial electoral vote, followed by frantic efforts by both sides to preserve their electors and peel off the other side’s. That would entail a level of corruption far beyond even the 1800 and 1824 post-elections.

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
4 months ago

Trump happened because residents of the fly-over states became understandably disenfranchised. Citizens United is what caused it and until we get the unregulated money out of politics it doesn’t matter who holds the top job. I have traveled the planet and the upward migration of wealth used to be the hallmark of developing and/or authoritarian states, now it’s defining the United States.

Sensible Citizen
Sensible Citizen
4 months ago

If Biden wins, and the vote count takes a sudden turn in the wee hours of the morning, with reports of massive fraud and corruption, as happened in 2020, the American far right may begin to make “lists,” which is the beginning of some very bad things happening. I wouldn’t want to be on the list of a right-wing group in Idaho.

George Rigaux
George Rigaux
4 months ago

That was an interesting read thank you. Endless possibilities, the purpose of America!

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
4 months ago

No mention of the CIA’s propensity to assassinate candidates they don’t like.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
4 months ago

I very much doubt that any of those “long shot” candidates that won were not prepped to win by “the system”, with the possible exception of Trump.
And RFK is after all a Kennedy – not really a random outsider.

mike otter
mike otter
4 months ago

FFS- its called Hobson’s choice for a reason! Postbellum there is no longer an alternative to keynesianism w/o universal healthcare. This is what USA is, and if we do succeed in changing it for the better (or worse) it will no longer be USA as we know it. But we can still sing God Bless America (thx Herr Berlin) because its us, the people, that make the nation what it is. Draft dodger Trump and “3 strikes IF YOU’RE BLACK Biden need not apply.

Jae
Jae
3 months ago

Lord help us, I hope this author is right.

I’ll be voting as an Independent in my first U.S. election, and being forced to choose between the two candidates on offer is making me nauseous.

M L Hamilton Anderson
M L Hamilton Anderson
3 months ago

Australia supports RFK – he is eloquent, smart, principled, fearless and uniquely, a critical thinker. He will not be a puppet like the usual suspects – to the military and pharmaceutical complexes who have corrupted the country and have dishonourable agendas and toxic tentacles everywhere. It is time to win back the USA’s respect and reputation.