President Biden’s approval ratings are underwater, an ominous sign for the Democratic Party leading up to the 2024 presidential election. With much of the nation desperately hoping to avoid a Biden-Trump rematch, many are casting about for alternatives. One has emerged with surprisingly broad support among Democratic primary voters, as well as independents and some Republicans: attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who amassed double-digit support right out of the gate, with some polls showing him at 20 percent.

Where is that support coming from? Kennedy’s last name evokes an illustrious lineage for loyal Democrats, and he is comfortably aligned with his party on issues like affirmative action, immigration, and student loans. But Kennedy has also capitalized on concerns shared by disaffected voters across the spectrum: the widening class divide, the feeling that the system is rigged against hard-working Americans, the endless wars that enrich the military-industrial complex at the expense of the nation, and the way the establishment has veered into authoritarian overreach. Too few politicians are willing or able to speak authentically on these issues, in part because of their own complicity in the underlying problems. It is a positive development that Kennedy has been using his name recognition to force a discussion on all of this.

“Like many nepo babies, RFK Jr. is only almost great.”

But like many nepo babies, RFK Jr. is only almost great. While his campaign has the potential to channel inchoate populist energies to challenge the establishment, it is also freighted with his long record of promoting elite paranoia about vaccines and the environment. Now that he is running for president, he sometimes appears eager to gloss over his decades of advocacy in these areas. The media and Big Tech seem eager to oblige—by censoring him. This is a mistake.

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