The walls are closing in on Joe Biden. As he persists in his campaign for a second term in the White House, the 46th president is facing challenges from every direction — right, left, and center. First, left-wing academic Cornel West entered the race for the Green Party, sure to siphon progressive votes from the incumbent. Then came the growing centrist threat posed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and the well-funded, non-ideological No Labels party. And now, after being shunned and ostracized by a party once formed in the image of his slain father and uncle, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is set to make a “major announcement” today, with speculation rampant that he will abandon his primary challenge against Biden and run instead as a third-party candidate. While RFK Jr. has not yet disclosed under what banner he will campaign, he has recently been in discussions with the Libertarian Party, which has been unsuccessful in drawing presidential votes but quite successful in gaining ballot access.
RFK Jr. has been dismissed by the left as a conspiracy theorist unworthy of carrying forth his famous family name, especially since he has broken bread with the likes of Donald Trump loyalist Steve Bannon. And he peaked at just 20% in head-to-head polling against Biden. But while his support has not expanded since he entered the race, it has appeared to harden as his campaign of brutal honesty centered around inconvenient (for the Democrats) truths. While some say he is unmasking crucial facts about vaccines, Democratic statists charge him with instilling unwarranted paranoia in the public.
RFK Jr. and a Sea Change in American Politics
In a video teasing his announcement in Philadelphia today, RFK Jr. spoke in soaring language of “a sea change in American politics” while asking: “How are we going to win against the established Washington interests? … It’s not through playing the game by the corrupt rules that the corrupt powers and the vested interests have rigged to keep us all in their thrall. Instead, we’re going to have to rewrite the assumptions and change the habits of American politics.”
This is what the Democrats wrought by nominating a man already well past his prime in 2020. Sure, Biden claimed to be merely a transitional figure, a placeholder setting the stage for younger voices on the left. But he is the quintessential career politician, angling for the White House for most of his adult life, and Democrats desperate to topple Trump should have known the old man would not just pack it in after one term and go quietly into the night. And with each passing day, the resulting sense of resignation and panic on the left becomes more palpable. They know Biden will not be talked out of running again.
Perhaps the question is, why should he walk away? He was handed the 2020 nomination specifically because he was the Democrat most likely to stop Trump – and he did his job, so why should he hand the big prize over to someone else? Nevertheless, as Biden fiddles, clinging to the notion that he remains the only Democrat who can beat Trump, his party burns. Every third-party candidate who enters the race is likely to siphon more votes from Biden than from Trump. And considering Biden won in 2020 on the strength of a mere 50,000 votes in three states, the defection of RFK Jr., even if he attracts just 2% or 3% of the vote in November, presents a clear and present danger to the Delawarian’s re-election. A further complicating factor, of course, is a vice president who is somehow even more unpopular than the president, and yet untouchable in the leftist orbit because she is both black and a woman.
The left has likely tried everything to persuade this 46th president to consider pulling out to allow younger candidates such as Governors Gavin Newsom of California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan to raise the Democrats’ flag. It started in 2022 with behind-the-scenes whispers about Biden’s rising decrepitude and sinking popularity. Then came statements from anonymous, anxiety-ridden inside sources. And now, even as they try to dismiss the eye-popping ABC poll in late September showing Trump with a ten-point lead over Biden as an outlier, discussions on the left on what to do about the president’s dismal standing are becoming increasingly unguarded and urgent. And if RFK Jr. does the expected, the left’s blood pressure will continue to rise.
Yet despite the triple threat of West, No Labels, and now RFK Jr. in a third party, there is not a single sign that Biden intends to pull out of the race. What the Democratic Party is left with begs a comparison to a particularly famous skit on the iconic show Saturday Night Live – which now seems to fit Biden like a glove. He has become the thing that wouldn’t leave.