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A Week of Surprises in American Presidential Politics


An image of the US Capital Building.

From the State of the Union address to independent candidates trying to form a more perfect

union, the past week has been an interesting one for American presidential politics. Here’s a

brief recap of what we’ve observed this week:


President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union address to Congress on Thursday, speaking

for more than 60 minutes to highlight his accomplishments over the past three years, taking a

few shots at “my predecessor,” former President Donald Trump who he did not name, and

generally reenergizing his campaign. HIs address sounded much more like a campaign talk or

even a nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic convention (coming this fall), but it

also worked. The Biden campaign raked in more than $10 million in the first 24 hours after his

address.


Among other points, he included plans to create a temporary port in Gaza for aid delivery and

vowed to restore Roe v Wade abortion protections as the law of the land if reelected. There was

at least one man escorted out for heckling, not to mention Georgia Rep. Margaret Taylor

Greene who wore Trump campaign attire and a MAGA hat in violation of an agreement the

majority party in the House had made not to wear such apparel. Greene ignored the agreement.

The Republican rebuttal, delivered by freshman Alabama Senator Katie Britt, delivered in a

kitchen setting, earned mixed reviews and generally was panned by pundits. It was ridiculed

most of the weekend.


Even after the withdrawal on Wednesday by former Republican presidential candidate NIkki

Haley, two independent efforts are still aimed at disrupting the inevitable Biden-Trump

November matchup.


Independent Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced the campaign has

collected the necessary signatures to put “Bobby on the Ballot” in Nevada. The campaign also

won a lawsuit in Idaho to knock back an unconstitutional signature deadline.

The campaign has collected more than 15,000 signatures in Nevada. This places Kennedy on

the ballot in one of the most closely contested swing states in the country, where the margin

between Presidents Biden and Trump was just 2.39% in 2020.


Kennedy’s campaign says his surging support across the country has made the election a

three-way race. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows him leading nationwide among voters under 35

and independents. An NBC poll shows 34% of people saying they could see themselves

supporting RFK Jr. Another Quinnipiac Poll discussed on CNN shows Kennedy basically in a

three-way tie with Presidents Biden and Trump among Latinos.


Kennedy is already on the ballot in Utah and is close to getting approved for ballots in New

Hampshire and Hawaii. Still a long way to go to get on many state ballots in November. He’s

also angry that he has not been offered any Secret Service protection as a candidate, saying

this is the first time in 55 years a candidate for President has been denied the protection.

Last Friday, Margaret White, head of the No Labels Party, announced the organization is

preparing to announce a third-party candidate for the race. More than 800 No Labels delegates

gathered virtually to announce plans of escalating its conversations with potential candidates,

though no names have been announced yet. If the party puts up a “Unity Ticket,” it will be on the

ballots of all 50 states. That said, the party only plans to secure access to ballots in 33 states

because the 17 others require a named candidate to be on the ballot well in advance. So how

that plays out going forward could make the November election even more interesting and

difficult to handicap.

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