White House candidate Robert Kennedy leaves the Democratic Party and declares himself independent | International

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hugs his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, this Monday at a campaign event in Philadelphia.MARK MAKELA (REUTERS)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., heir to the American political dynasty, announced this Monday that he is leaving the Democratic Party to run for the White House as an independent. Kennedy, a loose verse in his formation, highly criticized among other things for rejecting vaccination against Covid, thus tries to give new impetus to his candidacy for the White House, one of the few that challenged the leadership of Joe Biden in the primaries blue (the color with which Democrats are identified) of 2024.

“I am here to declare myself an independent candidate,” Kennedy told a crowd of supporters gathered in Philadelphia. “I must declare my independence. Independence from the Democratic Party,” he said to cheers. “And from all the other political parties.”

American Values ​​2024, a super-PAC (political action committee) that supports the candidate, has so far raised $17 million, according to the Reuters agency. This represents almost double the 10 million that his candidacy had achieved in July. Kennedy's campaign team hopes to register 10 million more after this Monday's announcement.

An environmental lawyer by training, son of the former senator of the same name assassinated in 1968 and a willing spreader of hoaxes, Kennedy has not managed to reduce support for Biden since he launched his candidacy in the spring, but his disbandment, and initiatives such as a platform " without labels” or third way between Republicans and Democrats, can undermine the waning popularity of the Democratic president, whom many, including a growing number of coreligionists, see as incapable of serving a second term due to his advanced age (he is 80 years old).

With just over a year to go until the presidential elections, and with the start of the primaries in the offing, running as an independent allows Kennedy to challenge both Biden and former President Donald Trump, current favorite for the 2024 Republican nomination, relying on his platform anti-establishment and, most importantly, circumventing the rules of the primaries of both parties, as highlighted by the digital political weekly The Hill.

Kennedy, 69, has led a campaign since April outsiderfreely introducing conspiracy theories that Democrats in power and even some traditional Republicans - that is, more moderate than Trump - disavow, especially around vaccines, aspects of American political history and the neutrality of the current presidential primary process. Also racist comments lacking any scientific basis, such as that Jews and Chinese are immune to the coronavirus, which at the time earned him criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.

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His decision theoretically brings him closer to voters dissatisfied with both political parties, excessively partisan politics, and those who want an alternative to the planned bipolar Biden option. versus Trump, or vice versa, in November. “People suspect that the divisions are deliberately orchestrated,” he said today in Philadelphia. “They are tired of being deceived and are ready to take back power.”

Although Kennedy comes from a well-known liberal family, he has distanced himself from that trend, attracting considerably more praise and funding from conservatives than from Democrats. He is not, however, the only free verse within Biden's party: rebel Senator Joe Munchin, who has torpedoed numerous legislative initiatives by his group, is seen in Washington as the most Republican of the Democrats. Munchin's former benchmate, Senator Kirsten Sinema, also known for her criticism and reluctance of Biden, ended up registering as an independent in the Senate in December, which has further complicated control of the lower house for her former party.

Alarm has spread among the Democratic leadership over Kennedy's move, fearing that his campaign could be useful to Trump if he convinces enough undecided voters to support him, although his chances of winning in November 2024 are zero. . But Republicans are also considering the same thing, worried about the possibility that he could also steal votes from Trump and thus, indirectly, boost Biden.

Kennedy's move comes after another candidate, progressive professor Cornel West, said last week that he will also run as an independent. West was a candidate for the Green Party, ideologically to the left of Kennedy, and his participation in the race raised similar concerns about the erosion of support for Biden against Trump, since almost all polls predict a very close race in 2024.

According to polls, voters show more interest in Kennedy than in other independent or third-party candidates in the next call to the polls. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll gave Kennedy 14% support among potential voters, a very considerable percentage compared to Trump's 40%, immersed in a formidable judicial offensive, and Biden's 38%.

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