Opinion | Terrified Parents, New Age Health Nuts, MAGA Exiles. Meet the R.F.K. Jr. Faithful.

“The globalists want you to be fat, sick, depressed, and isolated — the better to control you and to milk you for as much economic value as they can, before they kill you,” a pseudonymous far-right figure who goes by Raw Egg Nationalist said on the 2022 Tucker Carlson special “The End of Men.”

Kennedy’s conservationism can sound a lot like that of Raw Egg Nationalist. His commitment to the environment is tempered by paranoia about federal government power that makes him suspicious of regulation. Climate change “is being used as a pretext for clamping down totalitarian controls, the same way the Covid crisis was, and it’s the same people,” he said in a campaign video featuring Jordan Peterson, the anti-woke psychologist and author. Dismissing the efficacy of a “war on carbon,” Kennedy said he’d approach energy issues using “free markets and not top-down control.”

Because of his hostility to the state, Kennedy’s environmentalism often manifests as a belief in the redemptive power of healthy living and closeness to nature, which Shanahan shares. This ethos that helps explain Shanahan’s much-publicized criticism of I.V.F. “I believe I.V.F. is sold irresponsibly, and my own experience with natural childbirth has led me to understand that the fertility industry is deeply flawed,” she wrote in People. She’s interested in low-cost, organic alternatives. “I’m not sure that there has been a really thorough mitochondrial respiration study on the effects of two hours of morning sunlight on reproductive health,” she said on a panel last year. “I would love to fund something like that.” Hearing this, I couldn’t help thinking of Carlson’s promotion, on his “End of Men” special, of testicle tanning to raise testosterone levels.

Of course, even though the Kennedy camp has a lot in common with the esoteric new right, Kennedy could still siphon Democratic votes from Biden. A lot of undecided voters don’t follow politics closely, and some who are unhappy about their major-party choices may find themselves drawn to Kennedy’s mythic last name and green-seeming, anti-establishment pitch.

“Anything that splits up the anti-Trump coalition hurts Biden,” said Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump conservative pollster who regularly asks about Kennedy in focus groups. As she sees it, the largest group of persuadable voters in 2024 are the so-called double haters, those who disapprove of both Trump and Biden. “My experience over the years in the focus groups is that when Trump is top of mind for people, people who dislike both him and Biden end up disliking Trump more,” said Longwell. Kennedy, she fears, could give people who might otherwise reluctantly vote for Biden an off-ramp from making a dispiriting decision.

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