Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announces independent run for president 

Reading Time: 2 minutes In front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, on Oct. 9, 2023, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declared independence from the Democratic Party, announcing his independent run for president.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA on Oct. 9, 2023. The environmental lawyer and writer had originally aimed to bid his entry for the 2024 election as a Democratic candidate but has now cut ties with the party, saying he did “not make the decision lightly” and emphasizing that it was “very painful for him.” RFK Jr. himself as well as his father, Robert F. Kennedy, and uncle, John F. Kennedy, have each had a long and established history in politics with the Democratic Party. 

Along with being the first Kennedy to announce their candidacy as an independent, RFK Jr. has also made history, drawing record numbers of support from voters in early polls for the upcoming presidential election. RFK Jr. polled an impressive average of 14% amongst voters that would back him in a hypothetical election between Kennedy, Biden, and former President Donald Trump. This puts him 1% shy of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) threshold to be included in the 2024 presidential debates alongside the party nominees. It is speculated that, over time, Kennedy has the potential to draw more voters away from both Republican and Democratic candidates the closer we get to the presidential election. 

“Today, we turn a new page in American politics. There have been independent candidates in this country before, but this time it’s going to be different. Because this time, the independent is going to win,” Kennedy said. The last independent candidate to qualify for the debates was 1992 candidate Ross Perot, who was ultimately defeated by Democratic nominee Bill Clinton. 

Kennedy Jr. continued, “Now let me tell you what an independent presidency will look like – because I’m independent of the military contractors. I’ll be able to pursue a foreign policy that puts peace and diplomacy first… And because I’m independent of both political parties, I’ll be able to enact bold policies that are outside of the partisan conversation.” 

RFK Jr. made it clear that his intention in office is to “declare independence from lobbyists, mercenary media, and the two political parties.” 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. received a great deal of negative feedback for announcing his run for office from Republicans and four members of his family who released a joint affidavit saying their brother’s candidacy is, “deeply saddening,” calling it “perilous for our country.” Although those members of his family do not support him, RFK Jr. made a point of thanking the members of his family who showed their support by being present at the event in Philadelphia on Monday. 

“The Democrats are frightened that I’m gonna spoil the election for President Biden, and the Republicans are frightened that I’m gonna spoil it for President Trump. The truth is, they’re both right: My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”