March 28, 2024

RFK Jr. will get next to no votes now

WAS THIS DELIBERATE?  RFK Jr. announced his VP running mate, Nicole Shanahan, and she is a raging leftist establishment type.  He's shot any chance of a successful presidential campaign in the foot.  I'm not sure what the strategy was here; RFK Jr. may feel he's garnered as many conservative supporters as he could and is now making a play to pull voters from Let's Go Brandon's base. He certainly stands to lose some of his independent supporters as a result of a radical leftist pick.  And it's hard to see how the left will gravitate to RFK Jr. when they seem to think a defense of democracy is the most pressing issue facing America in 2024.  They'll have to vote for Let's Go Brandon out of fear (aka TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome). But maybe, this was a deliberate self-sabotage.

Here's how Politico described her:

Nicole Shanahan, the 38-year-old lawyer and investor who will now be Kennedy’s running mate, provides a helpful injection of cash to the campaign, having donated more than $4.5 million to his bid thus far.

Shanahan is a longtime staple of the Silicon Valley scene as an early AI executive, an ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin and, according to the Wall Street Journal, an alleged one-time paramour of Elon Musk.

But potentially more significant than the money she delivers is the way her politics squares with Kennedy’s existing supporters, and what it means for U.S. party alignment.

Looking at Shanahan’s track record, she at first seems the paragon of a loyal Democrat: She contributed to Hillary Clinton in 2016, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg in 2020, and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), her local representative.

She was a major donor to Measure J, an anti-incarceration California ballot initiative, and her Bia-Echo Foundation names “the world’s greatest challenges” as “Reproductive Longevity & Equality, Criminal Justice Reform and a Healthy and Livable Planet” — which, whatever it actually does, manages to invoke a lot of progressive-sounding buzzwords.

That might make her selection jarring, considering RFK Jr.’s campaign has thus far appealed to a more right-leaning crowd.

It's clear where RFK Jr. is looking to expand his voter appeal; leftward.  I don't think it really helps him win anything.  But it could torpedo his support and maybe that was the point.  It's long been argued that he will pull more support from Let's Go Brandon than he will from Trump, maybe this was a way to end his own campaign so that anti-Trump support drifts back to Let's Go Brandon out of that aforementioned fear of Trump.

As of Monday, per RealClearPolitics polling averages, Trump held a popular-vote lead of 1.7% in a hypothetical one-on-one rematch.

Trump’s advantage, however, rose to 2.3% in the current five-way race, which includes Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independents Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

So if he is trying torpedo himself it would be a good strategy.  But it honestly draws potential support from the wrong side if that is the case.  The only way it works as that plan is if it doesn't help him in the polls and he withdraws from the race. It seems likely he will bleed almost as much support as he gains from this move, if not more.

Worse still, she's such a big tech investor type, it almost undercuts his big pharma skepticism that has garnered a lot of support from the types who hate Let's Go Brandon but cannot pull the lever for Trump. It's an odd enough move I could see him bleeding support from both sides. The impact will shake out over the next month.

Here's a good longer form take on it:

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