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RFK Jr Challenges Trump To Debate At Libertarian Convention

RFK Jr Challenges Trump To Debate At Libertarian Convention

Hoping to exploit their overlapping appearance commitments, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr on Tuesday challenged Donald Trump to a debate at the Libertarian Party’s national convention this month, saying it represents “perfect neutral territory.” 

Playing to Trump’s ego, Kennedy’s invitation started off with an expression of gratitude to the former president for spotlighting major media’s “rigged polling” against Trump.  “We have this concern too,” said Kennedy in a lengthy post on X, saying Democrat-aligned pollsters use deceptive methods that result in them “pretending” Kennedy is languishing in the single digits. 

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Kennedy then shared the results of his campaign’s own taking of America’s electoral pulse: 

This is why we did our own poll with Zogby — the largest and most accurate poll of this election cycle. We had Zogby ask about head-to-head matchups. (1) You versus President Biden. (2) Me versus President Biden. (3) Me versus you. The results? You beat President Biden handily. I crush him as well, by even more. And against each other, I beat you in a nail-biter.

In a three-way, you are ahead but I’m coming up strong. Two new polls (CNN and Quinnipiac) have me above the 15% debate threshold. Another (Activote) has me at 26% among young voters. And you and I are tied among America’s 70 million Independents.

It wasn’t all flattery: Kennedy also slid in a shot at Trump’s policies, saying many of the former president’s supporters are backing Kennedy this time, saying they’re “upset that you blew up the deficit, shut down their businesses during Covid, and filled your administration with swamp creatures.”

Citing a previous Trump statement that he’d be open to sparring with Kennedy if his poll numbers were decent, Kennedy said he meets that threshold, saying “I’m the only presidential candidate in history who has polled ahead of both major party candidates in head-to-head races.” 

While the Libertarian Party has not yet issued a statement, Kennedy said he checked with party leadership and said “they are game” for a showdown. For now, Kennedy is scheduled to speak on Friday, May 24; Trump, on Saturday, May 25. 

Meanwhile, Libertarian Party activist, podcaster and comedian Dave Smith — who’d been regarded by many as an ideal 2024 flag-bearer before he opted against running — offered to dive in on the action: 

The party’s announcement last week that Trump would appear at the convention spawned a debate among party faithful that’s still simmering on social media. Some think his appearance will bring welcome publicity to the Libertarian Party, and demonstrate the party’s eagerness to engage in discourse with those they aren’t aligned with. Some of the more conspiracy-minded opponents say the move manifests a scheme to throw the election to Trump. 

Earlier this year, Kennedy had considered pursuing the Libertarian Party nomination — and tapping its turnkey, 50-state ballot access — before announcing he’d remain an independent. He’s been gradually announcing his qualification on various state ballots; recently, the list has grown to include California, and the battleground state of Michigan

Wary of his wild card role in what’s shaping up as a tight race, both the Republican and Democratic parties have been taking shots at Kennedy in recent weeks, and Democrats have assembled a lawfare machine to thwart his ballot access.  

Speaking to the press last week, Kennedy challenged Biden to take a “No Spoiler Pledge.” The far-fetched yet entertaining idea: Biden and Kennedy would sponsor a mid-October poll, and Biden would drop out if he did worse than RFK Jr in a head-to-head scenario. He said that, unlike Biden, Trump “is not a spoiler because he actually can win.” 


Wed, 05/08/2024 – 19:35

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