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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.Children's Health Defense / screenshot

BOSTON (LifeSiteNews) — Presidential nephew and medical freedom leader Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Wednesday he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, in a long-shot bid that challenges the orthodoxies of both parties with a pledge to “end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism on our country.”

Kennedy, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and son of the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy, is a longtime environmental activist and medical freedom leader, as well as founder of the group Children’s Health Defense, which gained prominence in recent years due to the ongoing controversy of the COVID-19 vaccines. The announcement follows Kennedy registering with the Federal Elections Commission to run on April 5.

“My whole family, including myself, have long personal relationships with President Biden,” Kennedy told a crowd at his announcement at Park Plaza Hotel in Massachusetts. “And they are entitled to their beliefs, and I respect their opinions — and I love them back. Is it too much to hope that we could have the same thing for our country? We have a polarization in our country today that is so toxic, so dangerous, than at any time since the Civil War.”

On his campaign website, Kennedy pledges to “make government transparent,” protect whistleblowers, “rein in the lobbyists and slam shut the revolving door that shunts people from government agencies to lucrative positions in the companies they were supposed to regulate,” get “money out of politics,” “heal the divide between Left and Right,” “repai[r] the damage caused by centuries of bigotry” through a “program of Targeted Community Repair” based on “not guilt for the sins of one’s ancestors, but rather compassion,” “incentive the transition of industry to zero-waste cycles and clean energy sources,” “rebuild the industrial infrastructure” and “support labor in reclaiming its fair share of American prosperity,” end U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts, “dismantle the censorship-industrial complex,” “transition prisons away from a punishment paradigm to a rehabilitation paradigm,” “transform the police” with retraining to emphasize “deescalation and mediation,” and more.

Kennedy’s vocal opposition to COVID vaccines, lockdowns, and mandates has made him an unlikely ally of many conservatives in recent years, though he has a history of far-left positions that may surprise his most recent fans.

In 2005, he suggested that Republican energy policies were to blame for Hurricane Katrina, and that oil was the true motivation for the wars to depose the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. In 2014, he declared that longtime GOP donors the Koch brothers should be “at the Hague with all the other war criminals” and said of those who deny anthropogenic global warming, “I wish there were a law you could punish them with.” He later denied believing “all” so-called “climate deniers” should be jailed, while adding that he did want state attorneys general to use their power to force corporations that take the same view out of business.

READ: RFK Jr. on the psychological warfare used during COVID and its impact on democracy

Kennedy is sufficiently out of step with the modern Democratic Party that he is not expected to pose a serious threat at winning the nomination, but a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released this week shows that 14% of Americans who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 would back Kennedy instead, suggesting he resonates with a disaffected minority of Democrats and could pose a serious problem for the party if he were to run as a third-party candidate in the 2024 general election.

Meanwhile, Biden insists he will run for a second term, although his underwater approval ratings and ongoing questions about his cognitive health continue to fuel speculation that Democrats will replace him with a younger candidate, such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article erroneously attributed to Kennedy survey answers from a different Democrat of the same name. We regret the error.