Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. may be the revolution he says America needs. From Kennedy and Freddie Sayers at unherd.com:
For decades, as a scion of the Kennedy family and environmental litigator, Robert F. Kennedy Junior was considered an establishment hero. In recent years, however, his rhetoric against Covid lockdowns and vaccines — culminating in him making a comparison with Anne Frank and the Holocaust at a vaccine mandate rally — sealed his reputation among most commentators as irresponsible and potentially dangerous. So, since he announced that he was running for president two weeks ago, challenging Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, he has presented the establishment media with something of a conundrum. He is already polling at 20% — should he be ignored or interrogated?
When Mr Kennedy agreed to speak to UnHerd, we thought we’d try something different: instead of re-rehearsing familiar arguments over vaccines, we thought we’d actually try to understand the way he thinks, and why he appeals to so many people. Does his curious basket of views — on the environment, Ukraine, corporate power, cultural issues — hang together? Below is an edited transcript.
Freddie Sayers: The issue of vaccines was notably absent from your campaign launch speech last week. Was this a deliberate effort to set the issue aside and appeal to mainstream Democrats?
Robert F. Kennedy: My approach is that, unless I’m talking to a group that specifically wants to talk about that issue, I would not lead with it. The issues that I want to lead with are those I talked about in my speech. If somebody asks me about vaccines, I’m going to tell them the truth. But I think for most Americans, it’s not on their top list of issues.
Freddie Sayers: It’s not going to be easy to set aside, as every interview will mention it. What would be your message to mainstream Democrats who might be interested in some of the things you’re saying, but have made up their mind about you based on the vaccines issue?
RFK Jr: I’m talking about issues that I think most Americans and probably most Democrats are concerned about: the systematic gutting of the middle class; the elevation of corporations — particularly polluting corporations; and, from the financial industry to the military-industrial complex, the corrupt merger of state and corporate power. Through wars, bank bailouts and lockdowns, we’ve been systematically hollowing out the American middle class, and printing money to make billionaires richer. During the Covid lockdown, there was a $4.4 trillion shift in wealth from the American middle class to this new oligarchy that we created — 500 new billionaires with the lockdowns, and the billionaires that we already had increased their wealth by 30%.