Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Enters Presidential Race in Michigan

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Enters the Presidential Race

The prospect of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. threatening to upend the presidential race became a reality in one of the country’s most crucial battlegrounds as he qualified for the ballot in Michigan. The decision by the Natural Law Party to grant Mr. Kennedy its ballot line in November ensures his significant presence in a pivotal swing state.

Challenges and Controversies

Mr. Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat and member of the famous Kennedy family, is running as an independent in 2024 and has been polling higher in early surveys than any third-party candidate since Ross Perot. However, his independent candidacy has led to estrangement from his own family and previous colleagues from the environmental movement due to his controversial views on vaccines and involvement in conspiratorial theories.

During Michigan’s primary in February, a protest movement over President Biden’s support for Israel’s actions in Gaza gained traction, indicating vulnerability with key Democratic constituencies. Mr. Kennedy’s emergence as a leading voice of vaccine skepticism and his switch to running as an independent candidate have sparked interest and concern from both major parties.

Both Democrats and Republicans are swiftly working to define Mr. Kennedy’s image as he races to get on the ballot nationwide. The Democrats are highlighting his extreme stances and connections to Trump allies and donors, aiming to portray him as a potential spoiler candidate in the upcoming election.

Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist, mentioned that efforts are being made to inform voters about Mr. Kennedy’s views and affiliations. On the other hand, Timothy Mellon, a reclusive banking heir, has contributed significant funds to both pro-Trump and pro-Kennedy super PACs, further complicating the political landscape surrounding Mr. Kennedy’s campaign.

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