Rep. Ro Khanna Calls on RFK Jr.’s Running Mate to Step Down

Rep. Ro Khanna Calls on RFK Jr.'s Running Mate to Step Down

Democratic Representative Ro Khanna of California has made a bold move by urging Nicole Shanahan, the chosen running mate of presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, to withdraw from the race.

This request, rooted in a concern that their campaign might unintentionally aid former President Donald Trump‘s return to office, underscores the complexities and high stakes of the upcoming election.

Khanna’s concerns were presented in a letter he intended for Shanahan, which he shared with CBS News before sending it directly to her. In this letter, Khanna did not hold back, stating, “Even Trump himself, and other members of his team, have admitted that an RFK Jr. ticket will help his reelection.”

This assertion highlights the perceived risks associated with the Kennedy-Shanahan ticket, emphasizing the potential it has to split the vote in a manner favorable to Trump.

Further elaborating on the implications of such a scenario, Khanna wrote, “While you may have fair disagreements on the Democratic Party’s platform, it is clear that a second term for Trump would be disastrous for climate and undo the work of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant action

Congress has taken on clean energy and climate change in our nation’s history.” This statement underscores Khanna’s appeal to Shanahan’s environmental sensibilities, which have been a significant part of her political narrative.

Shanahan’s response to Khanna’s plea was swift and public, opting to address the matter through social media rather than private communication.

Recalling a previous conversation with Khanna, Shanahan wrote, “In my conversation with Ro, he congratulated me on the position and encouraged me to run, stating that every American has the right to run in this country.”

This recounting of Khanna’s earlier encouragement stands in significant contrast to his current stance, suggesting a significant shift in his perspective.

Shanahan continued, pointing out the perceived inconsistency in Khanna’s position: “Clearly, Ro has changed his stance based on pressure from the party.

She also criticized the anti-democratic implications of his request, stating, “I hope he understands how anti-democratic it is to ask someone to step down from a race that empowers the American public to make their own decisions.” Her disappointment with Khanna’s approach was evident.

Echoing Shanahan’s sentiments, Robert F. Kennedy took to social media to express his disappointment in Khanna’s change of stance.

Kennedy wrote, “I’m so grateful for your courage and grace, Nicole. I have always admired Ro Khanna. His flip-flopping here is disappointing. The party has the power to bludgeon men of character into wavering.”

Rep. Ro Khanna Calls on RFK Jr.'s Running Mate to Step Down
Rep. Ro Khanna Calls on RFK Jr.’s Running Mate to Step Down

This statement not only supports Shanahan but also highlights the internal challenges and divergences within the Democratic Party.

Khanna, who has been an outspoken surrogate for President Biden‘s reelection campaign, has justified his public plea by pointing to recent polling data.

This data suggests that in pivotal swing states, the Kennedy-Shanahan ticket could inadvertently tip the balance in favor of Trump, a scenario Khanna and many Democrats are keen to avoid.

Shanahan, who has previously described herself as a “disillusioned Democrat,” joined Kennedy’s campaign out of frustration with the political establishment’s inaction on environmental issues.

This move was further bolstered by her significant financial contribution to the Kennedy campaign, amounting to $4 million, which notably funded a Super Bowl advertisement for the independent campaign.

Her financial contributions extend beyond the Kennedy campaign, having also supported Khanna with more than $17,000 in donations. This financial relationship underscores the complexity of the situation, revealing complex personal and political connections.

The Democratic Party’s broader anxieties about the upcoming election, particularly in battleground states where Biden’s 2020 victory margins were slim, add another layer to this escalating situation. Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan were all states that Mr. Biden won by under 50,000 votes.

These concerns have led to concerted efforts by Democratic groups MoveOn and Third Way to counter third-party campaigns that could potentially siphon votes from the main Democratic ticket.

In defending his actions, Khanna emphasized his respect for Shanahan’s right to run and clarified his intentions, stating, “I certainly don’t want to say anything that is negative about her personally, but I would hope she would see the value of joining the broader Democratic coalition.”

This statement reflects an attempt to navigate the delicate balance between political strategy and personal respect.

After trying to dissuade Shanahan to join Kennedy’s campaign privately, Khanna’s office said it decided to publicize the letter to push her to reconsider.

“Rep. Khanna decided to make this letter public and alert press to help bring attention to the dangers that RFK’s campaign poses,” said Marie Baldassarre, a spokeswoman for Khanna. “He also reached out to Nicole privately previously to urge her to reconsider and join the Biden coalition.”

About the author

Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly is a prominent political journalist and editor at World-Wire, known for her sharp analysis and deep understanding of global politics. With a Master's degree in Political Science, she excels in breaking down complex political issues, making them relatable to the public. At World-Wire, Nancy crafts compelling political narratives covering everything from local governance to international relations. Recognized for her expertise, she received the 'Excellence in Political Journalism' award in 2021. Nancy's work not only informs but also enriches her readers' understanding of political dynamics.

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