Robert F. Kennedy Jr. does not stand a chance of succeeding in his campaign for the presidency — he’s weird, he’s loony, he’s a crackpot. If he were a greedy sex-pest and liar, maybe he’d do better, but Trump has a lock on that niche. Now he’s running as an independent, which means Joe Biden is probably a bit relieved. Not that he had cause to worry, but at least the wacky anti-vaxxer isn’t tainting the Democratic ticket, and now maybe it’s Trump’s turn to be concerned.
Could Kennedy pull votes away from Trump? Trump’s campaign team certainly seems to think so, at least according to Shelby Talcott at Semafor. She reports that “internal campaign polling suggests his expected third party bid could draw more votes from Trump than President Joe Biden in a general election.” In their typical self-aggrandizing style, a Trump campaign member told Semafor they plan on “dropping napalm after napalm on his head reminding the public of his very liberal views.”
They may find that this is a more difficult task than their belligerent rhetoric suggests. Because the slice of voters Trump and Kennedy could be competing over aren’t defined by political beliefs that map neatly onto concepts like “liberal” or “conservative.” Instead, they’re fighting over the crank vote: People who are addicted to gobbling down kooky, bizarre and above all, false information. The QAnon crowd, in other words.
Splitting the crank vote and diminishing their ability to poison the election sounds like good news to me.
It’s also good to see the words of WB Yeats apply to the far right. Fracture away!