Robert F Kennedy Jr shakes up US presidential race with surprise running mate pick

The presumptive independent US presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr has chosen lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, in a move that could potentially upend the current race between President Joe Biden and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Kennedy, a scion of the influential political family, has little chance of winning given the obstacles faced by third-party candidates. No candidate outside the Republican or Democratic parties has won the presidency since the 1850s. But his candidacy has already created a media buzz, attracting attention for both its potential to split the anti-Trump vote and Kennedy's reputation as a prominent environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist.

He has projected himself as a political outsider and blames "corporate kleptocracy" for many of America's ills. He has also attracted voters who are disillusioned both with Trump and Biden, hoping to steal votes from both candidates.

His family, barring some of his cousins, have disowned him, stating that they "denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country."

RFK Jr stands for environmental reform, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and removing corporate influence from politics. He has also spoken against Trump's plan to build a border wall with Mexico and criticised Biden's handling of the border crisis.

He opposes aid to Ukraine, blaming the US and NATO for the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

His views on vaccine misinformation, abortion, and the Israel-Palestine conflict are contradictory and seem to depend on whom he is targeting as his audience.

He will appear on the ballot in only a few states, and independent analysts consider his chances of success extremely slim. Still, he could potentially influence the outcome by stealing votes from Biden and Trump.

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