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Saturday, April 13, 2024

RFK Jr. Update

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

Jonathan Swan, Maggie Haberman, Shane Goldmacher and Rebecca Davis O’Brien at NYT:
Allies of Donald J. Trump are discussing ways to elevate third-party candidates in battleground states to divert votes away from President Biden, along with other covert tactics to diminish Democratic votes.

They plan to promote the independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a “champion for choice” to give voters for whom abortion is a top issue — and who also don’t like Mr. Biden — another option on the ballot, according to one person who is involved in the effort and who, like several others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plans.
  Summer Concepcion, Ben Kamisar and Katherine Koretski at NBC:
A campaign staffer for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential bid has been fired after a video recently circulated of her talking about preventing President Joe Biden’s re-election by trying to send the race to the House of Representatives to potentially elect former President Donald Trump.

In a Wednesday night post to X, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s campaign manager and daughter-in-law, said the campaign had fired New York-based staffer Rita Palma’s contract “for misrepresentation immediately upon seeing the longer video in which she gave an inaccurate job title and described a conversation that did not happen.”

Palma confirmed her termination from the campaign in a text message to NBC News, saying her time with RFK Jr.'s campaign "has been one of the best political adventures of my life filled with some of the finest people I’ve encountered, and I have encountered many."

"I hold no ill will and look forward to the next seven months of watching Bobby shine," she said.

Palma, who has long criticized vaccine mandates, had come under scrutiny over a recently uploaded video, obtained by NBC News, of a presentation she gave to try to sway Republican voters to help Kennedy qualify for New York’s presidential ballot. In the video, Palma said she is the campaign’s New York state director, which the campaign disputed, calling her a “ballot access consultant” uninvolved in electoral strategy.

 But Trump has no problem with blurting out the tactic. Edith Olmsted at The Daily Beast:

Donald Trump wants Democrats to vote for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—making the bizarre pitch in a new contradictory video announcement shared to Truth Social on Thursday.

He called the independent 2024 candidate a “radical left candidate,” but insisted that he was “a better man” than his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats,” the former president said.

Trump vaguely referenced RFK Jr.’s one-time support for the so-called “Green New Scam,” but didn’t provide much else in the way of comparison to Biden. The former president is banking on the idea that Democratic voters who are dissatisfied with Biden will flee to RFK Jr., even though the independent’s conspiracy theorizing, Jan. 6 hand-wringing, and some of his campaign staff’s explicit opposition to Biden have far more in common with Trump’s vengeful, reality-challenged rhetoric.