RFK Jr. Picks Tech Lawyer Nicole Shanahan as 2024 VP Candidate

Kennedy's Campaign Ignites With a Historic Venue Selection.

by Nouman Rasool
RFK Jr. Picks Tech Lawyer Nicole Shanahan as 2024 VP Candidate
© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and a figure known for his controversial views on vaccines, has chosen Nicole Shanahan, a prominent figure in the tech industry and a philanthropist, as his vice-presidential running mate.

This decision marks a pivotal moment in Kennedy's independent bid for the presidency, introducing a fresh dynamic into the race that might disrupt the traditional two-party competition for the White House. During an eventful campaign announcement in Oakland, California—Shanahan's birthplace—Kennedy lavished praise on Shanahan's extensive experience in the tech sector, particularly highlighting her insights into the intricacies of how artificial intelligence is leveraged by major corporations to influence public opinion.

Shanahan, the founder and former CEO of the legal technology company ClearAccessIP and a fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Legal Informatics, was portrayed by Kennedy as a crucial ally in his campaign against the pervasive influence of big tech in government and society.

Kennedy, 70, who belongs to the illustrious Kennedy political dynasty, also emphasized Shanahan's youth and vigor as a refreshing contrast to the older candidates in the field, including 81-year-old President Joe Biden and 77-year-old Donald Trump.

This move seeks to resonate with younger voters disillusioned with the current political discourse and anxious about their future.

Symbolic Venue Choice

The choice of venue for the announcement, the Henry J Kaiser Center for the Arts in Oakland—a historical site with its own tale of resilience and revival—added a symbolic depth to Kennedy's message.

The event was not just a platform for introducing Shanahan but also served as a gathering that highlighted Kennedy's support for underrepresented communities, showcased through the participation of the local Muwekma Ohlone tribe and various speakers addressing public health and freedom of expression.

However, Kennedy's campaign has stirred concerns among Democrats who fear his candidacy could siphon votes away from Biden, potentially tipping the scales in a tight race. Polls suggest Kennedy could capture a significant portion of the electorate, reflecting a broader dissatisfaction with the established political order.

Critics from both ends of the political spectrum have voiced skepticism about Kennedy's and Shanahan's campaign. Accusations of promoting dangerous conspiracy theories and a lack of political experience have been levied against them, underscoring the polarized reaction to their bid.

Despite these challenges, Kennedy and Shanahan are pressing forward, positioning themselves as champions of a movement aimed at breaking the current political duopoly and restoring faith in American democracy.