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Will the ‘Dark Horse’ Do It? A New Obstacle on Trump’s Path to the Presidency

As the race to the White House heats up, former U.S. President Donald Trump faces a minefield of obstacles, despite his lead in the polls.

Trump, who was indicted in late May on 34 charges of falsifying business records to conceal payments made to silence a former adult film actress about an alleged sexual affair, now faces a new challenge that may be insurmountable.

According to “The National Interest,” the former president is contending with a significant hurdle in the form of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s entry as an independent candidate, which could further alter the dynamics of the election. Although Trump’s felony conviction for falsifying business records to cover up a hush-money payment has complicated his campaign, it has energized his base, leading to an uptick in donations.

Trump has raised nearly $53 million since the verdict, narrowing the fundraising gap with his rival, Joe Biden. Polls show a close race, with Trump leading in key swing states but facing potential setbacks as 10% of Republican voters might be less inclined to support him following the verdict.

A Fox News poll released late Thursday shows Trump leading Biden by five points in two key battleground states – Nevada and Arizona – where the former president has a 50% to 45% lead in the former and a 51% to 46% lead in the latter, despite these states choosing Biden in 2020.

Trump’s recent conviction has had little impact on voters in either state, but a New York Times poll suggests that the ruling could be significant at least.

So, do the coming months hold any surprises? “The National Interest” suggests that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might be the biggest wildcard or “dark horse” in the 2024 election, potentially having a substantial impact on some key battleground states.

A Fox News poll indicates that Trump could lose 10% of the vote in Virginia to the son of the late New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, compared to just 7% for Biden.

In the Old Dominion state, Biden currently holds a three-point lead over Trump—51% to 48%—so Kennedy’s candidacy could disproportionately affect Trump‘s chances there. Although Virginia has historically been considered a swing state, it has leaned Democratic since 2008.

Kennedy, who initially attempted to run as a Democrat before entering the race as an independent, could also aid Biden in other key battleground states, particularly Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan—states that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 but swung to Biden four years later. Last month, Republican strategist Karl Rove warned that Kennedy could siphon voters away from Trump, highlighting the tightness of the race this time around.

The American publication concluded its report by stating that while Trump‘s recent conviction has helped him raise much-needed funds and mobilized his electoral base, Kennedy might serve as an appealing option for independents who are not enthusiastic about either Trump or Biden.

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