top of page
  • Brian R. Monahan

Just who are Kennedy supporters?

RFK Jr at his Mama Lombardi's rally.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr at his April 28 Holbrook rally.

A part of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s long pathway to ballot access in all 50 states ran through Mama Lombardi’s in Holbrook, where rallygoers of all political stripes gathered to be one of the 45,000 signatures required for ballot access in New York.


“I can give you back your country,” said Kennedy to an applauding crowd of over 1,000 attendees after outlining his major policy areas.


The lofty promise and its accompanying messaging appealed to self-described conservative Republicans and Democrats alike, who, during this period of hyper-partisanship, seem to agree on one thing: RFK Jr.  


It’s this appeal that Kennedy believes former President Donald Trump “finds threatening to his presidency” and is driving President Joe Biden to fund efforts to “keep [Kennedy] off the ballot.”


Polls do little to clarify the ideological location of Kennedy supporters, with the most recent CNN poll suggesting that all third parties – RFK Jr, Cornell West, and Jill Stein – take more votes away from Biden than Trump. His specific policies and populist rhetoric cast a unique net over the American public.


Attendees varied from “dissatisfied” with the presumptive nominees of both major parties, like Robert Stamm from Patchogue, to entirely on board with RFK Jr., like Robert Fleming of Patchogue and Andreas from Woodside, Queens.


As diverse as the crowd was, especially with respect to age, so too were their reasons for supporting Kennedy.


“I like that he went down to the border,” said Kathy from Islip, a self-described conservative Republican undecided on her vote. She wanted to hear about his policies to “solve” pro-Hamas demonstrations on college campuses and cashless bail.


Confirmed Kennedy supporters Nikki and Anna, a couple that generally vote for the Democratic Party, were looking forward to his policies on healthcare and Palestine.


 Some attendees described themselves as former Democrats. Andreas fell under this category and said he was no longer “aligned” with his former party. He pointed to “censorship, [the Democratic Party’s] stance on vaccines, war and taxation” as reasons for leaving and admired Kennedy for doing the same.


Kennedy did not unveil any new policies. Instead, he tailored his message to his state of residence, New York, mentioning his work with the River Keepers in the Hudson and environmentalists in the Long Island Sound to successfully sue polluters.


The independent candidate took aim at both presumptive nominees for harking on “the culture war issues” of “abortion, guns, border security, transgender rights, these issues that are really used to divide us all” and ignoring the existential issues of “chronic disease” and “the debt issue.”


In reference to healthcare, he criticized Democrats and Republicans for “moving deckchairs around on the Titanic” when discussing the issue, pointing to nearly 60% of Americans having chronic diseases and America’s notoriously high share of GDP spent on healthcare.  


On COVID-19, the policy area that has earned him the moniker of “conspiracy theorist” and reinforced that of “anti-vaccine activist,” he stated, given America’s disproportionate death rate, “Whatever we did was wrong.”


To an energetic crowd, he disagreed with COVID-era lockdowns, educational disruptions, vaccine refusal-related job losses, “banning us from accessing therapeutic products that our doctors recommend,” and the presidencies that permitted those policies.


 Perhaps the answer to what makes a Kennedy voter lies here:


“He’s fighting against the big dogs – everybody that no one wants to touch, and no one wants to speak against; he’s doing it,” said Katie of Babylon.


Whether it is his position on COVID-19, housing, healthcare, America’s intelligence apparatus, big pharma, big agriculture or any other “big” grouping of commercial or political interests, his stances have found a foothold in the electorate. Whether enough voters are fed up with the current system and comfortable with Kennedy to propel his candidacy further remains to be seen, but first thing’s first – qualifying on the ballot in New York.


Top Stories

Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
bottom of page