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Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sees foul play in the primary system set up by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), writing an open letter to the party Wednesday on how it “has gone off track.”
In the letter, Kennedy accused the DNC of breaking party rules by working hand-in-hand with President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign. The presidential candidate, who is challenging Biden for the 2024 nomination, asked Chairman Jamie Harrison and members of the DNC to “lead by example” and hold a fair and “accessible” primary election.
“Unfortunately, in recent years our party leaders have succumbed to the siren of control,” Kennedy wrote. “They have compromised the defining democratic principle of one person, one vote through repeated interference in the primary elections. They have hijacked the party machinery and, in recent years, directed the power of censorship onto their political opponents, raising political victory onto the altar in place of honest democracy.”
Kennedy then slammed the DNC for setting up a primary election schedule that favors Biden by holding the first primary in South Carolina, where Biden performed well in 2020, and “casting out New Hampshire’s votes,” where the first Democratic primary is traditionally held and where Biden finished in fifth place in the 2020 presidential primary.
The Democrat also said his party is “limiting ballot access in Iowa” and creating a new system of superdelegates after the party voted in 2018 to strip power from superdelegates by preventing them from voting on the first round of ballots at the party convention. The new reforms to the Democratic Party’s nominating process were pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former DNC Chairman Tom Perez after Sanders lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016, largely due to superdelegates backing Clinton.
Kennedy added that the DNC is reverting to superdelegate control of the primary’s outcome, writing that the DNC is “deploying party operatives to water down the popular vote and ensure a controlled victory.”
Kennedy’s campaign manager, Dennis Kucinich, said last week that “it appears that the DNC has created a class of pledged delegates, called Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEOs), who are essentially the same as superdelegates, due to the amount of control the party exercises over elected officials.”
“This puts the DNC, once again, in the position of overturning the will of voters across the United States. It is unclear how overturning the nation’s majority vote could be interpreted as trusting the people,” added Kucinich, a former Democratic Representative from Ohio who ran for president in 2004 and 2008.
In the letter to the DNC, Kennedy also criticized the party for its refusal to hold any debates, even as Kennedy polled above 10% nationally and another Democratic candidate, Marianne Williamson, polled above 5%, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
“Equally disheartening is the DNC’s refusal to hold debates,” Kennedy wrote, adding that the DNC’s defense of pointing to “precedent” is “spurious” since “there has been no serious primary challenge to an incumbent in more than 40 years” other than then-sitting-Vice President Al Gore debating primary challengers in 2000.
“Voters deserve — and democracy requires — a competitive process by which to determine nominees. It should be a party’s voters who choose a candidate, not party insiders who anoint one,” Kennedy added.
Section 4 of the DNC’s charter dictates that the chairman of the party “shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns,” something the Kennedy campaign says the DNC is going against by “closely consulting” with Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chávez-Rodríguez.
“The DNC and the Joe Biden campaign have essentially merged into one unit, financially and strategically, despite the promise of neutrality in its charter and bylaws,” Kennedy said.
When asked by The Daily Wire if Kennedy would consider running as an independent if the DNC didn’t make some changes following the letter, Kucinich said, “The next move is up to the DNC.”
“Even though it is well known that the DNC IS the Biden campaign, and the Biden campaign IS the DNC, Mr. Kennedy made an open, conciliatory appeal, in the spirit of healing the divide, and rescuing the party from a colossal blunder,” he said. “The next move is up to the DNC/Biden campaign.”