With Democrats who have a shot at actually becoming the president holding off for the 2024 Democratic primary, the race to challenge Joe Biden’s nomination is starting to get weird — like extended-family chat about vaccine efficacy weird. The first candidate to go after Biden from the left, Marianne Williamson, said years ago that she harbored “a skepticism, which is actually healthy, on this issue of vaccinations.” That’s quaint compared to the newest entry in the race: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
On Wednesday, RFK Jr. filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president as a Democrat in 2024. The founder of an anti-vaccine organization called Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy Jr. has promoted the disproven claim that vaccines cause autism in children — and nearly led a presidential commission on the nonexistent connection in the early Trump years. When the pandemic hit, RFK Jr. hit the useless COVID treatments hard, promoting horse dewormers and anti-malarial pills that don’t work. In 2021, he wrote a book called The Real Anthony Fauci, claiming that the former NIAID head pulled off “a historic coup d’état against Western democracy.” At an anti-vaccine rally in Washington, D.C., last year, he compared the COVID-vaccine push — tied together with 5G and satellite surveillance — to the Holocaust. “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could hide in the attic like Anne Frank did,” he said. Aside from vaccine conspiracy theories, he also promoted a baseless conspiracy theory that George W. Bush stole the 2004 election.
He’s not exactly a DNC-approved primary candidate. So why is he running, aside from drawing attention toward the insane claims that got him denounced by his family? According to CBS News, former Trump adviser and guy in trouble for allegedly defrauding Trump supporters Steve Bannon has been in Kennedy’s ear in recent months, encouraging him to run in order to stir election chaos. Considering Biden’s popularity among Democrats, the plan sounds like a long shot. But what fun is a no-contest primary without an anti-vaxx Manchurian candidate in the mix?