The Modern Left view RFK Jr almost like Donald Trump

The Modern Left view RFK Jr almost like Donald Trump. By David Remnick in the New Yorker.

Kennedy’s habits of mind are MAGA-adjacent, but his manner differs from that of his Republican doppelgänger. Donald Trump is a bully — rude, swaggering, out to flatten his questioner under an avalanche of lies and volume.

Kennedy is not rude. Rather, he is serenely convinced of his virtue and his interlocutor’s pitiful susceptibility to conventional wisdom. The experience of interviewing him and listening to his previous interviews, I found, was like settling in for a long train ride with a seemingly amiable stranger in the next seat. You ask a straightforward question and, an hour later, as you race by Thirtieth Street Station, in Philadelphia, he is still going on about the fraud of COVID vaccines and how he was unfairly “deplatformed” for spouting conspiracy theories. By the time you’ve pulled into Wilmington, he might be talking about how drugs known as poppers helped cause the AIDS epidemic, or how “toxic chemicals” might contribute to “sexual dysphoria” in children. As you head south, he is talking about being “censored” by Instagram, the F.B.I., and the Biden White House. New technologies like 5G towers and digital currencies are totalitarian instruments that could “control our behavior.” Wi-Fi causes “leaky brain.” …

Kennedy has never run for public office, but, at sixty-nine years old, he says that he has “been involved in almost every Presidential election during the last sixty years.” He has had a career as a conservationist and, more recently, as a litigator, author, and public speaker. Recently, he appeared in videos stripped to the waist, doing pushups and straining at a bench press. The conspicuous display, it can be reasonably supposed, was intended to draw comparisons with the sitting President, whose greatest liability is his age. Kennedy is ripped, that is true, but, like Trump, he had no experience as an elected official before seeking the White House.

Among the obvious parallels between Kennedy and Trump is their disdain for “élites,” their suspicion of, in Trump’s words, the “deep state,” and their belief that traditional media and “cancel culture” threaten to silence them. With Kennedy, this is particularly curious. The Kennedys are the embodiment of dynastic power. Tens of thousands of books have been written about the family. It is impossible to imagine both the tragedy and the privilege Kennedy experienced as a child and adolescent. His uncle was murdered when he was nine. His father was murdered when he was fourteen. As a young man, he was kicked out of prep schools, got arrested for marijuana possession, was addicted to heroin, and still managed to graduate from Harvard. He now works as a lawyer, and his income last year was $7.8 million.

While Kennedy fashions himself as a warrior against the billionaire class, income inequality, and the corruption of institutions ranging from the intelligence agencies to the universities, he is a pure romantic about his own family. Camelot is his brand. As the polls appear to indicate, the Kennedy name still carries weight among Democratic voters. …

Interview questions and answers:

Tell me about your own sense of redemption. I think you’re probably referring to problems with addiction.

I was a heroin addict for fourteen years. I’m lucky to be alive. People have plenty of reason to write me off forever because of the way I conducted my life during that fourteen-year period. And, when I was at Riverkeeper, I made a point of hiring people who were felons, who were convicted, who had served their time in prison. And that divided the organization. I believe in redemption. I don’t think we can dismiss human beings, no matter what they did earlier on in their lives. Everybody gets another chance. And what Jesus said is, Not only do you give them seven chances, but you give them seven times seven chances. …

Now, we were talking about President Biden before. First, just a short yes or no answer: Did you vote for him in the last election?

Yes, I did. …

But why do you think Donald Trump admires you? Are you not suspicious of that?

You know what? My job is not to drive people apart. I think what you guys have decided that you’re going to do, in the press, is create this polarization and feed the anger and feed the hatred. And I don’t want to do that.

So polarization is a bad thing. I understand that. But you’re also critical—

You belong to a class of élite journalists who once were the guardians of the press and the protectors of American values and the American middle class, and you now consider those people to be deplorable.

RFK Jr. is is not part of the globalist left. Like Trump, he is a 1990s Democrat — old style principled left, before the Dems deplored the working class and adopted identity politics instead.