Opinions #04/24

Opinions #04 / 24
Third Wheel

In American presidential elections there is a strict rule: a third candidate who belongs to a minority party or is completely independent is destined not to win. But he almost always contributes to the loss of someone else. This has happened several times even in the last thirty years.

In 1992, billionaire Ross Perot intervened between Republican Party strongman George, Bush Sr. and a young Arkansas lion named Bill Clinton. Perot got just under twenty percent
vote, taking it away mainly from Bush, who had just victoriously concluded the Cold War and the very hot war against Saddam Hussein. Clinton won.

Eight years later, it was the Democrats who suffered the consequences of the green “third wheel”. Party leader Ralph Nader, with less than 3% of the vote, stole the victory from Al Gore. Bush Jr. won then, by a decisive margin of just 537 votes in then-governed Florida from his brother Jeb.

And environmentalists also contributed to another painful defeat on the Democratic side. In the 2016 contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Harvard graduate doctor Jill Stein who became leader of Greens, entered the race. She received 1% of the votes. Clinton received three million more votes than Trump. There is still a widespread belief among Democrats that the “residues” obtained by Stein would allow the former first lady and ex secretary of state to prevail over the tycoon.

And here is today’s day. Angry Republican candidate Trump and stubborn Democratic candidate Biden are separated in the polls by no more than 2-3 percentage points. There are at least three independent candidates between them. But only one is truly competitive, Robert Francis Kennedy Jr: a lifelong Democrat, environmentalist, and sworn enemy of agri-food multinationals, as well as BigPharma. Having been in the crosshairs of his supporting party because of his anti-vaccination stances in the pre-Covid era, he is now running as independent. Until a few weeks ago, he was ignored by the mainstream media, and now he is considered an uncomfortable competitor for both Biden and Trump.

Polls show him rising, and with higher approval ratings than the two official candidates (Gallup, Institute, January 9: RFK 52%, Trump 42%, Biden 41%). Under a different electoral system, where the one with the most votes wins, John F. Kennedy’s nephew would have been considered the man to beat. But to run in the US presidential election, the rules require collecting a large number of signatures in all fifty states, setting up door-to-door campaigning teams in advance, etc. Millions of dollars are not easy to find, but RFK Jr. finds them among big donors and lots of $5 or $10 donations.

The reasons for this success? Kennedy’s name, the charm of a lawyer winning class action lawsuits, a simultaneously repressive and humane approach to illegal immigration, a condemnation of the violent turn of American society, and a focus on the middle class that never recovered from the 2008 mortgage crisis. All the components of the “national discourse” that has always been prioritized in the USA.

But Kennedy Jr. immediately wanted to combine these elements with a different foreign policy. It’s usually a minor topic, but with the ongoing wars, it seems to be blowing in his sails. And amazingly, the election “manifesto” has remained the same since he decided to enter the battlefield in April. RFK Jr. stated it again last Saturday, and reading it provides some interesting food for thought.


“The war in Ukraine should never have happened, and it’s time to understand the complex web that surrounds it.

‘The backstory’. Russia has tried several times to resolve this conflict by demanding one fundamental thing: no NATO presence in Ukraine. The big military contractors, however, had other plans. New countries joining NATO meant a guaranteed market for companies such as Northrop, Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Lockheed.

‘Financial costs’. As of March 2022, we have committed a staggering $113 billion dollars to the war in Ukraine. That would be enough to provide shelter for nearly every homeless person in our country. But it doesn’t end here. Two months ago, another 24 billion was allocated, and now President Biden is asking for 60 billion more.

‘Money trail’. The truth is, the funds will not go to Ukraine, but to American defense manufacturers. Calling them ‘loans’ would impose extreme austerity measures on Ukraine, including the sale of state assets, particularly valuable agricultural land, to multinational corporations.

‘Land grabbing’. The agricultural land of Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, is one of the main targets: 30% has already been sold to DuPont, Cargill, and Monsanto, all BlackRock-owned companies.

Renovation contract’. In December, President Biden contracted to rebuild Ukraine, and yes, you guessed it: BlackRock has secured that deal.”

Senior correspondant

Alessandro Cassieri