RFK Jr.’s VP selection espouses similar ‘anti-establishment’ views

With the election coming into view, the potential spoiler has recruited another affluent insider to spearhead what he’s calling a “We The People” party.

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced his vice-presidential pick: Nicole Shanahan, a philanthropist, lawyer and member of the Silicon Valley elite. 

While speculation surrounding RFK Jr.’s selection included notable names like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Minnesota governor and wrestling star Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Kennedy has opted for a much more subtle choice. 

Shanahan announced her candidacy alongside RFK Jr. at an event in her native Oakland. At the rally, Kennedy proclaimed that their ticket would be “a spoiler." 

He called his campaign “a spoiler for President Biden and for President Trump. It's a spoiler for the war machine” as well as “Big Ag and Big Pharma.” The American people are sick of the “two tired heads of the uniparty,” he added.

“Nicole and I are going to give those millions another choice.”

The scion of America’s most infamous political dynasty could be receiving a financial boost by bringing on Shanahan. The one-time patent lawyer recently ended her marriage with Google cofounder Sergey Brin and received an undisclosed amount of money during their marriage settlement — though she initially sought upwards of $1 billion in equitable distributions. Shanhan has already allocated $4 million in campaign donations to a Kennedy super PAC. 

Shanahan, who identifies as a “progressive through and through,” has used her wealth and influence to become an active donor in American politics. Per Politico, she “co-hosted a fundraiser for Buttigieg” as well as aiding “Marianne Williamson’s long-shot 2020 bid” and provided “$25,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in 2020.” 

But in an interview published by Newsweek yesterday, Shanahan declared that she is no longer a Democrat. 

"My plan is to leave the party, and I don't take that lightly," Shanahan said."I always thought Democrats were the party of compassion and the working class, and that incremental assistance could change people's lives."

But Shanahan’s interview, along with her vice-presidential pronouncement, revealed some of the logic of her selection: Much of her rhetoric — alongside those who participated in the Oakland rally — was colored with anti-vax sentiments. 

In the aforementioned Newsweek interview, Shanahan — who attributes her son’s autism to “environmental toxins" — said she would not describe RFK Jr.’s perspective as “an anti-vaxxer.” Rather, the presidential hopeful was “just someone who takes vaccine injuries seriously."

Additionally, Kennedy and Shanahan were flanked by a throng of anti-vax activists and cranks at the rally. According to Wired, key members of the entourage included “Del Bigtree, a well-known anti-vaccine activist now serving as the Kennedy campaign’s communications director; Kelly Ryerson, a natural health influencer who calls herself Glyphosate Girl; Jay Battacharya, a prominent anti-lockdown figure; former Border Patrol agent Chris Clem, who often appears in the press to promote border walls.” 

The utility of the ticket seems unclear: Surveys have Kennedy barely securing a double-digit percentage of the vote. And while Democrats have expressed concern that the wayward son could cost their parties votes, polling data suggests that RFK Jr.’s ambitions could potentially disrupt things for both Joe Biden and Donald Trump depending on how Election Day plays out.

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Jamie Larson