Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has recently spoken out against the decision to remove Donald Trump from the ballot.
What Happened: Kennedy defended Trump’s right to stay on the ballot, stating that Trump hasn’t been charged or convicted with insurrection, reported Politico. He expressed concerns that removing Trump from the ballot would cause his supporters to feel “angry and frustrated and justifiably so” with the democratic process.
Kennedy, who aims to be on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., is also facing his own difficulties in gaining ballot access. The process is usually costly and legally complex for third-party candidates. Kennedy’s campaign is currently collecting signatures in Arizona, Missouri, Maryland, Nevada, and has successfully extended the deadline for signature gathering in Utah.
Tony Lyons, the President of the super PAC supporting Kennedy, drew parallels between the legal challenges faced by Trump and Kennedy for ballot access. Lyons condemned the “anti-democratic set of forces” gaining momentum in the country. Kennedy’s campaign, backed by American Values 2024, has pledged up to $15 million to assist him in gaining access in seven states, including the key swing state of Georgia.
According to RealClearPolitics, Kennedy currently has a polling average of about 13 percent and is highly optimistic about his chances in the forthcoming elections.
Why It Matters: Kennedy’s defense of Trump’s ballot rights adds a new layer to their complex relationship. Previously, Trump has praised Kennedy as a “very smart guy”, while Kennedy has expressed his pride at being liked by Trump.
However, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., criticized Kennedy’s campaign, calling it a “Democrat plant” to sabotage Trump’s campaign.
Despite these criticisms, data suggests that Kennedy’s third-party run could potentially harm Trump more in the 2024 election. Moreover, Kennedy’s choice of anti-vaccine activist Del Bigtree as his communications director, who was allegedly a speaker at the controversial Jan. 6 MAGA Freedom rally, has attracted criticism from Trump’s niece Mary Trump.
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