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Don’t be fooled: RFK Jr. is no conservative
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Don’t be fooled: RFK Jr. is no conservative

On economics, the environment, and expanding government generally, Kennedy is far more progressive than even Joe Biden.

A recent Quinnipiac University survey of registered voters revealed that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is now running for president as an independent, has amassed an astonishing amount of support. If Kennedy can maintain or even build upon that momentum prior to Election Day, his candidacy could prove to be a critical factor in the 2024 election.

According to Quinnipiac’s poll, in a hypothetical three-way race featuring Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Kennedy, RFK Jr. would receive 22% support, compared to 39% for Biden and 36% for former President Trump.

Most importantly, Quinnipiac found that Kennedy would take more voters away from Trump than he would from Biden, a remarkable scenario considering that Kennedy was officially running for the Democratic Party’s nomination until October.

Support for Kennedy from Republicans and conservative-leaning independents is due primarily to his outspoken criticism of COVID-19 mandates and vaccines, as well as his anti-establishment rhetoric and unique, libertarian-leaning views on issues such as drug possession.

Kennedy has, on occasion, railed against establishment politicians, Davos institutions, and the corruption of large corporations — all of which plays well with many conservative and libertarian voters.

“If you go down the checklist of all the things that my father believed in, Robert Kennedy, and my uncle, John Kennedy, believed in, I would check every one of those boxes,” RFK Jr. said.

But a careful review of Kennedy’s entire policy platform and many of his past statements shows clearly that although he certainly isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill establishment Democrat, he is hardly a friend of the conservative or libertarian movements. In fact, on many issues, Kennedy is far more progressive than Joe Biden.

The following is a brief summary of some of Kennedy’s most important anti-conservative policy positions, organized by topic.


Kennedy’s economic agenda is unquestionably aligned with left-wing values. RFK Jr. supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, one of Senator Bernie Sanders’ longtime policy objectives.

Kennedy also supports expanding the power of unions, increasing “regulatory scrutiny” on large businesses, and redirecting billions of dollars in military and defense spending toward social programs.

His website also promises to “break up ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks and monopolies, and when crisis strikes, bail out the homeowners, debtors, and small businesses instead” — a populist position but not a conservative policy.

Expanding government

Kennedy has repeatedly called for new government social programs, including many that are in line with the Democratic Party’s most socialistic wing.

For example, Kennedy proposes cutting interest rates for student loans to zero, effectively shifting many of the costs associated with college lending to taxpayers, and he has also called for a program to “expand free childcare to millions of families.”

He also wants to establish a government program that would limit mortgage rates for many families to 3%, which he plans to pay for by creating a gigantic new federal program financed by selling Treasury bills.

“You know, if you have a rich uncle who will co-sign your mortgage, you get a much better rate because the bank is basing your interest rate not on your lousy credit score but on your rich uncle’s high credit rating,” Kennedy explained in a September 2023 C-SPAN interview. “So I’m going to give everybody a rich uncle, which is Uncle Sam.”

Climate change

Kennedy, a former environmental lawyer and activist, has a long history of advocating for left-wing climate policies, many of which are included in his presidential campaign platform.

For example, Kennedy proposes using the federal government to “incentivize 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.”

He also wants to “protect wild lands from further development, by curbing mining, logging, oil drilling, and suburban sprawl,” a plan that would undoubtedly increase the cost of housing, electricity, gasoline, and, by extension, nearly all consumer goods.

Reason.com reports that in 2014, Kennedy authored an article for the far-left EcoWatch titled, “Jailing Climate Deniers,” in which he argued that organizations that dare even to suggest climate change is not a crisis should be “candidates for corporate death.” Kennedy went on to list a number of organizations that could be worthy of “death,” including public-policy think tanks like my employer, the Heartland Institute, as well as large oil and gas companies such as ExxonMobil.

Kennedy has elsewhere said critics of climate alarmism should be “prosecuted for reckless endangerment” and that many energy companies are guilty of “treason” and should be treated “as traitors.”


Regardless of where you stand on abortion, you’ll be disappointed by RFK Jr.’s record. At a campaign event in August, Kennedy told NBC he supported a 15-week federal abortion ban, a position that would be strongly divergent from most Democrats.

Shortly thereafter, however, Kennedy’s campaign issued a statement claiming, “Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion.”

That means within just 24 hours, it appears Kennedy went from promoting a 15-week abortion ban to supporting abortion rights up to the time a baby is born, a flip-flop almost unprecedented in scale.

Kennedy’s own words

It’s true that RFK Jr. has adopted conservative-aligned positions on limiting the government’s ability to spy on Americans, stopping the weaponization of federal agencies, and the COVID-19 lockdowns. But those and other right-leaning views do not overcome his numerous leftist policies, an assertion that Kennedy himself has firmly adopted.

During a September appearance on C-SPAN, Kennedy insisted his policies were completely in line with the Democratic Party and progressivism.

“If you go down the checklist of all the things that my father believed in, Robert Kennedy, and my uncle, John Kennedy, believed in, I would check every one of those boxes,” he said. “They, you know, [were] classic progressive, liberal Democratic candidates.”

I’m not sure I could put it any better myself.

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Justin Haskins

Justin Haskins

Justin Haskins is the director of the Socialism Research Center at the Heartland Institute and the co-author of the New York Times best-seller "Dark Future: Uncovering the Great Reset’s Terrifying Next Phase."
@JustinTHaskins →