November 22, 2023
Now, Kennedy was talking about fear.
It was fear that drove the Democratic Party to box him out of his attempt to challenge Joe Biden in the primary because, in his estimation, it was fear that they were selling to voters. “I don’t hear Democrats ever say that we should vote for President Biden because he inspires them, or because he’s run the country with the kind of vigor or energy that we need in times of crisis,” he told me. “I hear them say that you should vote for Biden because you should be scared of Trump.”
“I was subject to what I would characterize as a series of mischaracterizations and defamations that were allowed to define me,” he said. “Literally every story about me was negative.” An avalanche of bad press would threaten to bury him and then, suddenly, the press would quiet down until, out of nowhere, another avalanche. As a first resort, he suspected this strange phenomenon was by nefarious design. “It certainly feels like it’s orchestrated, but I have no way of knowing why dozens of leading liberals all attack me the same week. Are they on a phone tree? I don’t know why it comes in waves like that,” he said. “I do see patterns, but any effort by me to explain that would be speculative and I try not to speculate.”
Yet it was not fear that he was feeling now.
“Almost every time I’ve done something difficult, I’ve had those moments. Rock climbing or kayaking a very difficult stretch of white water, you get to a point where you say, What on earth did I get myself into? Get me out of here,” he said. “I haven’t had one moment. I’m pretty much free of anxieties. I feel peaceful.”
Good — for him. Kennedy’s chill disposition is now the rest of the political world’s simmering panic attack. Since announcing in October that he would end his campaign for the Democratic nomination to officially become a problem for both major parties as an independent, fear — and denial — is what Kennedy seems to inspire among the staid Washington Establishment supporting the incumbent president and the gangland anti-Establishment Establishment supporting the former president. Officials from both party apparatuses are certainly looking at metrics that confirm Kennedy is turning the presidential election upside down.
At this point, all that’s clear is that no one has any idea what will happen between now and November 2024 or how to respond to the threat Kennedy poses to the Biden-Trump binary. As it is, Kennedy is in some cases polling not far behind either likely major-party nominee and in all cases polling well enough that, were the election held today, his presence in the race would define what the next chapter of American history looks like. As he put it, “My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”
Read the full interview here.
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