Robert Kennedy Jr. said Monday that he will run for president next year as an independent, ending his bid for the Democratic nomination.
“I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate,” Kennedy told supporters in Philadelphia today.
He said that in switching to an independent bid, he would “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 fear our friends.”
He bashed the two political parties and “the corrupt interests that dominate them and the entire corrupt system.” He was introduced by his wife, actress Cheryl Hines.
Kennedy originally sought the Democratic nomination against President Joe Biden, but instead had higher approval among Republicans. Kennedy made numerous appearances on rightward media outlets and with hosts like Steve Bannon and Joe Rogan. While there has been considerable attention to Kennedy’s ability to be a spoiler against Biden, his stances also may make him a palatable alternative to Donald Trump. Kennedy has been a leading voice in the anti-vaccine movement, including Covid. Semafor reported last week that Trump’s team is getting ready to attack Kennedy, worried about polling showing that he would draw more votes away from the former president than he would from Biden.
Kennedy’s biggest challenge will be securing ballot access in all 50 states, a task that has eluded past presidential hopefuls given the structure in place for the two major parties. In the running for the Democratic nomination, Kennedy chided the party leadership for not scheduling a Democratic primary debate and for “rigging” the primaries to favor Biden.
Kennedy has acknowledged that some of his siblings oppose his presidential run. In a statement, his siblings Rory, Kerry, Joseph and Kathleen said that his decision to run as a third-party candidate “is dangerous for our country. Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment.”