Robert F. Kennedy, who ran for the White House as an independent candidate, has taken something from Donald Trump that few candidates could afford to lose: donors.
And — let’s whisper this part — maybe some voters, too.
There’s no way that everyone who gave three dollars or voted twice in favor of Trump has suddenly done a 180-degree turn and backed the Kennedy family heir. According to a Politico report released on Wednesday Kennedy “receives checks from former Donald Trump contributors at a higher rate than Joe Biden contributors.”
The majority of the $10m Kennedy raised through Sept. 30, came from donors who had not made any federal donations during the previous two elections. “2,100 donors, giving nearly $2m, previously contributed to the Republican donation service WinRed from 2020.”
ActBlue was used by only 1,700 donors who contributed a total of $1.7 million.
Of course, politics isn’t just about money. It doesn’t follow that Trump voters would do the same just because more donors are abandoning Biden for Kennedy than they are for Trump. It’s not the type of indicator that you would want to see so close to an election year.
Recent polls suggest that Kennedy poses a greater problem for Trump and Biden than for Kennedy himself. A recent poll conducted just before Kennedy dropped his D and became independent showed that “a third party bid would draw more support from President Joe Biden than former President Donald Trump.” In a three-way race, Trump’s vote dropped from 40% to just 38% while Biden’s remained at 38%. This poll was conducted by Zogby, and Kennedy’s super PAC American Values 2024 commissioned it. So maybe you should take this one with a pinch of salt.
The USA Today/Suffolk University Poll conducted last week produced nearly identical results. Kennedy won 13% in that poll, attracting voters who would have supported the Republican candidate by a 2-1 margin.
Please know that I am not one of these voters. In recent columns, I have described Kennedy as “still a f ****** commie” who has “just proven he is still a radical hard-left.” If you’re thinking about becoming one of our fans, those are VIP links. The important thing to remember is that Kennedy will have to go the old-fashioned route to get my vote: he must return to being a Democrat and wait until I am dead.
If the polls are accurate — and Politico’s analysis of donors appears to be solid — then we’re seeing one of the risks of doing business with populists. The American tradition of populism has been a long-standing one. However, it’s more about changing public sentiments than about party, policy, or principle.
ASIDE: The Founders were concerned about populism, which is why they made the House of Representatives the only federal office that was popularly elected and limited the terms of their offices to two years. Senators who were not elected initially and held office for six-year terms were supposed to be immune from such temporary passions. The Senate was also supposed to be the place where House legislation that was ill-considered would die.
I don’t think any Trump supporters, including the majority of readers on this site and many thousands more, will switch to Kennedy. Trump did bring a number of Democrats to the GOP. This was especially true in 2016. These newcomers were more like John Kennedy Democrats rather than actual Republicans. Here’s another Kennedy who will grab their attention.
We hope that we can make them see that he is still a [REDACTED] Commie long before Election Day.