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RFK Jr’s ‘important announcement’ was a PowerPoint asking Biden and Trump to drop out

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the presumptive third-party candidate in the 2024 presidential election, convened the national media Wednesday in an office building in downtown Brooklyn, next to Norm’s Pizza, to make an “important announcement.”

Granted, the threshold for big announcements at this point in the campaign calendar, the dead zone between the primaries and the conventions, is extremely low, but even by those standards he fell dramatically short.

What he delivered instead was a meandering PowerPoint presentation demonstrating that he was not a spoiler candidate (that’s the term used when a political candidate who is clearly going to lose takes enough votes away from another candidate to ensure their defeat) . Considering that “spoiler candidate” has become something of an unofficial slogan for Kennedy’s campaign, he faced an uphill battle.

After spending an awkward minute searching for his opening slide, Mr. Kennedy presented a dizzying array of maps, polls and tweets to make his argument.

2024 candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr appears on NewsNation for a town hall (NewsNation)

He released a “gigantic” Zogby poll on behalf of his campaign, with a sample size of 26,408 people – in other words, statistical overkill – showing that President Joe Biden would lose to former President Donald Trump in a head-to-head match. race if the election were to take place today.

The same poll showed Kennedy narrowly beating Trump, he said, in a head-to-head race. He invited the press to check his numbers on (www.kennedy24.com/spoiler).

The problem here, of course, is that Mr. Kennedy is not the Democratic Party’s nominee, and unless he convinces Democrats not to field a candidate for the first time in the party’s history, head-to-head polls don’t mean much.

One of his slides was simply the dictionary definition of the word “spoiler,” in all its glory.

  1. A political candidate who cannot win
  2. but which prevents another candidate from winning by taking away votes

Britannica Dictionary 20204

Barack Obama inspired the youth vote in 2008 with his soaring rhetoric. RJK Jr., who has presented himself as a candidate for disaffected young Americans, does so with his dictionary.

Joe Biden with members of the Kennedy family – but not RFK Jnr – at the White House (@KerryKennedyRFK/Twitter)

Channeling Richard Nixon’s infamous “I’m not a crook” speech, and similarly over-protesting, he emphasized again and again that only he could beat Donald Trump.

“The people who think I’m ruining President Biden on this issue need to look at the data,” he said.

Mr. Kennedy’s big announcement came toward the end of his slideshow. Blink your eyes and you could have missed it.

“No spoiler promise,” the slide read.

In an act of blue-sky thinking that the vaccine-skeptical Kennedy campaign has become known for, the pitch was for the Biden campaign to co-fund and poll 50 in mid-October, just a few weeks before the election states to hold. to discover who would be the strongest direct candidate against Trump.

The loser would drop out according to the promise.

“Ultimately, I think what we all want in this election is for Americans not to feel like they’re voting out of fear. That they feel like they can vote out of hope. That will only happen if there is a two-way race,” Kennedy said.

It was a brutal pitch: asking the two major party candidates to drop out of a race based on a clipart representation of an imaginary map.

Robert Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s father, was shot dead in Los Angeles while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination (GETTY IMAGES)

Yet there is another story here. The Kennedy campaign has been dogged by accusations of acting as a spoiler since its launch. What’s interesting about these claims, however, is that the people making them have changed.

As the heir to one of the most respected Democratic political dynasties in the country’s history, political observers thought even a failed campaign by Bobby Kennedy’s son would damage Mr. Biden.

The Trump campaign couldn’t believe its luck, and neither did the former president at first praised him as a ‘very smart person’.

But as the months passed, it became clear that the kind of crowds Kennedy attracted and the kind of media hits he made might indicate that he would instead be a hindrance to Trump. The latest polls indeed show that this is the case, leading Trump to go on the attack.

Over the weekend, Trump earned at least four Truth social reports attacking Mr. Kennedy and falsely claiming he is a “democratic plant” installed to help the president Joe Biden win, that he is more liberal than any other candidate and that his views on vaccines are “fake.”

Mr Kennedy responded with his own post on social media.

“When scared men use social media, they risk falling into vitriol, which makes them sound unhinged,” he says wrote on X. “President Trump’s tirade against me is a barely coherent barrage of wild and inaccurate claims that are best resolved in the American tradition of presidential debate.”

Perhaps it was instilled in both sides that Mr. Kennedy felt the need to hold his press conference and refute the allegations.

The thing about candidate viability is that it is elusive. No specific personality traits are needed to win an election – the shock of Trump’s victory proved that all too well. But one thing’s for sure: if you have to keep shouting that you’re viable, you probably aren’t.