RFK Jr. Prepares His Audience for Election Denial - Latest Global News

RFK Jr. Prepares His Audience for Election Denial

In 2006, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. thought he was on to something big. In an article for Rolling Stone, He argued that the 2004 election was rigged to guarantee a victory for George W. Bush and that Democratic nominee John Kerry was unfairly denied his seat in the Oval Office. Citing research from a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Kennedy argued that a discrepancy between election polls and actual vote counts, as well as the disenfranchisement in Ohio, was likely evidence of a concerted effort to illegitimately put Bush in office.

“Despite the media blackout, there continued to be signs that something deeply disturbing had happened in 2004,” Kennedy wrote.

In fact, there was no media blackout, and the 2004 election conspiracy theories were, if anything, somewhat mainstream. Mother Jones published a story about her in November 2005, and Christopher Hitchens did so in Vanity Fair even earlier, in March 2005. Many disappointed Democrats shared widespread distrust about the fairness of the entire process. Shortly after the election, Senate Judiciary Democrats even called for an investigation into alleged voting irregularities, showing how loud and persistent these allegations were.

But Kennedy remained the only man asking the tough questions, a tactic he used throughout his career. And now, in his pursuit of the presidency, he is doing so again. The arc of his campaign clearly shows that he has laid the groundwork for his supporters to attribute his inevitable loss to an elite conspiracy; It perhaps seems reasonable to ask whether Kennedy’s team or his supporters will challenge some aspects of the results of the 2024 election.

The Kennedy campaign told WIRED that this was not the case. “Mr. “Kennedy believes that his opponents’ tactics are unscrupulous and anti-democratic, but that they do not meet the definition of fraud,” spokeswoman Stefanie Spear wrote in an emailed statement. “He has no plans to challenge the election results .”

But whether Kennedy himself actually does this is in some ways irrelevant—he is already benefiting from the existence of a style of truthing that he helped pioneer.

During his candidacy, Kennedy did not shy away from extreme claims of political corruption and revisionist history. He significantly downplayed the January 6, 2021 insurrection; In a fundraising email, his campaign referred to those arrested as “activists” who had been “deprived of their constitutional freedoms,” and he falsely claimed in a statement that they were not carrying weapons. “I have not examined the evidence in detail,” he wrote, “but reasonable people, including Trump opponents, tell me that there is little evidence of a real insurrection.” (After an outcry, Kennedy walked back that remark, saying she “made a mistake” and explicitly admitted that the claim that the rioters did not carry weapons was false.)

In Kennedy’s team, connections to election deniers and supporters of January 6th continue to emerge. The campaign fired a New York campaign consultant, Rita Palma, after CNN reported that she attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the riots and encouraged voters to support Kennedy in New York support because it would help Donald Trump’s re-election. However, the campaign did not condemn her participation in the rally; Kennedy’s campaign manager and daughter-in-law, Amaryllis Fox, said she was fired for “misrepresentation” after she claimed to be New York state campaign manager.

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