Sun. May 19th, 2024

Trump says RFK Jr. will hurt Biden. In private, he’s not so sure.

By 37ci3 Apr23,2024

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he’s confident independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy will get more than a dozen more votes than President Joe Biden — a net victory for the Republican nomination.

“He is Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, not mine,” Trump wrote on Truth Social late last month. “I love how he runs!”

Behind closed doors, Trump is less certain. A Republican who was in the room with Trump earlier this year as the former president reviewed the vote said Trump was unsure how Kennedy would affect the race and asked other people if Kennedy was really good for his candidacy.

After largely ignoring Kennedy early in the campaign, Trump has stepped up his efforts to paint the independent candidate as a leftist and make him Biden’s problem, saying he and his allies are concerned about Kennedy’s ability to attract Republican voters. In the same article, he called Trump, the political opponent of Kennedy Biden he called Kennedy was “the most radical leftist candidate in the race to date”, “a big fan of the Green New Deal” and a “killer of other economic disasters”.

In the video monologue he wrote on his social media page this month, Trump described Kennedy as being to Biden’s left, but said Kennedy “has some nice things about him” and “I happen to like him.”

“If I were a Democrat, I would vote for RFK Jr. every time over Biden because he’s clearly more in line with the Democrats,” he said, adding, “I believe RFK Jr. will do very well. I believe he will get more votes than crooked Joe Biden.”

Trump’s increased focus on Kennedy comes as Democrats are increasing their focus on third-party candidates. the rise of super PACs and other anti-spoiler efforts It was intended to bring independent challengers to their knees, which could draw from Biden and erode the vote share Trump needs to peak this fall. And contrary to previous conventional wisdom about the 2024 race, a new poll shows Trump currently has the most to lose on the ballot with Kennedy.

An NBC News national survey has been published Sunday found that Kennedy cut deeper into Trump’s support than Biden. Found in the survey 15% of voters who chose Trump in a head-to-head with Biden chose Kennedy in a 5-way ballot test, while only 7% of those who initially chose Biden in a head-to-head went to Kennedy when third-party candidates were added.

That trend meant Trump was 2 points behind Biden in head-to-head polls when the race was expanded to five candidates, including Kennedy. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Republican voters view Kennedy more favorably than Democrats. According to the results of the survey, 40% of Republicans have a positive attitude towards Kennedy, and 15% have a negative opinion about the independent candidate. For Democrats, only 16% had a favorable view of Kennedy, while 53% had an unfavorable view of him.

That’s partly a result of the conservative media and Trump’s allies criticizing the medical establishment when Kennedy ran against Biden in the Democratic primary, as well as Kennedy, a prominent vaccine skeptic, before this election cycle. – called social media “censorship”.

A Republican who worked on early state door-knocking for Trump’s primary challenger told NBC News that Kennedy is often seen as a second choice among people who say they support Trump.

Changing posture

Trump himself has had kind words for Kennedy in the past. During the interview in June 2023 The Howie Carr Show, Trump described Kennedy as a “right-minded man.” Right-wing allies like Steve Bannon, Alex Jones and Roger Stone clearly writhing Let Trump choose Kennedy as his candidate.

The vibe is different now.

This month, the pro-Trump PAC MAGA Inc has been activated “Radical F—ing Kennedy,” a website dedicated to promoting the candidate’s leftist positions. Meanwhile, there’s Kennedy criticized Trump blasted him from the right for taking advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci during the pandemic and increasing the deficit. He he said Another statement by Trump “would be bad for the country.”

“President Trump calls me an ultra-left radical,” Kennedy said Posted in X In response to the MAGA Inc website. “I am so liberal that his emissaries asked me to be his vice president. I respectfully declined the offer.” (Trump’s campaign Kennedy denied it There were applications regarding the former president being a running mate.)

“I am against President Trump and President Biden cannot win,” Kennedy’s post continued. “According to his new website, President Trump knows who can beat him.”

Overall, there have been public polls showing that both major party candidates suffered more as a result of Kennedy’s campaign. The dynamics can also change depending on which state is surveyed — and which states have Kennedy on the ballot in November is still an ongoing battle.

“No one has polled Kennedy and his place in the race more than I have — and I’ve consistently seen him pull even more than Biden and Trump,” said Jeremy Zogby, managing partner of John Zogby Strategies, which polled for Kennedy’s campaign. “Sometimes one or two points are given to one side in a survey and the opposite in another. The fact is that Kennedy has crossover appeal among the disaffected within both parties, such as the “dual haters” who dislike both Biden and Trump.

Democrats have long worried that Kennedy’s connection to his famous father and uncles would win over some family-loving liberals. Plus, Kennedy has gained a reputation as an environmental activist and corporate crusader over the yearstwo reasons that made him find common ground with Democratic voters.

Last week, Biden held an event with members of the Kennedy family praising the president and warning of the danger posed by his relatives’ campaign. And on Monday, the Democratic National Committee announced that it had produced billboards in Arizona depicting Kennedy as a spoiler candidate for Trump.

A strategist working on Democrats’ anti-third-party efforts says the data clearly shows that Kennedy is taking a slice from both the major party candidates and a segment of voters who aren’t open to voting for either Trump or Biden.

“I think the information has changed quite a bit in the last month,” this person said. “But it’s all on the sidelines, it’s hard to tell if it’s RFK who is attracting more Trump voters, or if some Trump voters are just looking for an outlet, or both. Even on Biden’s end — does that just reflect the fact that Biden made a few points?

One Trump ally said the presumptive GOP nominee should stop bashing Kennedy for now, arguing that if these polling trends continue, it will be time to go after him later this fall as “too liberal for America.”

“When you start to attack him or even appeal to him, you start to trust him and you start to amplify those voices,” this person said, “Now he’s irrelevant. As you get closer and the voices start to harden in terms of who, when, why and how people vote, you need to start moving.”

In a statement, Trump’s campaign opposed Kennedy’s stance on the environment, calling him “not independent,” also hit Democrats for defying efforts to get on the ballot.

“RFK Jr. The AOC is a fan of, and indeed against, any human development, preferring us all to live in caves by candlelight, of course supporting charging stations for your $150,000 electric car that can only drive a few miles before dying, like the presidential campaign. Stephen Cheung, Trump’s communications director, said.

Tony Lyons, co-founder of the pro-Kennedy super PAC American Values ​​2024 and president of Skyhorse Publishing, said throughout the campaign there would be a “pendulum swinging back and forth” that would sometimes show Kennedy was better for Trump. other times it boosts Biden’s candidacy.

Lyons said Kennedy will soon launch a 30-minute online commercial aimed at responding to the attacks his opponents have faced.

“The interesting thing about this is that Trump says he’s ultra-left,” Lyons said. “And Biden says he’s ultra-right.”

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By 37ci3

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