Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Monday that he will run for president in 2024 as an independent, Breitbart reported. He has broken with his family's dynastic affiliation with the Democratic Party and will not face President Joe Biden in a primary.
Kennedy didn't believe he will get a fair shake against Biden for the nomination and chose to run as a third-party candidate. "I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States," he said from Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
"We declare independence from the cynical elites who betray our hope and who amplify our divisions. And finally, we declare independence from the two political parties," Kennedy proclaimed.
The candidate's children, including his campaign co-manager and daughter-in-law, Amaryllis Fox, support Kennedy's move. Other members of the family do not, however.
His siblings were outwardly upset by this change of affiliation and said so in a joint statement. "Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment," Joseph P. Kennedy II, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Kerry Kennedy, and Rory Kennedy, said.
It seems Kennedy has sidestepped a broader call to open up the primary process for the Democratic Party. In a letter last month, former Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich petitioned the Democrat National Committee (DNC) to allow for a contested primary.
Biden is doing a terrible job, but Democrats are yoked to him because of their party's loyalty to the incumbent. By running as an independent, Kennedy has broken free of that entanglement.
It's unclear whether Kennedy will siphon votes from Biden or from former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Independent or third-party candidates have not been successful even as many voters would like more than the two-party system, CNN reported.
The 1992 election is illustrative of the problem caused by injecting an independent candidate into the mix. Ross Perot, a successful Texas businessman, managed to garner 8% of the vote, but all that accomplished was getting Democrat Bill Clinton elected as president.
In his announcement, Kennedy acknowledged the poor track record for independents but promised his candidacy would be "different" in his case. "Today, we turn a new page in American politics," he said.
"There have been independent candidates in this country before, but this time it’s going to be different. Because this time, the independent is gonna win," Kennedy added.
"They say my impact is only going to draw votes from the other candidates," he continued. "The Democrats are frightened that I’m gonna spoil the election for President Biden, and the Republicans are frightened that I’m gonna spoil it for President Trump," he added.
"The truth is, they’re both right. My intention is to spoil it for both of them."
Things will never change until someone is willing to take the chance. However, despite Kennedy's reassurances, it's likely he will only succeed in taking enough votes away from Trump to give Biden an advantage -- but maybe it's still worth a try.