RFK Jr. Believes Biden, Not Trump, Poses Greater Threat to Democracy

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TL/DR –

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims that President Biden poses a greater threat to American democracy than former President Donald Trump, a view that democracy experts find “absurd” and “preposterous”. Kennedy’s basis for such claims is that he sees the Biden administration’s efforts to curtail the spread of misinformation as censorship, which he deems a major concern for the political system. Kennedy, who has a history of promoting vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories about the government, has faced criticism and skepticism for his views, while his ongoing campaign has caused concern among Democratic officials, fearing his presence on swing-state ballots could siphon votes from Biden.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Poses Controversial Views on Democracy Threat

Former President Donald J. Trump’s refusal to accept his 2020 election loss and proclamations of becoming a dictator upon re-election have been widely criticized. However, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has suggested that the bigger threat to American democracy is President Biden. Kennedy, who has a history of promoting vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories, believes the Biden administration’s fight against misinformation infringes on freedom of speech, a view he has expressed in interviews.

This week, Kennedy’s stance attracted attention after he stated on CNN that Biden, whom he accuses of censoring political speech through federal agencies, poses a greater threat to democracy than Trump. He reiterated this view on Fox News, describing Biden as a genuine threat to democracy.

These comments have escalated Kennedy’s ongoing criticism of Biden and the Democratic Party. Kennedy argues that the government’s engagement with media and tech platforms to curb disinformation, including anti-vaccine arguments, constitutes illegal censorship. This argument was met with skepticism at the Supreme Court last month.

Democrats are concerned that Kennedy, who has a notable following among disaffected Republicans, independents, and Libertarians, could tip a close election in favor of Trump. A recent Fox News poll showed Kennedy drawing equally from both Biden and Trump. Consequently, Democrats have devoted increasing resources to undermine Kennedy’s campaign.

However, democracy experts called Kennedy’s viewpoint “absurd” and “preposterous,” citing Trump’s refusal to accept election results and his fostering of political violence as more significant threats. Steven Levitsky, a professor of government at Harvard, stated that efforts to regulate social media in the United States were not comparable to or worse than efforts to overturn an election or encourage political violence.

In a CNN interview, Kennedy acknowledged that Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election was a threat, but stressed that the greater threat to democracy was a president using his influence over social media companies to silence his critics. Kennedy referred to a lawsuit he filed last year, alleging that the Biden administration had pressured social media companies to restrict speech, including anti-vaccine misinformation.

Democratic National Committee senior adviser, Mary Beth Cahill, responded to Kennedy’s comments, saying, “With a straight face, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that Joe Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Donald Trump because he was barred from pushing conspiracy theories online…There is no comparison to summoning a mob to the Capitol and promising to be a dictator on Day 1.”

In the meantime, Kennedy’s campaign continues to criticize the Democratic Party, accusing it of corruption and blocking his access to the debate stage and ballots. Scholars such as Dr. Levitsky and Dr. Berman highlight the dangers of politicians rejecting democratic norms and creating uncertainty around truth, arguing that such actions threaten the sustainability of democracy.

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