Democrats Furiously Finger-Wagging Over Billionaire Nicole Shanahan as RFK, Jr.’s Vice Presidential Pick

If the level of upset is an indication, Team Dem is seriously worried about Nichole Shanahan joining RFK, Jr.’s ticket as his vice president. For sake of convenience, we’ll mine a new comment, which is Financial Times’ speak for op-ed, by Edward Luce. Luce was Larry Summer’s speechwriter and is a regular Democratic party water-carrier. He does write the occasional insightful and even independent-minded piece to make up for his scrivener’s work.

In “the dog that did not bark” manner, what Luce does not say is more telling than what he says. He does whinge, as many do, that Shanahan’s enormous personal balance sheet can and likely will go a long way in funding the RFK, Jr. campaign but focuses on ballot access and his legal expenses, meaning cleverly depicting RFK, Jr. as wounded and viable only with a very large cash injection.

Oddly I have yet to see any pundit consider that Shanahan joining RFK, Jr.’s ticket will serve to elicit more money from other Silicon Valley heavy-hitters. So far, they are depicting her involvement as a form of vanity project.

Luce offers only a passing treatment of the the trope than many Shanahan critics are serving up, that she’s not qualified to be Vice President. With Kamala Harris arguably having credentials and having demonstrated that incapable of even reading a Teleprompter well, the Vice Presidential bar has been so lowered that Shanahan can more than fill the role. We will learn more about Shanahan’s professional life in due course. She was a lawyer and started up and sold a company, so she is not devoid of accomplishment of her own, even if her big bucks come from marriage.

Luce refuses to consider that RFK, Jr. and Shanahan might be running out of principle (even if many would consider those principles to be misguided and naive) and think they have a shot, albeit a long one of winning. As we will discuss later, the views that Luce pooh-poohs, particularly aversion to vaccines and concerns about health risks from food and environmental toxins, is extremely popular among the super and somewhat wealthy in California. It’s mainstream in that cohort, and not fringe, as Luce tries to depict it.

If Joe Biden were to die before the election, which is well above a 0% probability, the RFK, Jr.-Shanahan ticker goes from “quixotic” to a contender. Instead, Luce acts as if his arguments could persuade Shanahan to drop her candidacy, which is a peculiar narrative position to take: that she risks going down in history and is enabling a Trump victory, and that she’s a newbie to politics and is not prepared for the roughing up she is about to get.

Instead, Luce hammers on the idea that the only thing the RFK, Jr. can do is damage the worthy Biden team. He invokes “aiding evil Trump” in the opening paragrapH:

RFK’s third-party candidacy could split the vote in key swing states. That makes him 2024’s potential Ralph Nader, the Green party candidate who in 2000 siphoned support from Al Gore. The winner was George W Bush. This time it would be Donald Trump.

The “oh no Nader” contention ignores that Florida, where Nader received over 90,000 voters, versus Gore’s margin of loss of 537, did not allow felons to vote. As Greg Palast recounted, Florida hired the highest bidder on its “scrub the voter rolls program, and the contractor proceeded to nix obviously black names that dimly resembled those of felons. Due to the state of search, I can’t readily find Palast’s work, but my recollection is that he found that a bare minimum of 90,000 valid black voters were removed. Take 30% propensity to vote and 90% propensity of black to vote Democrat, and you get 24.300 more votes for Gore.

And let us not forget that Bill Clinton did not strongly support Gore’s candidacy, and his lukewarm backing not doubt had a cost too.

Luce again insists the ticket has no hope but concedes it could prove to be harmless…in terms of Biden:

There can only be two end points to the path they are on. Either the Kennedy-Shanahan ticket will be another quixotic entry in America’s colourful history of third-party bids; or they will go down as the pair that helped return the White House to Trump.

The “you may push Trump over the top” is interwoven with what amounts to personal threats: You will be subjected to lots of oppo (presumably Shanahan is enough of a grown-up to have worked that out) and insinuations that she might suffer for the rest of her life:

Brace yourself, Nicole Shanahan. Most Americans have not heard of the ex-wife of Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin…. Shanahan’s life will now be turned inside out….

The latter [helping Trump win] might complicate the remainder of Shanahan’s life. Nothing could prepare her for what she is about to go through….

The Democrats have every incentive to make life as hard as possible for Kennedy and Shanahan.

But all Luce can serve up is the rumor that Shanahan had an affair with Elon Musk when she was still married to Sergey Brin. Both Musk and Shanahan have denied that.

Ahd Shanahan is extremely attractive. If she is well-spoken too and either natively or with professional coaching is good under fire, attempts to attack her could backfire. Beating up on pretty young-looking women is frowned on in many circles.

Luce also depicts Kennedy’s long-standing big issues, the environment and vaccines, as populist without using that word:

But he appeals to swaths of America that are hostile to the pharmaceutical industry. Most Americans have a close family member who suffers from a chronic disease, such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or addiction. Millions feel ripped off by the big drugs companies. On Tuesday, Shanahan vowed to fix chronic disease within “weeks, not years” of being elected. Many Americans are also affected by pollution — another of RFK’s themes and one of Shanahan’s philanthropic causes. If their names appear on the ballot, they will get some votes. The question is whether the trade off will be worth it. 

Your humble blogger has commented on the the extent of concern about food quality and orthodox medical treatment among those who have the time and money to address it, and there are plenty of vendors who will stoke and serve that hobby. It goes way beyond organic foods to super-foods, de-toxing, specialized supplementation and injections, often accompanied by at least fitness enthusiast-level exercising. Many are vaccine averse. And that’s before you get to treatments that only the super-rich can afford, like buying blood from the young to use to regenerate theirs.

In other words, Luce might want to get out more before dismissing RFK, Jr. as the candidate for niche issues voters. Consider this sighting in February from a contact who managed to be invited to a big Hollywood pre-Oscars screening in a super wealthy resort area:

There was a large after party. The donors are getting ready to write checks.

They use straw polls as horse race indices. How much they need to donate? Who is the cool kid?

The results – among the ultra rich ultra Hollywood Liberal blue billionaire hive?

RFK JR – 58%

Trump – 27% – (I was about spit out my gin and tonic when that was read off)

Biden 4%

Newsom 2%

Various others less than 2% each.

There were multiple people there talking about Biden’s dementia. And the startling lack of enthusiasm among the Calif elite for Newsom also blew me away.

Mind you, I am not saying this to endorse RFK, Jr. He seems only to be running on Camelot hopium with no concrete ideas how to get there. I am simply saying that dismissing him before Shanahan joined his ticket, was premature and looks even more so now.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Never heard of Nichole Shanahan until yesterday but that is her problem, not mine. Could it be that the Democrats see her backing RFK jr. with financial resources and thus making him a serious contender. And that this has them worried as they might see RFK jr spiking old Joe’s chances of winning and thus becoming the new Ralph Nader? And nobody has been answering his calls since 2000.

  2. zagonostra

    My initial feelings for RFK jr. and his bid for the presidency were positive and warm, knowing very little about him. Those feelings went cold and are now well beyond rigor mortis since his views on Gaza were made known. So chatter on his V.P. is moot.

    1. Gregorio

      Well, it’s looking like it will come down to choosing between the least bad Zionist tool on the ballot. Classic heads we win tails you lose for the Israel lobby.

        1. JonnyJames

          Cynthia McKinney, Ron Paul and Dennis K. were vocally anti-Zionist and critical of US policy. Now they are no longer Congress members. The DNC/RNC and The Lobby will not allow such behavior. The best Congress the oligarchy can buy!

          1. T_Reg

            Kucinich is running to get back into Congress – as an independent. He finally left the Democratic Party.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I have a suspicision that, ‘least bad zionist’ quietly favors trump.

        Think about it…which candidate is most likely to do an about-face on Israel if it becomes a real political liability…and it is becoming one, rapidly. There’s definitely shifting sentiment on the right.

        1. Paris

          I concur. At least Trump does not align himself automatically (like the majority of political morons) with the “allies”. He pummeled the EU as if there was no tomorrow. I like that in him.

        2. Gregorio

          Maybe, but then again there’s always the possibility that he’ll appoint Jared Kushner Secretary of State in exchange for some future options on some sweet Gaza beachfront real estate for a luxury golf course development.

          1. Em

            At least he only has one Jewish in-law and not three like Biden. I assume Trump is getting pretty pissed that neither of his actual billionaire sons-in-law (the other one appears to be some kind of Lebanese Christian heir to a Nigerian motorcycle fortune… so probably Zionist and runs weapons and who knows what else in the side) has chipped in a billion or two for his defense fund.

      2. fjallstrom

        Jill Stein is against the genocide. So if she is on teh ballot, there will at least be an option against.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Indeed, maybe so. Then again, I’m the kind of guy who thinks that “Brandon and the Orange Man” would have been a great title for the kind of old TV-sitcom buddy comedy the “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” folks used to riff about.

    2. panurge

      Absolutely! However, maybe he is a ‘lesser evil’. There is the option to vote for someone who’s for genocide AND funny injections, or for someone who’s for genocide BUT against the funny injections. Conversely, I guess that someone who is opposing both, belongs to the world of bridge-selling biz.
      Moreover, I don’t know how the genocide is really affecting the average voter. My hunch is that Joe Six-pack is way more worried about his health, unless bombs start to be dropped in his property.

    3. Mesoscale

      Agreed…RFK has been on my radar for years and admire him for the environmental litigation that he has done, and some (some) of the work he has done illuminating vaccine harm where it was due. But I don’t understand his public statements regarding Gaza. He could simply left his mouth shut unless it was strategy trying to get jewish lobby support or something. The whole general fealty of the government (House, Senate, WH) to the Gaza effort has left me feeling very sideways and has me wondering if the political animal has become another species that can no longer relate to the world humanely.

        1. Em

          Either Epstein actually did have something on him or members of his family were threatened. People who know him before his presidential campaign have come out and said that they were surprised by his turn to rabid Zionism and apparently he’s just completely cut them off, at least on this one issue. I don’t think his Zionism is sincere because any genuine Zionist would already know and hate Roger Waters and Dennis Kucinch.

          But if he’s so easily subverted about open genocide, then he won’t be able to deliver on any of the good things he promised. Especially when he could just be a little more milquetoast evil rather than open his mouth and say ridiculous things that Rabbi Schmuley told him to say.

    4. Oh

      The pro Israel stance bothers me too but all these candidates are captured by Israel. RFK’s views on Pharma, the environment really appeals to me. I will support him over others. Can’t be a purist ya know.

  3. griffen

    The Democratic leadership and the Biden administration should run simply on the best accomplishments of his first term and let America choose which option of hemlock is more acceptable. \Sarc

    I’ll give you a head start on accomplishment(s). The infrastructure policy is a first step to initially address longstanding issues and concerns across the country. Nevermind that it’s a pro-cyclical typoe of Federal spending after a fairly robust cycle of growth and higher inflation post-Covid if you will.

    That’s about all I got. Yeah there is jobs, jobs…btw I don’t believe this selection moves the needle much in favor of RFK Jr but that funding source can only help right?

  4. SocalJimObjects

    Attractive and also Asian American. Get her to face off against Kamala Harris, and you can say bye bye to Team Dem.

    1. El Slobbo

      I don’t know, Shanahan may be in trouble if Kamala challenges her to a giggling contest.

    2. pjay

      And regarding Yves question above, “well-spoken” too. At least from the clips I’ve seen in the last few days she comes off in public as knowledgeable but also very personable. Versus Kamala – no contest.

      Early on I thought RFK Jr. might actually take more votes from Trump, especially if he emphasized the “libertarian” issues and chose a similar VP. But Shanahan is the ideal choice for taking votes from the young, and from PMCers disillusioned with the Democrats. The Democrats should be worried. Who knows what she *really* stands for, but electoral politics at this level is all about image. Yes she’s a Silicon billionaire, but I’m not sure that matters to many voters any more. Most know this is Game of Thrones, so they hope a rich Prince (Trump, Musk) will save them from the Evil Ones. I don’t know that a rich Princess would matter. And Luce’s suggestion that choosing a candidate for *money* is somehow beyond the pale of politics these days is pretty hilarious.

      Kennedy’s statements on Israel and related issues (i.e. Iran) are abhorrent to me, and I also hate his Camelot shtick. That said, I’m not sure his bad policy positions are worse than those of the other two main candidates. I can’t see him getting elected, and I’m not sure it matters much anyway – Presidents either go along or get sabotaged. But it is fun to watch Establishment heads explode.

      1. Em

        As a leftist who had seriously considered voting for him when Dennis Kucinch and Jesse Ventura were still attached to his campaign, I would say he’s completely incoherent. It’s not just his ideas of war and peace, but also his views on regulation and the market, and political economy.

        I haven’t heard Shanahan speak yet. I admit that I find her weirdly squinty eyed and not nearly as attractive as Tulsi Gabbard. But I imagine that someone who came from nothing and successfully played courtesan to a succession of SV billionaires, is very very good at impressing right people.

        1. Michaelmas

          Em: I would say he’s (RFK jr.) completely incoherent.

          Yup. Arguably, when filtered for signal over noise, Trump is actually more coherent.

          Granted, Trumpian noise-to-signal and bloviation is so excessive that this isn’t readily apparent. But in those moments when Trump makes sense, he makes more sense than RFK jr.

          1. britzklieg

            I’d say Trump’s secret appeal to many, despite his obviously atrocious stances on so many issues, is a certain flare for comedy. “Pocahontas” was funny… “Corn Pop” was not funny.

            …and I’ve seen no indication of humor from RFKJ at all.

            1. Michaelmas

              britzklieg: I’d say Trump’s secret appeal … is a certain flare for comedy.

              Sure. But even more relevantly, when he says: “I am your retribution.”

              There should be a definite appeal to a great many Americans in that, even if it’s just one more line of Trump’s bull.

          2. pjay

            I’m not defending Kennedy as a candidate here. But I have heard him sound quite coherent on certain subjects in the past. Such subjects include the Ukraine conflict, and even Syria at a time when *everyone* with any degree of “respectability” accepted the US propaganda narrative on that country. That’s one reason why his comments on Israel (even pre-October 7) were so startling. Even in responding to critics calling him an anti-scientific vax-denying death-monger, I’d seen him respond in rational and, yes, “coherent” arguments (not that I necessarily agree with them or his interpretations of the data cited). Yet on the subject of Israel he would get quite agitated, often raising his voice and ranting while sputtering the most one-sided Zionist propaganda without a hint of nuance. Makes you wonder – at least it did me.

            Conversely, I do not see Trump as having a coherent view on much of anything. He says what he thinks will serve himself or make him sound good. His “anti-war” statements are often more along the lines of “if *I* were President they wouldn’t *dare* attack,” or charges that our allies aren’t paying their share and that it’s costing us too much. I see no clue that he understands the deeper historical or geopolitical sources of any of these conflicts or the powerful interests operating within our National Security Establishment. As many have pointed out, look who he appointed to key positions in his first administration. Is there any evidence he has learned anything since?

            I admit that Kennedy’s “ex” CIA campaign manager and Silicon Valley billionaire VP candidate do not inspire much confidence either. I guess it’s get the popcorn ready and enjoy the show.

            1. Em

              His war and peace stuff sounds pretty good the first time around, but its all weirdly tied to Camelot nostalgia about what his uncle or father did in sixty plus years ago. Plus once he starts talking even a little off book and outside of Russia, it’s just a incoherent mess of racism against Arabs, Iranians, and other “undeserving”.

              I admire his father and uncle greatly, even though they’re at times quite flawed and opportunistic. But I just don’t think BobbyJr has the wattage or intellectual/moral courage to be a leader.

              1. pjay

                Here’s an article Kennedy wrote about Syria, in Politico of all places – in 2016. Read it and then tell me if you think it is incoherent. I have seen him talk about this and other subjects similarly over the years. I don’t like his Camelot nostalgia references either. But this ain’t that. And I’ve seen him address other subjects in a similar manner. Articles like *this* one certainly demonstrate intellectual or moral courage far beyond any mainstream politician. I guess he wasn’t a politician at the time, but it’s still a pretty comprehensive refutation of the dominant Establishment narrative of the time.


                It is *this* that makes Kennedy’s Zionist ravings so mystifying and frustrating to me.

                1. Em one last time

                  Looks like I’m now auto locked from any posting, as far as I know with no warning to me. I won’t fight it as I should reorient my time usage.

                  That article completely takes out Israel and more recent history from the equation, when that’s central to Arab mistrust of the US. Even if he overlooks the 1967 and 1973 wars, what about the wars and sanctions against Iraq and Iran? He’s blaming Gulf Arabs when they’re just the obedient tail to the American dog.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Please do not friggin’ overreact and go read our site Policies. You are not in moderation but many regular readers hit moderation tripwires. You just have.

        2. T_Reg

          I have listened to or watched quite a few interviews with RFK Jr, and I find him to be the very antithesis of incoherent. And his policy proposals are, for the most part, so much better than anything coming from Democrats or Republicans that there’s just no comparison.

          1. Victor Sciamarelli

            I completely agree and thanks for your comment. I would only add that people should consider, if not prioritize, the atmosphere over which the next president will enter the WH.
            FDR took over when the economy of the country was in a deep depression. Lincoln and Wilson with war on the horizon.
            We are, thanks to Biden, in 2.5 wars in which both Ukraine and Gaza could escalate into a major conflict and possibly a nuclear war, while Biden provokes China over Taiwan and trade. Moreover, there are signs the economy is not doing well.
            I don’t want Trump and we don’t need to give Biden four more years to get what he started done; they’re both dangerous. I think RFK, Jr., is the most rational person in the field and qualified to preside over the current state of affairs. And I think we all might see that better if he is allowed to participate in the presidential debates.

        3. sleeplessintokyo

          ” I find her weirdly squinty eyed ”
          Racist much? shocked this got past the monitors.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Please read our site Policies. We do not moderate all comments. We have software tripwires.

            In addition, even though what Em said does not come off well, he presumably did not know she was part Chinese. She has a completely Anglo name. Her press pix prior to joining the campaign make her hair look brown, not borderline black, and she apparently had dyed her hair to honey blonde, you can see her ends in those photos are that color.

            So if she were Caucasian, what would you make of her facial structure? If you look at older celebrities, they often wind up with similar-looking eyes due to brow, eyelid, and face lifts.

            1. Em one last time

              Since I’m blocked anyways, I’ll just say this – she looked biracial Asian to me when I made the comment. I honestly didn’t think about it in a racial way as most Asians don’t have that look and I mentally associate the look with rich white women with questionable plastic surgery.

              Having now seen her speech, I think it’s probably because she was nervous and not as controlled as a practiced pol. In video it’s not bad, as it makes her seem like a genuine person. But in still photos I think makes her less attractive as a candidate, since people tend to be naturally drawn to “open” faces.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Her older pix make her look VERY open faced. I wonder if she is being made up and lit so as to emphasize her Asian background now. See this one, for instance:

                Stanford Law School alum picture:

                NDTV picture circa 2022:

                I think she has had plastic surgery. Women in CA in the entertainment business and who hang with very rich men are often takers. And conventional wisdom is to start early and just get little procedures.

  5. Pavel

    Chronic disease (encouraged not prevented by Big Pharma) — along with Endless War of course— is bankrupting the USA. Kudos to the pair of them for making it a focus of their campaign.

    I quite liked her speech. On reflection this may be a master stroke by RFK Jr. to get the Gen Z vote who are already disgusted by Genocide Joe. Her lack of political “experience” is probably a plus.

    Crazy months ahead!

    1. Paris

      I thought RFK was in favor of the Gaza war… who says he’s anti-war… Another hypocrite.

      1. ISL

        I never understood why he did not equivocate on Gaza – most good politicians are good at equivocating. I assume for the money, as if one even imagines the environmental damage Israel is causing in Gaza…..,

        My thought is that if he is that easily bought, will he really follow through on his other promises against the wishes of the various power centers and deep state?

        He lost my support and vote, but if Joe six pack picked RFK Jr over the Genocide Joe, or the did not drain the swamp Trump, I would not complain.

          1. Jamie

            My first thought. Plus he was a vilified, conspiracy kook during covid. What happened with that? Poof.

      2. Victor Sciamarelli

        I think that when you’re trying to get your campaign off the ground, gain ballot access, raise money, and get your message across, the last thing you want to do is pick a fight with the Israel lobby; not even Biden wants to do that.
        I also think RFK, Jr., like many other supporters of Israel, will reassess his position on Israel in light of its fascist government and genocidal policies.

        1. ISL

          see my comment about equivocating – a critical skill for a politician – and hedging, and use of weasel words.

  6. Es s Ce Tera

    At a time when most Americans are not liking either Biden or Trump and probably looking for a fresh change, the fact that many haven’t heard of Shanahan is probably a positive for team RFK Jr.

    Also, the US needs a true leader, in the minds of most Americans JFK was probably the last true example of such. The American psyche was robbed of an ending to that story, RFK Jr. is part of that story. Trump is somewhat part of that story in that he’s about going against the same dark and hidden forces which assassinated JFK, the forces that Biden and Hillary support.

    Yves, you say more than 0%, I say we’re at the stage, based on what our eyes are telling us, that if Trump or Biden win we’ll be seeing them exit the WH in a casket and top of mind for many Americans will be what’s the point of electing a dead president?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please read more carefully. >0% was about Biden dying BEFORE THE ELECTION, which would make an RFK, Jr. win a real possibility.

      1. Es s Ce Tera

        Thank you Yves and, actually, on further thought I’m going to side with you on that point. Yes, I struggle to see either Biden or Trump getting through an election campaign. We’re at a level of senescence where the napping schedule is probably a matter of national security and campaigning would be too disruptive of that.

    2. Paris

      Are we supposed to have any concerns regarding Trump’s health, as opposed to the very senile and decadent Biden? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    3. Skip Intro

      if Trump or Biden win we’ll be seeing them exit the WH in a casket

      That was the promise 4 years ago too. I think you need to catch up on the state of the art in animatronics and pre-expiry embalming.

  7. JohnnyGL

    Dems are infuriated because they spend their whole careers charming and cultivating relationships with people like Shanahan.

    Shanahan is supposed to be the type of person who shows up to fancy parties, gets told how she’s a ‘girl boss’ and an inspiration to random 12 yr old girls around the world and she’s supposed to be so flattered and impressed that she gleefully opens up her checkbook 20k at a time and texts everyone in her group chat of professional colleagues that they should consider donating, too.

    The idea that Shanahan thinks dems kinda suck and that she can do it better than they have been doing for decades, with no prior experience, or…gasp…credentials, is not just deeply insulting to them, but downright offensive. They feel as though their whole career has been disrespected by this uppity donor…much like, well, a certain gaudy, loud-mouthed property developer who also transitioned from cutting checks to the Clintons into someone who they consistently struggle to beat at the ballot box.

    1. JohnnyGL

      They don’t hate her because she can win. They hate her because they just lost a big fund-raising meal ticket. Remember, winning/losing is always secondary to fund-raising.

  8. Em

    Thank you for this. I have come to regard RFKJr as a profoundly unserious person with some completely out there ideas (his praise for Milei for example or association with Schmuley Boteach rather than a more mainstream American Zionist figure). No different than the other two, but with a more woo-woo libertarian flavor.

    However, that kind of unseriousness and detachment from reality is very common amongst Silicon Valley rich people and will likely play well there. Picking Shanahan may indeed be a very shrewd decision from at least the fundraising perspective.

    I feel like Trump may now have to up his game and pick Tulsi Gabbard in this game of attractive biracial VP nominee game.

    1. catchymango

      all good points, but just one quibble: Tulsi Gabbard is not biracial, she is a white woman. Her family are just converts to Hinduism. Still, I agree that she would be a savvy pick for VP, for the reasons you outline.

      1. Em

        I believe she and her father both claim some Samoan ancestry. Not sure how much but she tans well and definitely don’t look northern or western European.

        1. scott s.

          Her father has ancestry of Euro-American and Samoan, has American citizenship via his father, though it is also possible for American Nationals from American Samoa to gain citizenship. The west-side Oahu area she represented tends to have a significant Samoan ethnicity, as well as native Hawaiian.

    2. Es s Ce Tera

      We may be at the point where his actual platform and what he believes is utterly and completely irrelevant to voters, they just need Biden and Trump to be gone and RFK Jr is the visible only path toward that.

      1. Em

        Yeah, it may well come to that. What worries me is just how spooky Amaryllis Fox and some of the people circling RFKJr are. They may be the real WEF “you will own nothing and be happy” type that’s going to get us all killed by “going fast and breaking things”.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        As an Independent with no real support legislatively Kennedy can be no messiah. Ask Ventura. The only power an Independent President will have is the “bully pulpit”. The population knows something is wrong but doesn’t understand that it is oligarchic looting. If Kennedy can pound on issues such as corporate regulatory capture that would be good enough for me. See his 2 min video on corporate regulatory capture.

      3. XXYY

        >>>… they just need Biden and Trump to be gone and RFK Jr is the visible only path toward that.

        I realized this is a terrific platform once I read what you wrote.

        Both Biden and Trump had four years in office and have done little or nothing. Does anyone think either is going to be better in their second four? I don’t.

        At least one candidate is an unknown quantity! That’s good enough for me at this point.

    3. JohnnyGL

      If Trump actually showed the level of courage required to pick Tulsi Gabbard as VP, I might have to start thinking of Trump as a more ‘serious’ person than I’d previously considered, based on his record.

      Gabbard has always been more of a political opportunist than her defenders are comfortable admitting, but she’s still someone who’s shown genuine bravery and courage. Trump would know full well that he’d be setting her up for the presidency in four years and the Republicans and Democratic elite would both rage out of control about her as they know she’s got talent and it would mean that those who’ve ‘waited their turn’ like Haley and Newsome would have to keep on waiting…possibly for 8 more years!

      If Trump is able to avoid the Haley-Newsome race in 2028, we’ll all owe him a debt of gratitude. But, alas, this is Donald Trump that we’re talking about.

      He’ll pick Tim Scott…obedient, affable, Neo-conservative Republican Party hack. The party will be pleased with him and it will be a clear signal that he’s going to govern his 2nd term like a standard, run-of-the-mill Republican.

      I hope I’m wrong.

    4. Screwball

      IMO, that’s a winning ticket. Vote for T-squared – Trump/Tulsi 2024.

      I think she spoke at CPAC and had a meeting at Mar-a-Lago from what I read somewhere. She was also listed as a possible in things I read as well.

      Will Orange Hilter be that clever? We shall see.

      This isn’t an endorsement as I think they all suck.

  9. t

    If only the dems had any standing to call is out for being supported primarily by right wing PACs.

  10. Arizona Slim

    Respectfully disagreeing with the notion that Ralph Nader’s votes were siphoned away from Gore. Back in 2000, I worked with a guy who was a Nader supporter all the way.

    To hear it from him, he and his fellow Nader supporters were never going to vote for Gore. Or, for that matter, George W. Bush.

    1. Janeway

      Exactly! I voted for Nader 2000 (in NY) and even had his bumper sticker. 0.0% chance I was going to vote for either Bush or Gore.

      1. pjay

        Yes. Thanks for the timely reminder about who Gore chose as a running mate. I voted for Nader as well, though at the time I lived in a strongly red state that easily went for Bush. Knowing now how evil the Bush/Cheney regime was I would have preferred Gore. But he deserves much of the blame for his bland, centrist campaign, choosing Lieberman as his running mate, and (in my view) not challenging the Florida results adequately. And given the record of Clinton/Albright, not to mention Obama/Clinton, who even knows what Gore would have done in the Middle East?

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      If memory serves, over 200,000 registered Democratic voters in Florida voted for Bush in 2000. Not that it will, but it should put all that nonsense about Nader costing the D’s the election to rest.

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      And let’s not forget that the biggest post-election analysis (of 170k+ disputed Florida ballots) said that Gore got more votes statewide — not that he asked for a full statewide recount. Unfortunately, unlike what CNN still shows here:

      the NORC analysis seems to have disappeared from its former home on the Web:

  11. Lena

    I think this VP pick helps RFK Jr in Silicon Valley and also among young voters. He already has some Hollywood support via his actress wife and at least two of his children who are kinda/sorta in the entertainment business. He is looking like a Perot type game changer in November, probably hurting Biden more than Trump.

    I am supporting None Of The Above.

    1. Alice X

      In relation to Tulsi, was it you that said never underestimate the hawt?

      Shanahan is another one. And she studied and may speak Mandarin.

      1. Lena

        Yes, I said never underestimate the power of hawt. I think it remains to be seen if Shanahan has the same hawt power that Tulsi has.

    1. Christopher Fay

      I use Yandex for translation rather than google. My problem is in Chinese it produces the simplified characters rather than traditional.

  12. JonnyJames

    The contrived drama freak-show that passes for electoral politics – it’s election cycle time baby! Which genocidal, Israel-firster will you “vote” for? (JB, DT, or Jr.)

    A very brief summary of barriers to democratic accountability in the US

    Winner takes all electoral system (first past the post) results in minority rule and two-party duopoly.
    The infamous “Electoral College”
    BigMoney and tight control of discourse in the MassMediaCartel
    Legalized, unlimited political bribery (see Citizens United)
    Emotional and psychological manipulation of the public through divisive “wedge issue” distractions: “guns, god and gays” (abortion, brown-skinned immigrants, religious issues etc.)

    There is no way to “vote” against the interests of The Lobby, or the oligarchy.

    So after we accept the hard, ugly reality, and emerge from denial, what are we collectively going to do about it.

    1. DW Bartoo

      Perhaps, Jonny James, we might collectively decide that it is time
      (well past time) that the many, here in the Homeyland, had FINAL say on policy.

      Okay, folks, who is in flavor of Nuclear Confrontation?

      How about an actual Heathcare System that benefits the many, rather than a HealthAbu$e $y$tem that allows a few to make a killing?

      Consider, are economic downturns, recessions, depressions, or mere “inflation”, the result of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or, the direct result of elite policies?

      Possibly, the many ought consider holding the elite to account for wars for profit, for “outsourcing” industrial capacity while destroying local economies and a critically important knowledge base, possessed by the “deplorables”?

      Have U$ elites ever been held to account for genocide (much not really in the “news” that is fitted. these days, except as “spin”).

      How, might you ask, could the many hold their “betters” to account?

      By insisting that “representative” democracy – not democracy. – has failed.

      Whatever form of actual democracy might this corrupt $y$tem be replaced with?

      How about Participatory democracy?

      Who wants to be first to assert that the many are too stupid to govern themselves, wisely and well?

      Let us hear it for the “old guard” elite who have, clearly and consistently failed to rule (for that is what the elite do, they rule) wisely and well.

      Instead, they lie, they cheat, they steal, and they kill on a massive genocidal

      There is, we must also consider, a question of time.

      Do we continue as hostage to patterns of abuse, neglect, and mayhem, all reflecting a consummate failure to think or plan anything through, be it war, be it environmental crisis, be it pushing civil society toward collapse and catastrophe on more levels than many can comprehend?

      Voting is but the empty pretense of “democracy”, when personality NOT policy is really all that is being chosen between …

      To suggest that we must deal with the “reality” before us, one must wonder about the totality of what that “reality” must compose.

      Starting with: How does the future, your own included, look?

      If it seems bleak and despairing, are you willing to ponder the thought that it need not be that way?

      If anyone believes that their precious pelt is too special to risk in any dangerous venture of changing things, then remember, “when in danger, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout”, and now, you are excused, go forth and proclaim that these are the very best of times.

      That should take care of everything.

      The very notion that humans are responsible for their own times is subordinate to living well.

      Which, it is held, is the very best revenge possible.

      Such a limited grasp.

      At the current rate.

      The human species might not end with either a whimper or a bang, but with a

      Are things really that serious?

      What do you think?

      1. JonnyJames

        I agree DW: it sure does look like it is deadly serious. Direct democracy where voters decide policies, not “representatives” would be a great start. For example we could have something like “do you support funding Israel and Israel’s illegal actions in Gaza?”

        But even many informed, highly intelligent people choose to ignore the hard truths and pretend that we have freedom and democracy, it is too difficult emotionally to admit this is all a sham, and to try and change things. So, we can get caught up in the freak-show and get lost in the forest for the trees.
        No matter which sociopath becomes the next POTUS or which duopoly faction controls Congress, the US will continue the decline that began several decades ago, and is now accelerating. The US is following a textbook pattern of the Rise And Fall of the Great Powers.

    2. jobs

      Vote for someone who is against genocide or don’t vote at all.
      If you vote for any of these 3 you are part of the problem.

      1. JonnyJames

        Yeah, but it’s much worse than that: It looks you intended to reply to someone else or don’t understand what I’m trying to say

        1. jobs

          I agree with what you said virtually completely, my point was that IF one is going to vote, don’t vote for someone who supports genocide. There are candidates that do not, Jill Stein being one of them.

          I also agree that it’s very unlikely we can vote our way out of this. The working class needs to learn to be solidary and how to mobilize and organize.

 seem to have some ideas.

  13. Boomheist

    Ross Perot is the only third party candidate who definitely, absolutely, robbed a two-party candidate of an election – HW Bush losing to Clinton. No question there. That one is never mentioned in all the fever hand wringing about Gore and Nader.

    For what it’s worth, and it isn’t much, I admit, it does seem I am hearing more and more outright frustration about endless wars and medical rip-offs and the plundering of the American dream. The idea of the RFK Jr ticket grabbing younger voters and fed up normal voters and a good number of people terrified about their medical future (ie medical costs), in addition to the growing number of anti-Genocide voters, does suggest his run might indeed be a spoiler. I heard from several people, blue collar and white collar, who watched Kennedy’s VP roll out who were truly energized and excited. I tried to watch it and lasted about ten minutes. The level of attack on his ticket from the DNC will be astounding to behold.

    Biden has an opportunity here, right before him, to match what the Pennsylvania governor did with that road collapse, fixing a highway bridge in record time, showing real delivery. That bridge that fell in Baltimore is blocking the shipping channel and as soon as they can lift away all the debris the channel can be reopened. If I were Biden I would move heaven and earth to get that work done, break every law on the books, bring to Baltimore heavy lift cranes on barges and get the work done, leave no stone unturned. Already we are reading how this will take months, that there are no heavy lift cranes nearby, etc etc, a litany of cannots. If Biden could clear that channel in a week or two it would be a huge win for him, a real demonstration that he is a can-do leader, that he can solve things, fix things, and this would support other infrastructure work, etc etc. But to do this means breaking some eggs, maybe a lot of eggs. There are only so many in-water floating barge cranes, and who knows how close to Baltimore the nearest ones are. In the meantime there should be divers and welders in the water cutting the fallen sections into manageable portions, etc etc, dangerous work, maybe even fatal work. Anyway, full-bore emergency call to action, now, rather than some kind of promise to pay for a future bridge down the line. The goddam port is closed, period. I worked on a ship there in 2015, MSC, at a berth now, like all the other berths there, trapped inside the harbor. Get the goddam channel open, period, and leave no stone unturned to do it. Break the law if need be, but get that steel out of the way so ships can come and go. If Biden did that – and I don’t think he is doing that because he hasn’t said anything like that yet and it’s been a couple days – but if he did that he would show ability to make progress, energy, a real outcome, something of benefit to the mainland USA (instead of sending billions overseas) and as such demonstrate leadership.

    I am not, unfortunately, holding my breath. That bridge/ship disaster – and by the way I have sailed on such ships and no, this wasn’t intentional, just a perfect storm of unforseen errors – is Biden’s best opportunity to show in real time how he can lead and get things done, and along the way quiet all the doubters out there who think he and the whole country has lost its way, and I think the gnawing fear we all share is that maybe it is no longer possible in this country to turn to a major problem and get the damn thing solved. I mean, if we can’t even clear a shipping channel within a couple of weeks to support a major east coast port how can we be expected to, for example, support an overseas military or rescue operation?

    Just sayin’.

    1. Pat

      Well this will show if something has huge corporate impact the Biden administration will pull out the stops. But considering their total disinterest in other less corporate emergencies, I am not holding my breath. Especially since some of the info coming down shows it would mean putting more foreign operation goals on hold to have the equipment they need for Baltimore.
      I may disagree that handling this well will stop the voter drift, but I think we can agree that if this is Covid, East Palestine, Maui response level that voter shift will accelerate. And considering where this disaster is and how many lives are going to be affected on a daily level a badly handled response could mean he doesn’t just have to worry about swing states.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      That one is never mentioned in all the fever hand wringing about Gore and Nader.

      The GOP and the Supreme Court stole a layup election. The handwringing about Nader was to keep donors from demanding explanations of the Team Blue courtiers for decisions like Lieberman as VP and rolling onto their backs during the recount.

    3. playon

      Where we live in northwest WA a freeway bridge collapsed 10 years ago when a truck with a load that was a couple of inches too high tried to cross it. The bridge was repaired in 28 days. This was a much simpler repair than what will be needed in Baltimore, but it shows that things can happen quickly, assuming the government is interested in getting it done ASAP. IMO Biden and Buttigieg should be making it a top priority.

    4. Ashburn

      Who needs heavy lift cranes to clear the bridge debris? Just get the team of Navy divers who blew up the NordStream pipeline to set the charges and break the bridge into smaller pieces. Could be cleared in a month.

    5. jobs

      Repairing the Key bridge would be a campaign PR stunt. Would he do it if no corporate interests were involved or it wasn’t an election year? Have we forgotten about East Palestine?

  14. David in Friday Harbor

    RFK Junior gives me the creeps, but I think that his candidacy hurts Trump more than it hurts Biden.

    My superficial impression of Nichole Shanahan is that she’s as much of a flake as Junior, but with Laurene Powell Jobs/Melinda Gates/Mackenzie Scott Bezos wanna-be fantasies (but not as much moolah).

    If the Dems actually talked with a Trump voter they would discover that many if not most aren’t enthusiastic about Trump at all. They are casting a “Oh hell no, f*ck y’all!” vote against their lived experience of oppression by the establishment.

    If Junior and Shanahan can get on the ballot in enough states, things might get very interesting!

    1. playon

      Nicole Shanahan’s net worth is somewhere around $10 billion — I wouldn’t call her a “wannabee”.

      1. Em

        Where did you see that. What I saw was that she asked for a billion in her divorce from Brin and settled for an undisclosed amount. That sounds like centimillionaire territory. I think she’s smart enough not to fork over her own money but it’ll be very easy for her to ask her rich friends for the “pocket change” of a few million here and there.

        Of the three above mentioned. Jobs is rich because her husband died leaving her his money. Scott (Bezos) because she married without a prenup before Bezos started Amazon. Melinda Gates is reputed to have about $2.5 billion and that’s a nice chunk of cash, but way less than Jobs or Scott.

  15. Lefty Godot

    Bush Sr. won with Dan Quayle as his VP, so Shanahan is not going to tank things for RFKjr. And she brings all that money to the table. Though it may be a turn-off for some of the “deplorables” (working class ex-Democrats). The calculus for this campaign is not that they are going to win the election as things stand now, but that they are poised to be the beneficiaries if things that stand now don’t last. Like one or both of the Republican and Democrat candidates kick the bucket or has a disabling stroke, or the election goes to the House of Representatives to be decided. And maybe the chances of any one of those is not great, but when you add them up you get enough of a chance that donors will support them. So it’s an opportunistic candidacy by a guy who seems like an opportunist and, despite saying some plausible things, not very principled. Maybe for those who don’t care much about genocide happening in far away Gaza (our US version of the “good Germans” we used to scorn), his candidacy is attractive.

    1. JustTheFacts

      In her first speech, she spoke about her mother being on food stamps when she was a kid, and her father having problems with substance abuse although trying his best. In other words, she knows how tough life can be for the working class, and wants to fix it… presumably that should help her in that demographic. She gives the impression of someone who worked hard and got lucky, but wants to use that luck to help others. Her worries about the environment and the pharma industry seem legit since her own kid has autism.

      Those who care about Gaza can choose the Green Party.
      Those who care about stopping the war in Ukraine can choose Trump or RFK Jr or the Green party
      Those who aren’t terribly impressed by the current pharmaceutical industry or how COVID killed more Americans than anyone else can choose RFK Jr
      Those who care about the environment can choose RFK Jr, the Greens or perhaps the Democrats.
      Those who care about the working class can choose Trump or RFK Jr, or the Greens.

      All of this suggests to me that RFK Jr might actually take quite a few votes from Trump (and the Greens) if his campaign takes off. Shanahan says she’s a data-nerd. If so, she’s presumably crunched the numbers and thinks RFK Jr is a worthwhile investment.

      1. deplorado

        Shanahan seems to have the strength-through-vulnerability projection skill perfected. The two videos of her I saw had the same trembling voice, some of the same phrases. I don’t trust that. She has swum with sharks all her adult life, and has come out on top. At best I see her as a health/environment activist, unproven one at that – but VP in a serious campaign – no. My gut sense is that she is an opportunist who is maxing out her talents. That goes to an extent for RFK Jr too I guess.

  16. ian

    The idea that both main candidates are equally bad (albeit for different reasons) is liberating: I can vote for a third party candidate with a clear conscience. As for Shanahan, I hever heard of her before, but I’m sure I will learn a lot more about her in the fullness of time.

  17. Tom Stone

    She’s cuter than Kamala and knows how to make a Billionaire happy, what other qualifications are necessary?
    Is she any less qualified than Cheeto Doofus or “I’m not as senile as what’s his name”?

    1. sleeplessintokyo

      Truly amazing that someone of her obvious intelligence should be thought of as unqualified given the people judged to be suitable for this job. tells me they are worried. She struck a chord when i listened to her.
      And to attack her for having an affair is really something else

  18. cousinAdam

    RFKjr’s position on Gaza and Israeli support is a deal breaker for me as well, but we need to remember that inside the Beltway, NOBODY gets on the wrong side of AIPAC. With his new running mate, he may be able to grow his war chest (sorry) and support base to the point where he can “tell them what time it is” and pledge to re-establish Camelot – whatever that means these days. I don’t forget the origins of the Kennedy Dynasty- grandpa Joe was a successful (and ruthless) “rum runner” during Prohibition who pushed his sons into politics (and greased the skids where he could) but hey, Americans have been infatuated with Mob culture for the last century, at least. Folks may go with “the devil they know”. I’ve suggested before that team D should consider replacing Harris with Gavin Newsom as a running mate. I don’t care for the guy, and living in California lately I can assure you I’m not alone but he can be “presidential” and a fine sock puppet if need be. Otherwise, team R is the likely winner probably aided by a third party effort. (Full disclosure, I gave up on being a Democrat thanks to Obama, the foreclosure fustercluck and Naked Capitalism, not necessarily in that order!)

  19. jobs

    With support for genocide being an immediate disqualifier for the presidency, it baffles me that anyone would prefer Biden, Trump or RFKjr over Jill Stein.

    But it explains perfectly why the US has devolved into a neoliberal hellhole.

    1. Em

      I listened to a few Stein interviews and she comes across as an intelligent, compassionate, and genuinely likeable human being. *They* won’t let her succeed, but she is someone that I can genuinely feel proud to vote for and hopefully build the Green Party fast enough that it won’t get completely subverted first.

      1. jobs

        That is my impression and hope as well.

        Support for genocide and the Israeli government committing it is a hard red line for me.

        LOTE voting is destroying the US.

        1. cousinAdam

          That and Citizens United opening the floodgates to unlimited campaign contributions. My previous comment just above notwithstanding, I will gladly “throw away my vote” and cast it for Jill Stein- she has survived previous campaigns unmarred by scandal or dirty tricks (afaik). Now if she could find a squillionaire running mate…….

          1. jobs

            Like Dr. Stein said at one point, “If enough people vote for me, I will win!”.

            However, the insane reality is that a candidate supporting a government that commits genocide is not an instant disqualifier for most US voters.

            The social rot in the US runs deep.

          2. Em

            If only Mackenzie Scott (Bezos) was genuinely interested in saving the world through philanthropy…

      2. Rip Van Winkle

        In 2016 when Stein wanted recounts in certain jurisdictions in Michigan it was Team Hillary who sued to put a stop to it, not Trump who won the state.

  20. SocalJimObjects

    The chances of Trump picking Ivanka as his running mate has increased considerably I would think, because America can NOT resist a hot blonde!!!

  21. arihalli

    What kind of ‘great’ reformer, as Kennedy, declares himself – would support a genocide? And what kind of VP candidate would support Kennedy? Controlled opposition.

    I will be voting for Jill Stein as a genuine reform candidate.

  22. ChrisRUEcon

    Thanks for this write-up! The after party fundraiser anecdote is insightful indeed!

    My take on Shanahan is this: Trump’s presidency showed an outsider can win. Silicon Valley would very much like to have its insider be a presidential outsider. But before you get top of the ticket… you gotta get on the ticket. I think this is a trial balloon of sorts. If the RFKJr/Shanahan ticket elicits substantial support, look for some Valley squillionaire to go top-of-ticket in ’28.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Back in 2017, there were some indications that Mark Zuckerberg was preparing to run for the presidency in a future election, although he himself denied it, but then again so many magazines were running articles on his possible political aspirations, one might be forgiven to think that when there’s smoke, there’s fire.

      Also, Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of HP did announce that she was running for President back in 2015.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        Ahhhhh yesss! How could I forget?! Ha!

        But to your Zuckerberg point – and yes, I remember that being floated – I think there is old school tech (prior generation) and the younger set like Zuck and Shanahan – the new(er) kids on the block as it were.

        It won’t be long now …

  23. GS

    Harking back to 2000, it was not that Clinton didn’t support Gore strongly, it was that Gore didn’t want to be seen with him. That was one heck of a disgraceful sex scandal for the day.

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