WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now running as an independent instead of a Democrat. The move adds some drama to the already complicated 2024 race, which is expected to be a rematch between President Biden and Former President Trump.
In a speech in Philadelphia on Monday, RFK Jr. announced he’s leaving the Democratic party, but not the 2024 race for president.
“I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate,” Kennedy said.
Taking aim at President Biden’s age and Former President Trump’s legal challenges, RFK Jr. pitched himself as an alternative for Americans fed up with the two-party system.
“We need to pry loose from the hammerlock of the corrupt powers in Washington D.C. and make this nation ours again,” Kennedy said.
Historically, independent presidential candidates haven’t gained enough traction to win. Despite that, Kennedy could still have an impact on the race.
Political science expert Danny Hayes said some of that depends on logistics.
“Is he going to be able to get on the ballot in every state? And importantly, is he going to be on the ballot in swing states, because those are the states where his presence in theory might matter,” Hayes.
Hayes said he doesn’t think RFK Jr. has a chance at winning. He thinks the most important question about his candidacy is which side he hurts the most.
“I wouldn’t see RFK as sort of a middle of the road moderate spoiler that could pull from both sides, because he’s much more polarizing than that,” Hayes said.
As an anti-vaccine activist, Kennedy has won support from right wing figures. It’s possible he could pull Republican votes.
“RFK is much more popular among Republicans. Now is that because they like him or is that because he was running against Joe Biden,” Hayes said.
But RFK Jr. said he intends to be a spoiler for both candidates.
“This time the independent is going to win,” Kennedy said.