Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Monday he would run for president in 2024 as an independent.
RFK Jr., who was previously running for the Democratic nomination before Monday’s announcement, has grown in popularity through his online presence attacking both typically Democratic and Republican positions in the U.S. RFK took off in notoriety for his outspoken criticism of COVID-19 policies and the COVID vaccine.
“People stop me everywhere, at hotels, at the airport, on the street, and they remind me that this country is ready for a history-making change,” RFK Jr. said during his announcement speech at Independence Mall in Philadelphia. “They are ready to reclaim their freedom, their independence.”
RFK Jr. pointed to a litany of problems facing the U.S., including suicide, mental health issues, infrastructure problems, chronic disease, political corruption and wealth inequality. He argued that people are tired of the traditional system, which has not solved those problems, and are ready for a change.
“I’m here to join you for making a new declaration of independence for our entire nation,” RFK Jr. said. “We declare independence from the corporations that have hijacked our government, and we declare independence from Wall Street, from Big Tech, from Big Pharma, from Big Ag, from the military contractors, and their lobbyists.
“And we declare independence from the mercenary media that is here to fortify all of the corporate orthodoxies from their advertisers and to urge us to hate our neighbors and to fear our friends,” he added.
RFK Jr. went on to call out the “cynical elites” and the two-party political party system.
“And finally, we declare independence from the two political parties and the corrupt interests that dominate them and the entire rigged system, of anger, of rage, of corruption, of lies that has turned government officials into indentured servants for their corporate bosses,” RFK Jr. said.
President Joe Biden is leading the Democratic presidential primary race with no substantive opposition, and former President Donald Trump is far and away the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. How RFK Jr.’s announcement will impact their support remains unclear.
Immediately, RFK Jr. came under fire from Republican leadership.
“Make no mistake – a Democrat in Independent’s clothing is still a Democrat,” Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement. “RFK Jr. cannot hide from his record of endorsing Hillary, supporting the Green New Deal, fighting against the Keystone Pipeline, and praising AOC’s tax hikes – he is your typical elitist liberal and voters won’t be fooled.”
As The Center Square previously reported, Gallup polling released earlier this month showed that 63% of surveyed Americans say both the Democratic and Republican parties do a “poor job” and that a third political party is needed.
Both Democrats and Republicans have increased their support for the idea of a third party.
“Most often, support for a third party among Democrats and Republicans is below the majority level,” Gallup said. “However, this year’s poll shows 58% of Republicans endorsing a third U.S. political party, up from 45% a year ago. The only other time more Republicans than now expressed support for a third party was in a late January/early February 2021 conducted after the Jan. 6 riots, the second impeachment of Donald Trump, and the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.
“There has also been an uptick in support for a third party among Democrats this year, from 40% to 46%, though still less than a majority back the idea,” Gallup added.