In a transfer that might upset the dynamics of the 2024 election, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. mentioned on Monday that he would proceed his presidential run as an impartial candidate, ending his long-shot pursuit of the Democratic nomination in opposition to an incumbent president.
“I’m right here to declare myself an impartial candidate for president of the US,” Mr. Kennedy advised a crowd of supporters exterior the Nationwide Structure Middle in Philadelphia.
Since saying his candidacy in April, Mr. Kennedy, 69, has been a pointy critic of Democratic management, which he has accused of “hijacking the occasion equipment” to stifle his problem to President Biden. He has additionally mentioned, in interviews and in public appearances, that the occasion has deserted its rules and grow to be corrupted.
Operating as an impartial will entail an costly, uphill battle to get on the poll in all 50 states. Final week, Cornel West, a liberal tutorial and presidential candidate, mentioned he would run as an impartial, abandoning his efforts to safe the Inexperienced Celebration’s nomination.
The scion of liberal political dynasty, Mr. Kennedy has alienated relations and lots of Democrats together with his promotion of conspiracy theories, his rejection of scientific orthodoxies and his embrace of far-right political figures.
Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, has been lionized by a motion that has expanded past anti-vaccine sentiments, together with opposition to the obligatory vaccination of kids, to push again extra broadly in opposition to state public well being measures. In recent times, his open suspicions in regards to the authorities’s dealing with of the coronavirus and his criticism of lockdowns and vaccine insurance policies gave him a brand new platform and earned him recognition amongst many Individuals who wearied of the pandemic.
As a candidate, he has constructed a base of help made up of disaffected voters throughout the political spectrum, however some Democrats have frightened he poses the largest risk to their occasion, fearing that any third-party candidacy may peel off voters from Mr. Biden.
Shortly after Mr. Kennedy entered the race, some polls confirmed him with as much as 20 p.c of Democratic help — which was largely a measure of the need amongst some for an alternative choice to Mr. Biden. Mr. Kennedy’s numbers have sagged in latest months, although his marketing campaign, which dwells as a lot on nostalgia for his political lineage because it does on skepticism in regards to the scientific and political institution — continues to attraction to a specific cross-section of skeptical Democrats, political conservatives and independents.
Mr. Kennedy has raised two major complaints in regards to the Democratic Nationwide Committee, which is supporting Mr. Biden’s re-election effort. First, he mentioned, Mr. Biden and the occasion pushed to alter the primary main state from New Hampshire — the place Mr. Kennedy, who has New England roots, enjoys a base of help — to South Carolina, the state that rescued Mr. Biden’s marketing campaign in 2020.
Second, the occasion has refused to rearrange for debates between Mr. Biden and Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Biden’s marketing campaign and the D.N.C. have additionally basically refused to acknowledge Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy, and have prevented saying his title.
“It must be a celebration’s voters who select a candidate, not occasion insiders who anoint one,” Mr. Kennedy wrote in a letter to the D.N.C. final month.
”The DNC shouldn’t be alleged to favor one candidate over one other,” he added. “It’s alleged to oversee a good, democratic choice course of, after which help the candidate that its voters select.”
Mr. Kennedy had teased Monday’s announcement in a video final week, although his marketing campaign held off on confirming that he was altering events. However within the hours earlier than he bought on stage in Philadelphia, there was a refined change on Mr. Kennedy’s marketing campaign web site. The place it had as soon as learn “I’m a Kennedy Democrat,” with the household title in italics, it was modified to: “I’m a Kennedy American.”