He nonetheless bears the title of the US Democratic Social gathering’s most well-known and revered household. However that hasn’t stopped the Democratic elites and liberal media from relentlessly attacking Robert F Kennedy Jr.

Since RFK Jr – son of Robert F Kennedy and nephew of President John F Kennedy – introduced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in April, he has principally been attacked for his anti-vaccine views, together with his perception within the long-discredited concept that the MMR vaccine causes autism.

Consequently, Kennedy has been referred to as a conspiracy theorist, a spreader of disinformation and a kook. The New York Instances says he’s ‘shaking Individuals’ religion in science’. A Democratic consultant and adviser to Joe Biden’s re-election marketing campaign has referred to as Kennedy’s views ‘harmful’. The condemnation has been relentless.

Final month, a vaccine professional, Dr Peter Hotez, declined an invite to debate Kennedy on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He mentioned that it will be fruitless to debate a dedicated anti-vaxxer like RFK Jr. The liberal media have usually sided with Hotez. As one pundit put it, ‘vaccine science isn’t up for debate’.

Some shops have gone so far as censoring Kennedy’s views. In a latest interview, ABC Information lower out his feedback in regards to the Covid vaccines. Final month, YouTube eliminated his interview with Jordan Peterson, citing its ‘vaccine misinformation coverage’.

However regardless of the efforts of the Democratic elites and their media allies to marginalise and even silence Kennedy, he’s nonetheless getting a variety of consideration. It’s clear {that a} portion of Individuals – together with Republicans and independents – are RFK-curious. This has allowed him to achieve a foothold within the race to change into the Democratic presidential nominee, and made it much more troublesome for the Democratic elites to dismiss him. On common, polls now put his help for the nomination at 14 per cent. That’s nonetheless a good distance behind Biden’s 64 per cent, however it’s far increased than anticipated.

RFK Jr calls himself a ‘Kennedy Democrat’. He says ‘we have to convey this social gathering again’ to the values of his father, his uncle, Franklin D Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. Such calls contact a nerve amongst Democrats, who’re uneasy in regards to the social gathering’s transfer away from its conventional values. Certainly, a lot of Kennedy’s stances will chime with old-school Democrats. On his marketing campaign web site, he pledges to ‘roll again the secrecy’ and ‘finish the international wars’. And, in a blast in opposition to identification politics, he guarantees to hunt ‘reconciliation throughout races, events and divisions’.

In a very hanging blast from the Democratic previous, RFK Jr has additionally declared that ‘civil liberties, particularly freedom of speech, are a excessive precedence’ for him. That Democrats and media shops at the moment are censoring him solely serves to show his level.

Kennedy wasn’t all the time persona non grata. The media could at the moment be dismissing RFK Jr as a cranky outsider, however hitherto he had been handled as a critical Democratic participant. John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all courted after which welcomed his help for his or her presidential campaigns. And after Obama’s election in 2008, he was thought-about a front-runner to go up the Environmental Safety Company. Rolling Stone even named him one among its ‘100 Brokers of Change’ in 2009.

RFK Jr’s environmentalism as soon as positioned him firmly inside the Democratic mainstream. In 2013, he teamed up with Governor Andrew Cuomo to institute a ban on fracking in New York State. And at present, he’s allied with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others in supporting the Inexperienced New Deal.

Even Kennedy’s questionable views on vaccines have been as soon as welcomed in Democratic circles. Within the late Nineties, when he was campaigning in opposition to MMR vaccines, a lot of his Democratic friends supported him. Certainly, earlier than Covid, the anti-vaccine motion within the US was extra related to the left than the appropriate.

The makes an attempt to sideline RFK Jr at the moment are backfiring. So widespread is the mistrust of the media and political institution that the extra it makes an attempt to silence him, the extra folks assume he should have one thing to say. As has typically been mentioned about Donald Trump, Kennedy has the entire proper enemies.

The Democrats and their media allies can roll out as many fact-checks in opposition to Kennedy as they need, however their phrases lack credibility. They’ll say ‘belief the science’, however that doesn’t work when so many really feel that ‘the science’ has often been distorted for partisan ends, because it typically was in the course of the Covid shutdowns.

As a substitute of attempting to deplatform or marginalise RFK Jr, his opponents can be higher off debating him. That’s necessary from a free-speech perspective. But it surely’s additionally necessary for anybody who needs to revive public belief in vaccines, which has taken a beating in recent times.

I gained’t maintain my breath. Senior Democrats clearly need a easy coronation for Biden’s second time period, and RFK Jr is an unwelcome spoiler. They wish to write him off because the black sheep of the household. However their heavy-handed, censorious method is just not working.

All it’s doing is exposing the Democratic elites’ concern of even the slightest little bit of opposition, and their insecurity in their very own concepts.

Sean Collins is a author based mostly in New York. Go to his weblog, The American State of affairs.