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Is RFK ,Jr the coup de grace for the Biden campaign?

Is RFK ,Jr the coup de grace for the Biden campaign?

Most polls put President Biden behind President Trump on a number of key policy issues – such as immigration, crime and even handling the economy.  I have opined in the past that not enough consideration is given to two non-policy issues that may have the greatest impact on voters – Biden’s mental acuity and Vice President Harris.

I think both of those issues could be fatal to a Biden second term – individually and even more so in combination.  Biden cannot do anything about the age issue apart from avoiding falls and senior moments – or something worse. 

He could dump Harris, which I have said in a previous commentary would help him shake up his floundering campaign.  In fact, Biden’s numbers are so bad – and hers are even worse — that I think he will have to select a new running mate. Stay tuned on that one.

BUT … there is yet another potential barrier to Biden’s reelection, in my judgment.  It is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who has sufficient name recognition and stature to go by his initials, RFK, Jr.

At the time RFK, Jr. entered the race he was flipped off as a gadfly candidate who was politically excommunicated from the leftwing Kennedy political clan.  Despite a barrage of negative reporting from the leftwing media, Kennedy became a credible dark horse candidate with approximately 20 percent voter support.

RFK, Jr. had more support on the Democrat side than did Florida Governor Ron DeSantis against Trump at the time.  Still, the media considered DeSantis credible and RFK, Jr. not so.  As the campaign season progressed, it became increasingly obvious that neither DeSantis nor RFK, Jr. were going to succeed in their quest for their party’s presidential nominations.  DeSantis dropped out and RFK, Jr. transitioned to an independent candidacy.

Despite the negative coverage of RFK, Jr. – fluctuating between demonizing and ignoring him – the son of the late New York Senator and Attorney General has maintained a base somewhere between 15 and 20 percent.  That is not enough to win many electors in the November General Election, but enough to affect the outcome of the race between Biden and Trump.

Polls show that RFK. Jr. draws support from disaffected voters on both sides.  BUT … he takes away more from Biden than Trump.

It is important to note that RFK, Jr. is not a Joe Manchin, who chose not to run as a third option because he would have been a spoiler – taking votes from Biden and handing the election to Trump.  Manchin does not want Trump to win the election. 

RFK, Jr. seems to be less concerned about that.  His lack of concern may be because he is also running against a number of Biden policies.

RFK, Jr. is campaigning vigorously.  He is having more success in getting on state ballots than many thought possible.  He has floated the names of a number of potential vice-presidential running mates.

Whether his level of success is based on his personal appeal — or the general displeasure with the two candidates selected by the major parties – it makes no difference.  He is doing as well as any past outsider candidate.

In virtually every poll, when RFK, Jr. is factored into the contest, Biden’s numbers go down.  In a race that is expected to be very close, the loss of even a few single digit percentage points can prove to be decisive.  In 2000, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader may have been the reason Al Gore did not carry Florida – and consequently lost the presidency.  That is assuming Nader’s votes would have gone to Gore.

As I often note.  Elections are decided on what voters decide to decide upon. In this season, it may be the non-policy issues that drive voter decisions.  Mental acuity, now and as perceived in the future … Vice President Harris potentially becoming President (shudder) … and RFK. Jr. tapping into the overwhelming unpopularity of Biden and Trump as the major party standard bearers … may trump policy issues as the deciding factor for voters.

And this does not take into consideration a No Labels Party bid – or the presence of Cornell West, Jill Stein and the ever-present Libertarian Party candidate (whoever that is).  Can any of these folks actually win the presidency?  Not likely. 

Although unlikely, it is more possible that RFK, Jr. could win a few delegates in states that do not have the winner-take-all method.  It is possible that an RFK. Jr. few delegates would make it impossible for either Biden or Trump to get the 270 electoral votes minimum requirement.

If neither reaches the minimum, the election goes to the House of Representatives, with each state having one vote.  If the delegations vote along party lines, Trump wins easily.  That is because Democrat voters are piled up in a few very large states, while Republicans in the House dominate in the greatest number of states.

But it can be said that if an outrigger third candidacy cannot succeed this year – based on the unprecedented unpopularity of Biden and Trump – it never will.  And “never will” is probably the correct answer.  But more than ever, those “other” candidates may have greater influence on the outcome of the election than ever.

If you want to get the most accurate information from polling, focus on polls of “registered” voters in battleground states that include the third-party candidates in the survey.  And look at that in terms of overall electoral vote count.  Currently, Trump is winning with that analysis – outside most margins of error.  That is what is having Team Biden sweating – and doing everything possible to get RFK, Jr. off the ballots and out of the news.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

10 Comments

  1. Darren

    RFK Jr should for all purposes have been the front runner for the Democrat party.
    The Elite Democrats look at RFK like the Elite Republicans looked at Trump.
    If RFK were to win the Bought & Paid for media would have craped all over RFK like they did Trump.
    I hope he is a spoiler, serves them right!

    • Robin W.Boyd

      I agree that RFK Jr. would have been a good choice for the Democrat Party. Unfortunately, the Democrat Party is now completely controlled by Progressives/Communists, which is why RFK Jr. left the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party is not the same party as it was when JFK was president. In fact, today’s Democrat Party is more of a Socialist/Communist Party.
      If RFK Jr takes votes away from the Democrats, the Progressive/Communists in control of the Democrat Party get what they deserve. Let’s hope RFK Jr. does well with more rational Democrats.

  2. FRANK STETSON

    What a swag of ideas…… (silly, wild assed guesses). We don’t really know why people are attracted to RFK, but it’s a mixed bag, at best. What is interesting to me is why is he running and who is supporting? Horist knows the concept well, but does not investigate —- SHOW ME THE MONEY, the root of all evil and political campaigns. We find a hodge podge of reasons. One guy, Gavin de Becker made $10 million in donations to the PAC American Values; $9.65 million of which was returned. It’s not a donation, it’s a bridge loan, perhaps the first in politics and certainly destined to change how we track donors in the future. Now, that’s political news, a real scoop. Bridge loan financing. Where’s Waldo? Where’s Horist? FYI: American Values ONLY donates to the right. Imagine how this funding model gets used by Soros…… Reap what you sow.

    RFK also paid $1.48 million to Gavin de Becker & Associates for security services and travel expenses, a yuge amount of money for a total operating budget of $16.6 million in 2023 – 10% for security. It’s also an escalation of the Trump business model where Trump grifts your money and then spends it on his own services at inflated prices with massive profits from your pocket to Trump’s. Lies pay apparently. RFK jr has figured how to solicit donation “loans” where he spends donation money for services from said donor and then pays the loan off later with other real donations. Perfectly legal for now, lawsuits are flying, but fucks up campaign financing trackers — it’s a donation, it’s a loan, it’s been paid off, it’s gone. How do you track and explain that? RFK benfits from showing how BIG his donation war chest is, good advertising. The loan being paid off does not change that so actual donations are inflated. And the donor not only supports, but personally profits off the loan as well as PR for a donation. It’s a skivvy scheme, but totally legal, for now.

    Maybe if we just rejected Citizens United and brought donations back to the common man, the voter, and take the unlimited donations away from the corporations and superPACs, we could get an election that was more fair, honest, above board, and of the people, not skewed by the rich, corporations, and 529’s with vast sums of free money.

    Show me the money: at the end of 2023, Politico found RFK jr got 5.1M from small donors, party was not identified. $1.4M from previous large-donor Democratic donors. And 6.6M from large-scale Republican donors. If you believe the Republican donors are all looking for a Trump alternative, you are smoking something you should share. Over 500 big time 2020 Trump donors, three times the Dems, pitched in, over 160 of them are giving to Trump too. Only a handful gave to RFK jr and Biden simultaneously.

    Spoiler’s spoiler-alert: while we can’t know the why of this, you can surmise the Republicans are not all leaving Trump, many are giving Trump money. The spoiler is getting opposition help to spoil.

    Spoiler’s spoiler spoiler-alert: but also —– 60% of RFK jr’s donors did not donate to either candidate previously and that’s the number to key in on as to RFK’s spoiler chances. He getting people from the sidelines to participate. Perhaps they voted in 2020, perhaps they did not.

    Bottom line: in the weird stew that is the RFK jr campaign there are strange demographics at work such as:
    – New voters who like the weird message and lies, can’t hurt either candidate
    – Republican’s supporting Jr. against Biden, a lot, and that can hurt
    – Democrats, a few, supporting Jr. against Biden, is chump change
    – Strange financing with bridge loans benefitting both PAC and politician — there ought to be a law….. can hurt Biden, but is legally just weird too. There ought to be a law.

    I don’t know what this means, but I do know this is not your normal campaign, third-wheel or not, there’s lots of angles here, and RFK jr has got the money to continue and every day he does, he adds political capital to his next endeavor to deceive. And there’s bucks in that, ask Carlson, Jones, and other purveyors of political pelf.

    Show me the money. He’s raised close to 65M, spent 36, has 29 on hand. PACS and large donors gave 68%, normal folk gave 32%. American Values gave 58%, Team Kennedy gave 32% if you parse the pacs.

    Gavin de Becker and Timothy Mellon are the top money guys supporting RFK jr.

    Gavin de Becker is security specialist to the stars, three-time Presidential appointee and donates a lot for therapy animals and Fiji. Seems like one good guy and I have to imagine a true RFK jr believer-advocate. Whatever the reason, there’s something in the message for him, IMO, and not a Trump or Biden hatred. Or a pool of puppies. IMO.

    Timothy Mellon is a scion of the Mellon fortune and a big time Republican donor. He gave $1.5M AZ immigration bill, the stiffest in the land. He gave TX over $50M for a wall. In the past two election cycles, he’s dropped 107M on Republicans. He is Horist’s kind of guy, calls social programs slavery (as he pulls that silver spoon out of his ass, not like Horist). He paid 1m to sue an organization fundraising to find Amelia Earhart’s plane stating the plane was found in 2010. I like that, quirky! But this guy is funding RFK in support of the GOP – period.

    Bottom line: there’s all sorts of reasons to like RFK jr. But less are for the message and more seem to be for the spoiling. Boths sides see spoiler alerts, but Republicans are sinking more into it. But even the biggest donor seems to be a believer and I doubt is doing it for the bridge-loan kickback, that’s probably just some icing on the cake as I doubt he needs to garner clients for his security business where he already has Hollywood and Hollywood-East, otherwise known as DC. But the money paints a slightly different story than Horist’s political posturing, spin and pandering. Hey, I did identify another “democrats as slave masters, blacks too stupid to move,” major believer. At least one guy will buy his oft announced, never delivered book of lies…… Damn, almost made it without a slam. Oh well, it was a slam dunk so what the hell.
    Epilogue: to understand why RFK still runs when there is no chance in hell he matters except as a spoiler, and I doubt that’s why he does it UNLESS spoiler status brings back bucks, to better understand we paraphrase the prophet David Bowie speaking for RFK:

    Kamala went to fight in Belfast
    Rudi stayed at home to starve
    I could make it all worthwhile as a politics star
    Joe tried to change the nation
    Donny wants to turn the world, well, he can tell you that he tried
    I could make a transformation as a political rock & roll star

    [Chorus]
    So inviting, so enticing to play the part
    I could play the wild mutation as a poltics star
    Get it on, yeah
    Oooo, yeah

    [Bridge]
    I could do with the money (You know that I could)
    I’m so wiped out with things as they are
    (You know that I could)
    I’d send my photograph to my honey
    And I’d come on like a regular campaigning star

    I could make a transformation as a politics star
    I could fall asleep at night as a politics star
    Just watch me now.

    Yeah, wathc him now. The guy is making more money, more fame, for his lame messages that ever before in his life. Peole are actually listening to him. He has become important. Would you stop that train? He may not be in it for the money, but the money is keeping him in it, no matter why they give him what they do. And RFK spins in his grave……..

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … There is a good reason why you are not a political strategist. You opine based on simplistic so-called common knowledge that money is a deciding factor. Your entire piece overemphasizes the importance of money in political campaigns — and even winning ones. Let me try to explain. Stats show that campaigns with more money tend to win — but not always. But there are other factors that you miss. Incumbents overwhelmingly win — and they usually have the most money because and they are less likely to have serious competition. If you look at open seats, money seems to play a far less significant role in determining the winner. Other factors are prior name recognition and popularity — sports figures, movie stares and political legacy people (like Kennedy). It also depends on how well a candidate can attracted earned media. It is hard to imagine that Kennedy would have enough money to win … but he has a number of strong voter appeals. He seems to be getting his messages to voters despite the leftwing media trying to bury him for Biden. He fluctuates between 13 and 20 percent of the vote in various states. That means he is doing very will on a lot less money. With regard to his role as a spoiler … well duh! You can shut off your “spoiler alert.” That was the whole point of the commentary. LOL

      • FRANK STETSON

        Horist, sound like your sales pitch……one you given before to provide your services.

        You are right, I am not a political strategist sucking off campaign’s tits like some. I am just a simple businessman, a corporate hired gun working for and with the Fortune 100 and more traveling the world’s boardrooms and speaking to thousands, globally, about their business, the world, and life. Not much about politics.

        And you are correct, other things like message, incumbancy, etc. matter and sometimes they overcome the money. IF RFK’s case, he’s getting a lot of MONEY from simultaneous and previous Trump donors. If that isn’t interestiing to you, got me hanging why not. Since Trump is one that sort of breaks the mold here, getting much airplay just by being Trump, the shocker, and getting all the news unfit to print, maybe you think money is unimportant, but you would be wrong, even for Trump.

        But I am pretty sure most campaigns would rather have money than not; they seem to spend a whole lot of time and effort to get it. Entire markets are designed to help get it, to track it, and to spend it. The 2020 election cycle cost 14.4B and doubled the 2016 record breaking cost. Somebody thinks it matters.

        So, yes other factors are in play but one should always follow the money and RFK’s money trail not only sheds light on his backers, but also his ingenious monetary smoke and mirrors he’s playing with a bridge loan donation. A big one that drives his spending, that drives his messaging.

        Then again, if I was a political hack backing Trump for the third time, I too would say money is unimportant. And give Trump has none, his small donor dollars are waning, a lot of large Halley donors thinking about next move, or sitting it out, Trump’s personal fortunes under legal fine stress, —– yeah, if I was that guy, that fervant a spin doctor, I might talk about the unimportance of money.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson … Good God!!! You submit posts at 10 in the evening and 7:30 in the morning And you say you are not obsessed.

          Once again you write crap. Not sure why you saw my response as a sales pitch. Not even close. And as usual, you rely on straw man invited arguments to rebut. I never said money was not important. The point was that it is not the only thing as you and others have suggested. You point to money to make your case for Biden winning. Win or lose. money will not be the deciding factor — as it almost never is. I was only trying to give you a little enlightenment. But, there is only so much light you can get from a dim bulb.

          • FRANK STETSON

            Hoirst, you really are a pugnacious prick. They were right.

            I don’t know why you have your knickers all knotted up, why you track my every move, counting, time stamping, compiling and reporting while calling me obsessed. But you got me: I am obsessed with the issues of the day, like you, and I like to write and research at all times of the day. Note though that you are seeing posting times which have nothing to do with when they are written.

            Now, please don’t get your pants in a bigger bunch, but you know, if you take this apart, if you look…. the bidding was:

            – You wrote a bunch of stuff and left off the money
            – I added the money, and damn, if the sources were not interesting as part of the story especially RFK’s novel financing scheme to use a donation as a bridge loan. You didn’t even bat an eyebrow at that in lieu of obsessing with snark.
            – You came back telling me all the other things, calling me inferior, and saying nothing about the facts on the money I uncovered expect it was not relevant.
            – I came back and agreed there were other things as you noted, but the the money IS relevant, and intrestingly unique in RFK’s campaign.
            – and you conclude I post at odd hours, am obsessed, falsely accused you of ridiculous things I did not, and proof-positive — you are a pugnacious prick.

            You could have opted to just have a discussion.. I don’t think my intital submission stuck any fingers in your eye except to say you might have overlooked the money. You have got to chillax before you bust a gut.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson …Who is the “they’ who think I am a “pugnacious prick?” I do have a few ankle-biter critics, but I do not recall any of them use those words. Nice opening for a guy who hypocritically calls for civil discourse. LOL And as far as my knickers are concerned, they are fine. You constantly write as if you believe you get under my skin. Not so. It is just your own invention to make yourself feel important. Sorry, you are not. I know you will not believe it, but for the record, you do not have any impact on me emotionally or intellectually. I merely respond on occasion to correct your more outrageous bullpoop — mostly by creating your mental playmate Larry Horist as our foil. Is it your way to convince (fool) yourself that you have impact?. I do sometimes chuckle in disbelief at some of the nuttier off-the-wall stuff you write. Does that count as impact in your book? LOL As far as the time stamps, I merely observe things when I see your MANY daily emails that alert me to the arrival of your next long nasty anti-Horist rant. When you open with such a childish insult as this posting, i do assume it is your knickers that need adjustment.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      Frank, I have warned you before about poetry. It is not allowed here. The Management

  3. FRANK STETSON

    Joe,
    Sorry, and yes you have, but someone, I thought you, recently gave it the OK. It was before Horist limericked me hopefully in jest, but mostly in snark. I would point it out, but alas, your search engine does not. I will stop pushing the PBP free speech barriers and accept the ban. I only note that I would accept many more rules for decorum if you have the balls to state and enforce. Decorum does not limit free speech, it enhances it.