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RFK Jr. and the Vice President Reality TV Show

An odd assortment of choices has Dems on edge.

Today (March 26) Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is poised to announce his choice for vice president. This early declaration is occurring not because he wants to but because he must. Minor party presidential ballot access is an obstacle course of rules and regulations that differ from state to state.  RFK Jr.’s VP pick will help his campaign navigate the complex ballot access system that exists for those not running as a Democrat or Republican.

Almost half the states require Kennedy to include the name of a running mate when he applies to be on the ballot. Other states demand his campaign gather thousands of signatures, which RFK Jr. says he has completed in Nevada, Hawaii, and New Hampshire.

To get the gist of how the political forces are toying with Kennedy, a report on March 25, published in The Daily Beast, citing CBS News as its source, indicated that the Kennedy campaign “could be forced to start its signature collection all over again in the state [of Nevada] because it didn’t name a running mate when RFK Jr.’s petition was filed.”

Getting technical with technicalities is the name of the game, signaling the Kennedy campaign has miles to go before it sleeps. One of its recurring nightmares ironically appears to be the Democratic Party. Writing for the New York Post, legal expert Jonathan Turley pointed out that, despite talking incessantly about threats to democracy, the Democrats’ treatment of Kennedy is aimed toward “reducing the choices for voters.”

A public campaign to marginalize RFK Jr. and other candidates like Jill Stein is only part of the plan. Turley indicated that legal challenges are likely forthcoming and that Democratic-backed groups will initiate them to keep third-party candidates off the ballots.

RFK Jr. and … Drum Roll, Please!

Having to do battle with the Democrats – and even some members of his family – RFK Jr. appears undaunted. He shrewdly floated a few high-profile names for VP, which instantly reaped the lifeblood of any presidential campaign: free media. These included Jets NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former professional wrestler and Minnesota Gov.  Jesse Ventura. Also on RFK’s shortlist are former Democrat-turned-independent Tulsi Gabbard, Republican Sen. Rand Paul (KY), and Andrew Yang, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020.

Gabbard, who expressed sincere disappointment with the Democratic Party when she gave it the heave-ho, might be his political soul sister and best all-around choice. However, the son of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy has dropped hints that his pick has ties to the San Fransisco Bay area. Whoever he chooses, the Democrats appear to be bracing for it. The announcement will likely breathe the fresh oxygen of media coverage and donor cash into the RFK Jr. candidacy.

What has the Dems so riled are two potential pitfalls: In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson siphoned off enough votes in three battleground states to put Trump in a position to vanquish Hillary Clinton. The second concern comes from the polling data, which shows the minor candidates (Kennedy, Stein, and Democratic Socialist Cornel West) pulling votes from Joe Biden and broadening Trump’s lead over the sitting president.

Kennedy scion or not, politics is a blood sport. If RFK Jr. is a threat to the Democratic candidate, the sentiment on the left is that he must go even if their efforts mean, as Jonathan Turley so aptly put it, “Voters cannot be trusted with something as important as democracy.” No matter who Mr. Kennedy announces today as a running mate, there will be powerful forces working against the independent ticket.

Read More From Leesa K. Donner

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