Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s Viva Kennedy 24 campaign: A bid for Latino votes amid controversy

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Mar 22, 2024 at 01:06 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

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It’s that time again. Welcome to another edition of our 2024 presidential elections weekly recaps, where we delve into the latest developments shaping the US political landscape. Today, we’re unravelling the intricacies surrounding independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s ambitious outreach efforts aimed at Hispanic voters, reminiscent of his uncle JFK’s historic ‘Viva Kennedy’ campaign—a blueprint credited with shaping the contemporary Latino vote.

Kennedy’s endeavour to engage Hispanic voters comes at a pivotal moment in American politics. With his eye on the presidency, Kennedy seeks to leverage his family’s storied legacy to mobilise Latino voters across the nation. Partnering with figures like former Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Kennedy aims to tap into the rich tapestry of Latino communities, particularly in key battleground states like Georgia and Arizona.

Rob Lucero, who’s currently directing ‘Viva Kennedy’, during an interview for Axios, explained that the campaign will register voters under RFK’s We the People Party, launch Spanish-language ads, and establish clubs nationwide, mirroring JFK’s approach.

However, Kennedy’s selection of special guests is a notable departure from the typical outreach event. Remember Villanueva? The first Spanish-speaking sheriff elected to the position in over a century? Well, the ex- sheriff’s tenure was marked by scandals and clashes with elected officials and his affinity for conservative pundits like Tucker Carlson, along with his adoption of Republican rhetoric, earned him favour among right-wing circles.

As for Kennedy himself, he’s had his hands full with controversies too. When he started catching flak for spreading anti-vaccine conspiracy theories during the pandemic—a period that disproportionately affected people of colour in the US, including Latinos—it was clear he wasn’t one to shy away from the limelight.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, launched her own outreach initiative, Latinos con Biden-Harris (Spanish for “Latinos with Biden-Harris”. Focused on highlighting Biden’s record and contrasting it with Trump’s policies, the effort underscores the intense competition for Latino support in the upcoming election.

As the nation braces for another historic election cycle, all eyes are on the Latino electorate, poised to play a decisive role in shaping the future of American politics. With competing narratives and divergent strategies at play, the battle for Latino support promises to be one of the defining features of the 2024 presidential race.

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