Robert F. Kennedy Jr. For POTUS? Why Conservatives Should Listen to His Message

April 28, 2023

Ask a Conservative today to pick one Democrat they respect or admire and there is a good chance they will say President John F. Kennedy. Now his nephew Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has announced he is running for POTUS, seeking the nomination to be the Democrat candidate. He is similar to his presidential uncle and his father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, in many ways; including high levels of charisma and the will to challenge those in power. Will he have the same crossover appeal?

Much to the chagrin of many Democrats, Joe Biden has announced he is once again running for President of the United States in 2024. Concerns about his health, his mental ability, his popularity, and his policies have caused some in the party to prefer viable primary challengers emerge to present alternatives to Biden’s known weaknesses.

Source: NBC News Poll conducted April 14-18 2023

You would think more Democrats would be thrilled the Kennedy name is back in the POTUS race under their banner. But if you survey the reactions from most of the mainstream and top Democrat news sources, they seem to have a general lack of enthusiasm. In fact, many seem bent on overlooking RFK Jr.’s positive attributes, his activism, and his long list of accomplishments and instead are hitting him with the derogatory “anti-vaxxer” label. It seems the Democrat establishment wants to poison the Kennedy well from the start.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (right), son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (middle), nephew to President John F. Kennedy (left)

Some may be doing this to actually protect Biden as the potential nominee (he is currently occupying the White House after all), but I suspect the negativity is more due to RFK Jr.’s antipathy to much of the power structure that has come to define the Democrat Party behind the scenes. Much of the rhetoric so far coming from the RFK Jr. Campaign has been geared towards giving power to the people, fighting corruption, reforming government, protecting rights, and promoting prosperity; this could be construed as pretty standard stuff for any politician, especially Democrats. But the difference with RFK Jr. just might be that he actually means it. If RFK Jr. is serious about what he says, then he is not truly one of them; and if he is not with them (and their powerful backers), then he is against them.

RFK Jr. 2024 Presidential Announcement Speech

The contemporary Democrat power base may currently be opposed to a RFK Jr. bid for the White House, but what about liberals in general? How about independents and even conservatives? RFK Jr. appears to be banking on coalition building as a strategy, attempting to find common ground on enemy identification and possible solutions alike. While RFK Jr. is staunchly Democrat in many ways, he does seem to have a wide appeal. The yearning many older liberals have for the (more sane) Democrat Party of JFK and RFK may make RFK Jr. appealing to those disillusioned by the current divisive identity politics crowd. Many independents and even conservatives recognize RFK Jr.’s sincere positions and efforts in opposition to the COVID tyranny and medical mandates of the last few years as well as his criticism of bloated and corrupt bureaucracy and big government. Would this be enough to get RFK Jr. support from these demographics?

The culture wars and political division have definitely fomented a lot of hate and stagnation in American society. The “us vs. them” mentality is probably as strong as it has been in decades. JFK himself remarked about the liberal/conservative divide on many occasions. Would he recognize the same divide today? How would he define the changes? Would he recognize his own party and come to the same conclusions? In his September 14, 1960 address upon accepting the Liberal Party nomination for President in New York, JFK remarked regarding the “liberal” label;

“…if by a “Liberal,” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties – someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say that I’m a “Liberal.”

Excerpt from JFk’s acceptance speech, nomination Liberal Party candidate for President, September 14, 1960
Example of the various memes from Left-leaning social media accounts created highlighting this JFK quote

I have been seeing this quote shared in memes from Democrat/Liberal/Progressive social media sources for years. These sites love to ride on the coattails of famous Democrat icons to justify their current agenda. The above quote is indeed part of his speech, but from the exact same speech is the following quote:

“I do not believe in a super state. I see no magic to tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale Federal bureaucracies in this administration, as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well.”

Excerpt from JFk’s acceptance speech (above) September 14, 1960

You could see someone today adding, “Well, if that makes me a Conservative, then I guess I’m a Conservative.”

Labels change over time. We must beware using old partial quotes that may not completely apply to new circumstances. The labels of “liberal” and “conservative” are ever-changing and were definitely dramatically different in 1960 when JFK gave this speech than they are today. “Classical liberalism,” a term used to describe the foundations of America and the philosophy of our Founders, is even different than the “liberalism” of JFK’s era (especially after the Progressive influence of the early 20th Century). But “first principles” do not change. Moral principles derived from reason that create one’s worldview and set the stage for recognition of fundamental human rights and a political system to secure them can be regarded as eternal in a sense. If one were to quote from the above JFK speech to make a reasoned judgement about the political preferences of the different ideological “sides” today compared to JFK’s core beliefs, I think the best quote would be:

“I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, and the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, this faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith, for liberalism is not so much a party creed or a set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of Justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.”

Excerpt from JFk’s acceptance speech (above) September 14, 1960

Both ideological “sides” today could claim this quote justifies their actions. One of the biggest errors people make today is assuming horrid motives of the other “side.” Some people may have horrid motives, but as groups we basically all want the same things. The main difference is in the preferred means (although I do believe there is a fundamental moral difference that influences people’s decisions too). And of course, motives may be pure but the outcome of acts done in their name certainly can be contrary to what is right and produce bad results as well.

To determine what policies and practices are right, we should look to see if our actions are in line with well-reasoned objective principles and to determine what policies and practices are wrong we should determine if they contradict them.

What would JFK think of today’s politics? Who knows for sure. When I first saw the above-mentioned meme referencing his speech back in 2018, I opined that JFK would probably still consider himself a “liberal” and be a Democrat if he were alive today but would be extremely disillusioned with the processes and structures of modern government. Now that we have an RFK Jr. candidacy, it seems fitting that he is reflecting just that image. JFK recognized and attempted to put into practices policies based on lots of good ideals. But he was also merely a man and was fallible. Nobody should attempt to fall back on a reputation in an attempt to remain above the fray and avoid justifying beliefs and actions. We must remember this when considering the proposals of RFK Jr.

In the above-mentioned speech JFK joked about his Republican opponents warning that America would likely survive the policies proposed by some of the more “liberal” Democrats, but the country might not be the same (in a bad way). Of course, JFK scoffed at such a prediction in 1960, but given hindsight perhaps the Republicans were justified in their alarmism. RFK Jr. has begun to rightly identify many problems that have been exacerbated by the growth of government JFK despised and the weakening of the virtues in individuals and communities he promoted. Will his proposed solutions make the same mistakes as past “liberal” politicians, or will they course-correct based on new revelation? Should Conservatives consider supporting RFK Jr. – at least in his quest for the Democrat nomination (relative to other Democrats)? Let’s explore.

RFK Jr.’s campaign website is already up and running. It contains some basic priority issues that may be of interest to Independents and Conservatives as well as his fellow Democrats. Below are quotes from the website regarding each priority issue followed by commentary for consideration from a Conservative/Independent point of view.

For the People – Honest Government

“A democratic government is supposed to be of, by, and for the people. But government institutions have betrayed our trust. The intelligence agencies spy on our own people. Government and tech platforms conspire to surveil and censor the public. Regulatory agencies have been captured by those they are supposed to regulate: Wall Street controls the SEC. Polluters and extractive industries dominate the EPA and BLM. Pharma controls the CDC, NIH, and FDA. Big Ag controls the USDA. Big Tech has captured the FTC. No wonder trust in government is at all-time lows. It’s time to earn it back.”
From his long experience and familiarity with systems of power, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. understands that most people in corporations and government are perfectly decent human beings. They play the game, but a lot of them are fed up with its phoniness, and cynical about the paralysis of the system. They feel trapped in it. Clean government isn’t just about removing corrupt individuals. It is about changing a system in which perfectly decent people become agents of corruption without even knowing it.
We are going to remake public institutions to serve the public. We will roll back the secrecy and make government transparent. We will protect whistleblowers and prosecute officials who abuse the public trust. We will rein in the lobbyists and slam shut the revolving door that shunts people from government agencies to lucrative positions in the companies they were supposed to regulate, and back again. We will get money out of politics. We will open our institutions to real citizen involvement. We will restore integrity to government.”

Criticizing the bloated bureaucracy will certainly get the attention of Conservatives. RFK Jr. hit the nail on the head with his criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the undue influence of the NIH, the health bureaucracy, and industry in his book The Real Anthony Fauci – Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. He certainly understands an inherent flaw in the system that has been created.

RFK Jr.’s book The Real Anthony Fauci – Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health is so important I ordered extras to give as gifts that year

But to truly win over Conservatives he must also acknowledge that the problem is not just a matter of making the system work better, but also partially the existence of much of the bloated system itself. As a Democrat he has a built-in respect and trust in government as part of the solution to practical problems we face. But Conservatives understand the point of limited Constitutional government and Federalism is to ensure only appropriate functions are conducted and at the proper level of government so that We the People can handle the rest. This helps ensure government does not become part of the problem – as it has become and as RFK jr. rightly recognizes. But Conservatives rightly identify Democrats and their Progressive influences as a major source of this unconstitutional growth, so getting them to trust a Democrat that is saying some of the right things but is also supportive of the system is a challenge. Of course, not all of the executive agencies at the federal level are pointless or bad, and they do need to function properly insofar as their existence is warranted. Somewhere in the middle is a practical compromise between trying to limit government and also working to ensure that which already exists is functioning properly. People like RFK Jr. definitely have a place in the discussion of how to get to this point. Will the average Conservative and the average Democrat recognize the value of his message even though he does not quite go “all in” on either of the standard approaches to dealing with the problem? That remains to be seen. But in the meantime RFK Jr. has a winning message with his criticism of the government handling of the lockdowns and COVID response as well as criticism of government spying and the growing influence of the agencies over the lives of the people.

Heal the Divide – Reconciliation

“America is more polarized and divided now than at any time in living memory. Both sides seem to agree that the basic problem is the horrible people on the other side. Both sides are wrong. The basic problem is the division itself. A divided public lacks the strength to resist exploitation or to overcome the inertia of the status quo. The classic American can-do spirit exhausts itself in endless battles. So let’s heal the divide.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has clear positions on most of today’s divisive trigger issues like abortion, guns, and immigration, but he knows that both sides have legitimate concerns and legitimate moral positions. No one is deplorable. Furthermore, most of the disagreements obscure deeper shared values. Everyone wants their children to be safe. Few relish the thought of dead fetuses, nor do they want to force women to have unwanted babies. Everyone wants safe streets, yet few wish for millions of people to languish in prison. Robert F. Kennedy will draw on the broad moral agreements beneath our divisions. He will model careful listening, and create conditions where each group can hear the stories of the other. He will lead the way toward national reconciliation, respectful dialog, and willingness to change, to grow, and to forgive.
In the case of race relations, reconciliation includes repairing the damage caused by centuries of bigotry. Our administration will take racial healing seriously through a program of Targeted Community Repair. Our operating principle is not guilt for the sins of one’s ancestors, but rather compassion. We will invoke the authentic desire in all Americans, white and black, liberal and conservative, to improve the condition of our Black and Native brothers and sisters.
These commitments to respect and unity start right now, in the campaign. In Kennedy’s own words, “Every nation, like every individual, has a darker side and a lighter side. The easiest thing for a politician to do is to appeal to our greed, to our anger, to our fear, to our xenophobia, our bigotry, all of the alchemies of tribalism. I will appeal instead to our generosity as a people, our goodness, our kindness, and our courage.””

I have been following RFK Jr.’s work and listening to him speak for years now and I do believe he means well and seeks to find the good in people. When most politicians spout this type of rhetoric, I usually am very skeptical of their sincerity. As a former Democrat myself, I do not think of most current Democrats as inherently evil, and I understand the reasoning that forms the basis of their positions. I no longer agree with these positions and I think some of them are misguided, immoral, and harmful, but the people that espouse them are (mostly) good at heart. Bad people take advantage of their ignorance and good nature. The same can be said of manipulation of Conservatives by vested interests and the media. And some of them are the same people, playing both sides like puppermasters play with marionettes. I have written frequently about the importance of identifying “first principles” and acting from an objectively moral perspective. This is what we must do and I think it is what RFK Jr. is touching on here. We do not need to agree on everything as Americans; we just need to recognize and bolster the American spirit and the American ideals that keep us unified at the most basic level – respect for the equality and rights of others, limit coercion, maximize tolerance, promote dialogue, etc. This is how we move forward with practical solutions to our challenges that do not cause division or more problems in themselves. Some Conservatives will never go for a politician that takes certain stances, especially on social issues, because supporting them in any way might violate their principles or test their conscience. That is understandable. I have voted third party myself in some elections for such reasons. But in a primary, for instance, helping a candidate that is clearly an improvement over an incumbent on many key issues can certainly be beneficial to moving the discussion in a positive direction overall and may pay dividends later.

Clean it Up – Environment

“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was instrumental in transforming the Hudson from a dead river to one of America’s cleanest today. He did it by uniting liberal environmentalists with conservative rod-and-gun folks who shared a desire for a clean, healthy environment. As President, he will bring the same commitment and coalition-building to address the most pressing environmental problems in America and beyond.
Recent years have seen one environmental disaster after another: floods and droughts, fires, and toxic spills. Our soils are depleted, the weather is wacky, trees are dying, and the water in many places is toxic. Chronic disease is at an all-time high. We’re going to address these problems at their root causes. First, we will shift agricultural subsidies so as to encourage regenerative practices. Today, a new generation of farmers and ranchers is building soil, replenishing groundwater, and detoxifying land, all while producing just as much food as conventional farmers and earning a decent livelihood.
Secondly, we will incentive the transition of industry to zero-waste cycles and clean energy sources, and forge agreements with other countries to implement these policies throughout the global supply chain. These first two policies will vastly reduce the toxic waste, industrial poisons, and pesticides that make people and ecosystems sick.
Finally, we will protect wild lands from further development, by curbing mining, logging, oil drilling, and suburban sprawl. We will become a global advocate for rainforest preservation and marine restoration. We will rethink development policies that promised economic growth while ignoring ecological sustainability, and ended up delivering neither.”

If there is one issue RFK Jr. is really tied to it is environmental protection. Liberals loved him when this was his primary focus as a lawyer and activist. The problems he saw with the intersection of dirty industry, government corruption, and environmental degradation follow a similar pattern in other areas as well – such as pharmaceuticals, government health agencies, and children’s health – and he has had the integrity to remain consistently critical. Many of his fellow liberal Democrats have not, hence the persistent and prominent “anti-vaxxer” label these days. Conservatives might take the opposite perspective, praising him for criticizing the latter, but rejecting his proposed solutions to addressing the former. The difference of course is in the use of coercion and the consideration of opportunity costs/other priorities. It would be a mistake to simply say “Conservatives do not care about the environment.” Of course they do – they live here too. The government coercion and industry corruption seen regarding the issue of vaccine mandates/lockdowns/economic shutdowns directly infringes upon natural rights of the people and disrupts the free flow of interaction in society and the economy. The same level of coercion and corruption in industry regarding protection of polluters essentially disrupts the proper free flow of interaction and demand from the populace that might better address the environmental protections and sustainability problems we face. So the nature of the corruption is different and our approach to handling the perpetrators of the unjust coercion and rights violations must be different. No Conservative is going to lose sleep over the legitimate prosecution of polluters, and RFK Jr. has done good work in holding such entities accountable. He and his organizations have helped clean up messes we have made of the environment all around the country. Nor is the average Conservative interested in protecting any specific industry that would otherwise be outdone by competitors in a free market. What Conservatives worry about, and what RFK Jr. must understand given his history of opposition to certain projects and industries, is the misuse of government to hinder or punish NEEDED resources, materials, projects, and technologies because of the current absence of viable alternatives. Promoting positive development and instituing rational and fair regulation is one thing, actively hindering necessary industry and projects without proper consideration of the costs is another.

Documentary on the 30-year clean up of the Hudson River, featuring Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper Foundation

Turn it Around – Revitalization

“The time has come to reverse America’s economic decline, decades in the making. Our country faces a widening wealth gap (the most unequal since the 1920s), rampant debt, decaying infrastructure, and a hollowed-out industrial base. Every night, tens of millions of American children go to bed hungry. Millions of Americans must choose between food and medicine; millions more are living on the edge, just a single car repair away from disaster. And these problems are even worse for Black, Native, and other minority populations.
Government assistance to the nation’s most vulnerable is a high priority, but even more important is to reverse the policies that have led to such poverty in the first place. We will rebuild the industrial infrastructure, ruined by forty years of off-shoring and misguided “free trade” schemes. We will enact policies that favor small and medium businesses, which are the nation’s real job creators and the dynamos of American enterprise. We will support labor in reclaiming its fair share of American prosperity. We will break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and monopolies, and when crisis strikes, bail out the homeowners, debtors, and small business owners instead.
Global developments, particularly the end of the US dollar’s status as the world’s unchallenged reserve currency, portend turbulent economic conditions ahead. Yet at the same time, we know that America is fundamentally a wealthy nation, blessed with vast lands, rich resources, and a creative population. That is the vitality we will tap into to turn this country around.
Another key aspect of American revitalization is our healthcare system, which consumes nearly one-fifth of GDP. It isn’t just a matter of shifting the burden of who pays. The problem is much deeper. Healthcare spending per capita has increased twelve-fold since 1960. Are we twelve times healthier? Quite the contrary: We face today a terrible pandemic—not of Covid, but of chronic disease. Autoimmunity, allergies, diabetes, obesity, addiction, anxiety, and depression afflict two-thirds of the population, up from a few percent in our grandparents’ time. A Kennedy administration will go beyond making existing modalities available to all, to include low-cost alternative and holistic therapies that have been marginalized in a pharma-dominated system. We will move from a sick care system to a wellness society.”

This point reflects the Democrat top-down government mentality more so than any of the other points so far on his website. Other than identifying key economic challenges our nation faces, there is little here that will specifically appeal to Conservatives that see more government involvement as a problem in itself, not just a mismanaged solution. There does appear to be a bit of a populist and nationalist bend to the rhetoric which may appeal to some Independents and has the potential to cross over into Conservative territory. Of all the “priorities” listed on his website so far, this one probably covers the most topics and is extremely general in nature – understandable at this point in the campaign. These issues will test his ability to build coalitions and offer unique solutions more so than any other of his priorities so far. The advantage he may enjoy is his “outsider” status (contemporary poltics anyaway). He can effectively blame polticians like Joe Biden for creating the problem while falling back on his family name recognition as an authoritative alternative within the same ideology.

Bring it Home – Peace

“”In the long term, a nation’s strength does not come from its armies. America spends as much on weaponry as the next nine nations combined, yet the country has grown weaker, not stronger, over the last 30 years. Even as its military technology has reigned supreme, America has been hollowing out from the inside. We cannot be a strong or secure nation when our infrastructure, industry, society, and economy are infirm.
A high priority of a Kennedy administration will be to make America strong again. When a body is sick, it withdraws its energy from the extremities in order to nourish the vital organs. It is time to end the imperial project and attend to all that has been neglected: the crumbling cities, the antiquated railways, the failing water systems, the decaying infrastructure, the ailing economy. Annual defense-related spending is close to one trillion dollars. We maintain 800 military bases around the world. The peace dividend that was supposed to come after the Berlin Wall fell was never redeemed. Now we have another chance.
As President, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will start the process of unwinding empire. We will bring the troops home. We will stop racking up unpayable debt to fight one war after another. The military will return to its proper role of defending our country. We will end the proxy wars, bombing campaigns, covert operations, coups, paramilitaries, and everything else that has become so normal most people don’t know it’s happening. But it is happening, a constant drain on our strength. It’s time to come home and restore this country.
In Ukraine, the most important priority is to end the suffering of the Ukrainian people, victims of a brutal Russian invasion, and also victims of American geopolitical machinations going back at least to 2014. We must first get clear: Is our mission to help the brave Ukrainians defend their sovereignty? Or is it to use Ukraine as a pawn to weaken Russia? Robert F. Kennedy will choose the first. He will find a diplomatic solution that brings peace to Ukraine and brings our resources back where they belong. We will offer to withdraw our troops and nuclear-capable missiles from Russia’s borders. Russia will withdraw its troops from Ukraine and guarantee its freedom and independence. UN peacekeepers will guarantee peace to the Russian-speaking eastern regions. We will put an end to this war. We will put an end to the suffering of the Ukranian people. That will be the start of a broader program of demilitarization of all countries.
We have to stop seeing the world in terms of enemies and adversaries. As John Quincy Adams wrote, “Americans go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Robert F. Kennedy will revive a lost thread of American foreign policy thinking, the one championed by his uncle, John F. Kennedy who, over his 1000 days in office, had become a firm anti-imperialist. He wanted to exit Vietnam. He defied the Joint Chiefs of Staff and refused to bomb Cuba, thus saving us from nuclear Armageddon. He wanted to reverse the imperialistic policies of Truman and Eisenhower, rein in the CIA, and support freedom movements around the world. He wanted to revive Roosevelt’s impulse to dissolve the British empire rather than take it over.
John F. Kennedy’s vision was tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet. But now we have another chance. The country is ailing, yes, but underneath there is vitality still. America is a land rich in resources, creativity, and intelligence. We just need to get serious about healing our society, to become strong again from the inside.
America was once an inspiration to the world, a beacon of freedom and democracy. Our priority will be nothing less than to restore our moral leadership. We will lead by example. When a warlike imperial nation disarms of its own accord, it sets a template for peace everywhere. It is not too late for us to voluntarily let go of empire and serve peace instead, as a strong and healthy nation.”

This is probably RFK Jr.’s strongest point and that which is most likely to unite the Left and Right in our current times if done properly. The anti-war Left seemed to have died away after George W. Bush’s term ended even though the exact same activity continued. Later, President Trump – to his credit – did not begin any new conflicts during his term and criticized much of the same activity as RFK Jr. is criticizing here. Somehow the anti-war crowd became supporters and defenders of the most vile of foreign interventions while criticizing those that oppose it. Honest Democrats and Republicans both know America’s foreign policy has become a danger but when the television starts partisan bandwagoning and the blame game, People tend to take sides. Someone like RFK Jr. may be able to finally push them both past the partisan “which party is in office” support/opposition loop. This in many ways is his family legacy given the rumors/conspiracy as to why President Kennedy was killed (widely believed whether true or not). RFK Jr.’s message strength and resonance here will depend on how bad the Ukraine War gets for Ukraine or if it escalates beyond the current level of conflict. The warmonger crowd is skilled at minimizing negative messaging about foreign affairs so long as events do not directly impact the American domestic audience. If things take a turn for the worse and the American public are forced to care again, RFK Jr. will be able to very justifiably criticize and differentiate himself from Biden and his like-minded Democrat contemporaries in power. Conservatives may not like to hear about freezes or reverses in military spending or size, but they are often open to refocusing on domestic affairs, defensive action, and ending foreign wars. While the military industrial complex may be able to successfully paint the average “anti-war” Democrat as a weakling or a naive peacenik, the same tactic may not work on the more eloquent Kennedy, as he has the family reputation and the smarts to counter such claims and even reverse them upon the accusers.

Restore Our Rights – Civil Liberties

“Our administration will make it a top priority to protect and restore the fundamental civil liberties, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, that hold the essence of what America can be. These liberties have endured constant assault for over twenty years, starting with the Bush/Cheney War on Terror, and accelerating in the era of Covid lockdowns.
Freedom of speech is the capstone of all other rights and freedoms. Once a government has the power to silence its opponents, no other right is safe. We will therefore dismantle the censorship-industrial complex, in which Big Tech censors, deplatforms, shadowbans, and algorithmically suppresses any person or opinion the government asks them to. We will respect the right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, by ending mass surveillance of American citizens and the abuse of civil asset forfeiture. We will make sure that the Covid-era suspension of the right to assembly, trial by jury, and freedom of worship will never happen again. The same for the right to property. During Covid, 3.4 million business were forced to close. Many of them, including 60% of Black-owned businesses, will never reopen.
A Kennedy administration will respect American citizens and stop treating them like suspects and schoolchildren. We will stop manipulating the public with propaganda and targeted leaks. We will never weaponize the law against political opponents, nor hold our own officials above the law. We will return the intelligence agencies to their proper role as protectors not violators of liberty.
We will also take special care to ensure the civil liberties of minorities and the poor. We will end the failed War on Drugs and grant amnesty to nonviolent drug offenders. We will shut the school-to-prison pipeline, and transition prisons away from a punishment paradigm to a rehabilitation paradigm. Prisons will be an intervention in a life gone wrong, and a way to prevent offenders from harming others again.
Instead of defunding the police, we will transform the police. We will incentivize them to prevent violence, not make unnecessary arrests. We will train them in deescalation and mediation skills and partner them with neighborhood organizations. No longer will their relationship to the public be adversarial. They will focus their attention on serious crimes, not harassing ordinary people.”

This priority is essentially an extension of some of the points made under the first priority listed (For the people – honest government). RFK Jr. was heavily censored on social media during the COVID era which I detailed in part in this article. He has demonstrated he understands the danger such censorship poses to our system and has shown he has the courage and tenacity to actually fight back against it. Conservatives can relate to the feelings associated with being a victim of such high tech authoritarian punishment. The bias against conservative and traditional belief and ideology in some of the largest companies is widespread. It is a true threat to honest discussion and democratic choice. Also important to note in this section is the connection to long-abused government power. We must remember that the fundamental rights we have are inherent and the Bill of Rights (for instance) simply exists as a way to guarantee they will be secure from infringement. Conservatives do not tolerate a government violating them even in pursuit of supposed positive ends, and we must not allow for the mere outsourcing of such violations to closely connected private entities either. Civil rights, and official policy must be consistent with (and not a contradiction of) objectively-derived fundamental rights. RFK Jr. appears to have identified the appropriate path towards reforming policing that does not sacrifice their ability to achieve their primary objectives while also seeking ways to make them more efficient and less likely to abuse power.

Something to think about

President Kennedy and his brother were both assassinated; possibly because of their political positions and challenges to powerful interests in Washington DC and beyond. Ironically, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was also running an unorthodox campaign for POTUS against a Democrat incumbent (Johnson) when he was killed. Now his son is doing the same. He is certainly shaking things up already, as polls show him at around 19% support early on. Should Conservatives support him? I think they should listen. He is a valuable voice that competently addresses many issues modern Conservatives care about. He also puts in the effort to listen to Conservatives and frequently appears on Conservative-oriented media. Conservatives ought to at least reciprocate. The good thing about primaries is they allow people to show support for those that they may ultimately choose not to support in the general election. Will the average Conservative ultimately choose a triumphant Kennedy over Trump or DeSantis if they are the eventual nominee? Perhaps not. But if Kennedy is given support in the primary and was somehow able to best Biden and the rest of the Democrat field (a long shot) it would be a much better match up for the country than the prospect of another potential Biden term (or a similarly bad candidate). So supporting Kennedy through the primaries is at least a “hedging one’s bet” strategy. It also can help him get good messages out and may also weaken a candidate like Biden in the general election. There is also the possibility RFK Jr. could be convinced to run as an Independent if he is snubbed for the Democrat nomination or denied a spot on the ticket. That would almost certainly take votes away from the Democrat and help the Republican nominee. With such a long time before the campaigns even start getting serious, we at least have the opportunity to look into RFK Jr.’s candidacy and his positions a little deeper. Conservatives have nothing to lose by doing so. But listening may build stronger coalitions to oppose our common enemies and advance the actual “liberal” intent of fostering liberty and justice in the human heart and mind that does have inherent value for everyone when manifested in proper policy. That is the true Kennedy family legacy from JFK to RFK Jr.

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