At GR rally, RFK Jr. says he can reunite the nation

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the 2024 presidential race shaping up to be a rematch of the 2020 election, polling indicates many Americans are not enthused about another Biden-Trump matchup. But with no significant Democratic challenge to the sitting president, Joe Biden, and with Donald Trump far and away leading in the Republican race, that appears to be where this election is heading.

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The road to the White House has long come through Michigan. The same will be true again in 2024, with Republicans and Democrats fighting over those important electoral votes to make sure they ultimately win in November. But Saturday, another voice — a man who says he is no longer affiliated with any party — spoke to a packed house at St. Cecilia Music Center in downtown Grand Rapids about how he thinks he can bring the country together.

He starts by bringing one of the most storied names in U.S. political history with him. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., part of the family that created a Democratic dynasty for decades, told a standing-room-only crowd he is no longer a Democrat and is offering himself up as an alternative to the current politics as usual.

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From warning against an unsustainable debt to a housing crisis that takes away the dream of owning a home for many, Kennedy explained why he believes he can reunite a nation that he says is divided.

The environmental attorney also talked about the United States being the “sickest” in the world due to pollutants in the water and atmosphere.

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In a conversation with News 8 political reporter Rick Albin before the event, Kennedy explained what motivated him to run.

The 70-year-old Kennedy said, “I’m running because I think our country has departed from its ideals and values that I grew up with. When I grew up, when I was a little boy, our country had an industrial base. The American middle class was the greatest economic engine in the history of the globe. We had moral authority across the world. Our country was beloved. I traveled with my father all over the world, and crowds of millions of people would come out because they loved their country. That’s no longer true. We have a generation of American kids that are not going to ever be able to afford a home — that’s wrong. Nobody else is talking about that.”

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The Democrat-turned-independent also has some serious reservations about what’s happening on the southern border and believes that needs to change, too, along with a number of other issues he raised during his speech.

Kennedy will face some obstacles trying to get to the White House — first in getting his name on ballots in every state across the country, and second in the historically poor showing that independent and third-party candidates have had when it comes to the presidential election. But with a full house in Grand Rapids Saturday, attendees seem to have found an alternative to Republicans and Democrats.

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