Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says Americans Are ‘Voting Out of Fear’


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sought to make the case on Sunday that he can do something no third-party or independent candidate has come close to doing in modern U.S. history: win a presidential election. Although polls show him far behind, both major-party campaigns, those of President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, view Mr. Kennedy as a potential spoiler.

Speaking at a rally on Long Island outside New York City, Mr. Kennedy cited polls that he said his campaign had conducted, showing him winning in two scenarios: one in which he faced only Mr. Biden without Mr. Trump in the race, and one in which he faced Mr. Trump without Mr. Biden.

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The reason he is behind in a three-way race, he maintained, is that “so many Americans are voting out of fear.”

“Their only strategy is to try to keep me off the ballot and then to make everybody terrified of Donald Trump,” he said of Democrats, “and on the other side, they do the same thing,” he added of Republicans. “When somebody is telling you to vote out of fear, they are trying to manipulate you into abandoning your values,” he said.

Mr. Kennedy acknowledged to the crowd in Holbrook, N.Y., that Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump differed in numerous ways.

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“If you look at their personalities, their dispositions, their presentation, their ideology, their approach to life, their interactions with other people, there’s a huge, huge difference,” he said.

But he argued that issues on which Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump held starkly different positions — like abortion, border security, guns and transgender rights — were “culture war issues” that “are used to divide us all.” He said that on the national debt and chronic disease — issues he called “existential for our country” — their positions weren’t materially different.

In discussing the prevalence of chronic disease, Mr. Kennedy lamented the United States’ disproportionately high death rate from the coronavirus compared with the death rate experienced by other developed countries, a disparity attributable in part to the comparatively low uptake of vaccines that Mr. Kennedy has campaigned against.

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He suggested — in contradiction of scientific evidence of the safety and efficacy of Covid vaccines, and data showing higher death rates in states with lower vaccination rates — that the nation’s poor Covid performance was a mark against vaccines.

“Whatever we’re doing, whatever we did, it was wrong,” Mr. Kennedy said, referring to vaccine mandates, lockdowns and other pandemic responses.

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