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What’s driving (some) Republicans to donate to a Democrat?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been raking in donations from GOP donors since he announced he would be challenging Joe Biden to be the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee. He has also been making headlines for propagating conspiracy theories and refusing to toe the party line.

The most recent controversy came last week, when RFK Jr. was accused of spreading a racist and antisemitic conspiracy theory by suggesting that COVID-19 was “ethnically targeted” to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people. Democrats, including RFK’s sister, Kerry Kennedy, have condemned his remarks, with some calling for him to be disinvited from addressing the House at Thursday’s hearing on censorship.

Who is RFK Jr? The nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and son of JFK’s attorney-general, Bobby Kennedy, RFK Jr has gained notoriety as a prominent vaccine skeptic. His campaign, which has seen poll numbers as high as 20% among Democratic primary voters, aims to limit the influence of corporate money in politics, is against the government’s COVID response and seeks to cut US military aid to Ukraine.

Why are (some) Republicans supporting him? According to the Super PAC backing Kennedy, around half of the $10.25 million it has raised has been from Republicans. While aspects of RFK’s platform certainly appeal to various parts of the GOP electorate — particularly his critiques of US policy on COVID and Ukraine–his GOP supporters are motivated at least as much by another goal: to sow chaos in the Democratic Party ranks. RFK stands almost no chance of winning the presidency, but eroding Democrat unity ahead of a tight election could be a triumph in itself.


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