Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience on Thursday, sitting down for a three hour interview.
It’s the longest interview Kennedy has given during his campaign to date.
About three quarters of the interview was spent going over Kennedy’s vaccine skepticism. It should be noted that Kennedy Jr. isn’t necessarily reflexively anti-vaccine. He has just been skeptical since children that received the the hepatitis vaccine had an 11% chance of developing debilitating autism.
Rogan sort of used RFK as a fact-finding source. The media legend has received a lot of backlash from the progressive world for openly questioning some of the vaccine effects.
Rogan did push back in a respectful way. When Kennedy noted the spike in autism post vaccines, Rogan asked what was the explanation detractors gave? He brought up the fact that doctors are more informed today, and thus more likely to diagnose for autism.
But RFK noted the level of people when in his generation who seemed to function on an autistic level was incredibly rare. Something changed where seeing that type of scenario became much more common.
They did touch upon other issues, where RFK seemed to stay on message and bring everything back to questioning any official explanation from the government.
He talked about the Ukraine, and drew a line in the sand, saying he wouldn’t send any troops to the region.
“There’s people in this White House who want this war. the purpose is to depose Putin. The same people who got rid of Saddam Hussein, 8 trillion dollars were spent in Iraq, we killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein. We created Isis, we drove two million refugees into Europe and created Brexit, and a ravaged the middle class in our country.”
Certainly some bold statements, but they’re quite hard to argue with. Kennedy is the pure anti-imperialist candidate.
And this is where he used Rogan’s platform to differ from Trump. Kennedy went on to explain his environmental efforts, like how he cleaned up the Hudson River through a bevy of lawsuits against corporate polluters. And unlike most conservatives, he’s opposed to hydraulic fracking. He even met with then NY Governor Cuomo in 2013 and was one of the key people involved in getting him to come out against fracking. Previously, Cuomo said he’d give the greenlight to develop key parts of upstate New York for a new oil pipeline.
And Kennedy took some subtle digs at Trump as well, highlighting his differences. This interview proves, that no, Kennedy is not a Steve Bannon creation with a reflixively Republican viewpoint. Kennedy is, well, a classic John F. Kennedy Democrat. And there’s a fine and discernible difference.
Kennedy brought up this point to very carefully and subtly compare Donald Trump to former Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace was a famous segregationist who ran for president four times. Kennedy noted that the same people who supported his father when he ran for president in 1968, supported George Wallace in the 1972 primary. Kennedy was a fierce advocate for civil rights, while Wallace was anything but. But both had that certain populist fervor, both tried to highlight their frustrations and shine a spotlight on injustices that weren’t being talked about in the mainstream media.
Sound familiar? Kennedy is implying that it should, just replace Wallace with Trump. Kennedy also spoke about not signaling out a specific group of people for your ire, like immigrants.
And on economics, Kennedy will be tacking left. “we have to give aid directly to the poor, not oligarchs and military,” he said. That means, Republicans will be unhappy to learn, he supports a strong social safety net for Americans. On a candidate questionnaire, when asked if the minimum wage should be raised, Kennedy said “yes.”
So, there you have it. Kennedy revealed himself not to be a conservative, not to be a woke liberal, not to be an elite neoconservative Democrat, but a classic liberal. It seems like a lane that is most extinct, but it truly is the purely populist one. He recognized the massive top to bottom economic divide, with an increasingly shrinking middle class, implying that the government should help with social spending. And he supports a dramatically downsized military, taking an isolationist, non-interventionist approach.
And Kennedy’s media blitz has a populist tinge to it as well. He’s done quit five minute hits with mainstream media, but has the highest number of YouTube longform interviews amongst any candidate running for president. He sees the future and knows which mediums voters actually utilize. And it’s not television anymore. He’s appeared with big names who hit big on YouTube like Jordan Peterson, and of course had his own “Twitter Spaces” hosted by Elon Musk. His turn on the platform went far more smoothly than that of former Governor Ron DeSantis.
He’s making a smart play as he’s consistently been hitting 20% in the polls against Joe Biden, whose been sitting around 60%. Kennedy has roughly the same poll numbers that DeSantis has, yet he doesn’t get the mainstream media coverage. Luckily, there’s a way to circumvent that, and we’ll keep covering this novel Democrat for you.