Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College Reuters / BRIAN SNYDER

Independent presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. (RFK) is seeking to bolster his standing with the Latino community, using his uncle John F. Kennedy's historic support with the demographic, Axios reported on Thursday.

The initiative includes registering voters under RFK's We the People Party, ads in Spanish and the setting up of clubs across the country. The outlet recalled that RFK's father helped set up Viva Kennedy! clubs for his brother during his presidential run, helping to register Mexican American and Puerto Rican voters.

Kennedy will be on the ballot in at least four states and is seeking to appear in at least two others, Georgia and Arizona, both of them with large Latino populations. The goal is to emulate to some extent his uncle's support with the demographic. JFK got 90% of Latino voters in some states, the 1960 elections being the first time in which they played a significant role in tipping the scale in some states.

However, the scenario is quite different this time. RFK is not representing one of the two major parties and his long-shot bid has been marked by criticism to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories spread throughout the past years.

A poll tracker average by The Hill and Decision Desk currently has RFK with just over 10% of the support, compared to Joe Biden's 38.4% and Donald Trump's 40.2%. His overall support has been steadily declining since at least October of last year, when the figure was 19%.

But even if RFK doesn't get close to winning any of the states in which he will be in the ballot, votes that go his way could help tip the scale to Biden or Trump's favor. At the moment, aggregated data from Split Ticket shows Biden with a seven percentage point lead among Latinos.

However, this is a much smaller difference than before, and trends show it continues to shrink, with a NYT/Siena College poll from March showing the former president with a six percentage point lead over the current one, 46 to 40%.

In this context, the president launched "Latinos con Biden-Harris" an outreach program of his own. He spent the past few days in targeted campaign events with this purpose. "I need you back," Biden told a group of supporters in a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, AP reported on Wednesday He added that Latinos are the reason why he beat Donald Trump in 2020, and that he needs to emulate that support in November this year to win reelection.

State of the Union
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the 2023 State of the Union address. AFP

The president focused on Trump's derogatory rhetoric toward Latinos, recalling several events over the past years and specifically mentioning his claims that migrants are "poisoning the blood of our country." "I never heard a president say the things that he has said," Biden during a passage of the event.

Earlier on that day, Biden gave an an interview to a Univision radio show, in which he also highlighted the importance of the demographic and criticized his presumptive contender's approach.

Trump, on his end, has not presented any specific programs related to Latinos. He has been winning support over the years nonetheless, seeing an increase from 28% in 2016 to 36% in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2022, Republicans got 39 percent of the Latino vote, the highest percentage since 2004.

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