The anti-vaccine activist is second only to Joe Biden among party candidates
Anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is polling at 10% among Democratic voters, a new Morning Consult Survey has found. A week after his campaign launch, the Democratic challenger has leapfrogged rival Marianne Williamson, who comes third with 4% support.
Respondents were asked to choose who out of three candidates — RFK Jr., Marianne Williamson, and Joe Biden — they would vote for if the Democratic presidential primary or caucus was held in their state today. The President is comfortably ahead of his two rivals, securing seven out of 10 primary voters even though he has yet to formally declare.
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The nephew of former president John F. Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s name still carries a great deal of weight (particularly in Democratic circles), but his views on a range of issues — most notably on vaccinations — put him radically out of step with the Democratic base.
A long-time critic of vaccines, Kennedy’s attacks intensified during the Covid pandemic, with the former environmental lawyer even going so far as to draw a comparison between the Holocaust and Covid-19 regulations. Meanwhile, his anti-vaccine charity, Children’s Health Defense, flourished, with revenues more than doubling in 2020 to $6.8m, according to filings with charity regulators.
On other issues, too, RFK Jr’s worldview does not sit comfortably with the Democratic (or Republican) consensus. A long-time critic of US foreign policy, he has in recent weeks furthered his attacks on America’s ‘neocon strategy’ driven by Joe Biden and presidents before him. “Over the past decade, our country has spent trillions bombing roads, ports, bridges, and airports,” he tweeted. “China spent the equivalent building the same across the developing world. The Ukraine war is the final collapse of the Neocon’s short-lived “American Century”.
Elsewhere, he has become an unlikely advocate for Bitcoin, asserting that it gives “the public an escape route from the splatter zone when this bubble invariably bursts”. In the same tweet, he expressed fears about ‘FedNow’, a digital currency mooted by the Federal Reserve, warning that central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, are the “ultimate mechanisms for social surveillance and control”.
This strain of Left-libertarianism might be increasingly falling out of favour in the Democratic Party, but recent polling shows voters are not yet ready to dismiss Kennedy’s eclectic set of beliefs out of hand.