Should the Left Give RFK, Jr. a Chance?

Counterpunch reports:

If Joe Biden was hoping to sail through to renomination despite abysmal approval ratings, that’s not going to happen anymore, even if all the potential establishment candidates have backed out. Likewise, if the president still thinks he can avoid debating what I’m sure will be a serious challenger, backed up by rapidly rising poll numbers (RFK Jr. is already at 19%, within a few days of declaring), then he is sorely mistaken. Avoiding debate, and dismissing your opponent as beneath notice despite popularity, suggests a fatal flaw that will rear its ugly head at some point.

When I heard his campaign declaration speech, I was touched even more than my enthusiasm at comparable moments in Ralph Nader’s 2000 candidacy or the early days of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign. Kennedy is picking up the baton from these earlier iterations of protest against extreme corporate power allied with state tyranny. To these he is adding a unique poetic calibration of his own, which comes from his unmatched personal experience as the nephew and son of a slain president and a possible future president respectively.

I have never known him to play up his traumatic experience for cheap gain, and he is not likely to do so now. Rather, he appeals—like the older Nader in particular—because he speaks in a voice of reason harkening to a rhetorical style that has mostly passed from the American scene. I doubt that we have heard such eloquence and intelligence since the great charismatic leaders of the sixties, our latter-day politicians having spoken mostly in a narrowcasting language of transactionalism. 

Read the full opinion piece here.

If you resonate with this message please subscribe to our newsletter to learn more.