Jaime Kardontchik

The path of Robert F. Kennedy Jr to the US presidency

Can RFK Jr, the candidate of the newly formed Independent party, get the needed 270 votes in the Electoral College to win the presidency in the coming November 2024 elections?

Wrong question: RFK Jr does not need 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. All that RFK Jr needs to pass the hurdle of the Electoral College, is to win enough electors in the Electoral College so that: 1) neither Biden nor Trump will get 270 electoral votes; and 2) RFK Jr gets enough electoral votes to come third, after Biden and Trump.

If that happens, since no candidate won a majority of votes in the Electoral College (270 out of 538), then – according to the US Constitution [1] – the decision of who will be the next President of the United States goes to the new elected House of Representatives, meeting in January 2025, who will have to choose, through a vote, the next President of the United States from the slate formed by: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And here, in the new elected Congress, RFK Jr has a chance to be nominated the next President by a consensus of 26 states (out of the 50 states of the Union.)

There are precedents in the US history [2]: For example, in 1825, Andrew Jackson won 99 votes in the Electoral College, John Quincy Adams won 85, and William Crawford got 41 votes (the Electoral College had then a smaller total number of electors.). The decision went to the House of Representatives, who chose John Quincy Adams, who had gotten a second place in the Electoral College, as the next president.

The key: 1-vote-per-state rule

According to the US Constitution, in this vote to elect the President, each state has only one vote, no matter the size of the state or the number of representatives it has in Congress, and a simple majority of states must support one candidate of the slate, for this candidate to become the next President (that is 26 states, out of the 50 states, must vote for one candidate, for him to become the next President)

The weaknesses of the candidates Trump and Biden

Here – while the new Congress will be deliberating in January 2025 – the public opinion might tilt the scale in favor of RJK Jr, since many US voters do not like the choice between Trump and Biden, each carrying significant negative burdens and perceptions, and would prefer another candidate for the US Presidency. Not to mention other, harder, circumstances: Donald Trump might still be embroiled with the courts or even in jail in January 2025, when the newly elected Congress will meet; and Joe Biden will be approaching 82 years, and might find himself with significant health problems and not in a position to carry the responsibilities of the presidency.

The strengths of RFK Jr

RFK Jr has a proven record of fighting for key marginalized communities: Latinos, Blacks and Native Americans. He has a keen understanding and empathy towards the Jewish people and the State of Israel [3]. Including the Jews in the same category as the Latinos, Blacks and Native Americans, and revitalizing the affinities between these communities and their common struggles, as sought by his father, RFK Sr, may be a winning strategy for RFK Jr too. As noted in [3], including the Jews in this group – as they were in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights Movement struggles – would seem at first odd: Jews do not constitute today an underserved community. But the Jews are not a privileged community either: they are a persecuted community – as the massacre of more than thousand Jews in a single day on Israeli soil, at the hands of Hamas on October 7th 2023, and the latest unhinged antisemitic events at the universities’ campuses and cities across the US and in Europe, have clearly shown.

Historically, Jews voted for the Democrats, but – disillusioned by the muted response of the Democratic party [*] to the antisemitism prevailing in the educational institutions – Jews may opt to support the Independent party and vote in the November 2024 elections for RFK Jr and, by doing so, they may change the traditional election results in key states.

[*] “muted response of the Democratic party” meaning: “You are on your own, we do not want to antagonize our base of ‘progressive’ and Muslim supporters: we need their votes in November 2024. Hire a private lawyer to defend your Jewish child in K12 school and college. Sue the school, and good luck!” (This is already happening in K12 schools in my state, California, and well before October 7th, 2023, as I described in [4])

What should be the strategy of RFK Jr’s party?

RFK Jr strategy should be to optimize two outcomes: 1) get a significant number of electors in the Electoral College, so that no party gets 270 electors, and he becomes the third choice in the Electoral College; and 2) RFK Jr’s party must win seats in the congressional districts of key states, so it will also be represented in the new Congress and have a voice there when the time will come for the decisive vote in the Congress to choose the next President of the United States.

Path of RFK Jr to the 26-states

Given the of 1-vote-per-state rule, the strategy that Robert F. Kennedy Jr should follow is to concentrate the “get-the-vote” efforts of his Independent party in two sets of states:

1) States with only one or two representatives in Congress. Examples are: Alaska (1), Delaware (1), Hawaii (2), Idaho (2), Maine (2), Montana (2), New Hampshire (2), North Dakota (1), Rhode Island (2), South Dakota (1), West Virginia (2), Wyoming (1).

2) States that presently have either an equal number of Republican and Democratic representatives, like Minnesota (4R, 4D) and North Carolina (7R, 7D); or states that have almost an equal number of Republican and Democratic representatives in Congress: Colorado (3R, 5D), Kansas (3R, 1D), Michigan (6R, 7D), Mississippi (3R, 1D), Nevada (1R, 3D), North Carolina (7R, 7D), Oregon (2R, 4D), Pennsylvania (8R, 9D), Virginia (5R, 6D).

In all the above states, even the voice of one Independent representative in the newly elected Congress could have a decisive role under the 1-vote-per-state rule.

Notice that in the present Congress there is almost an equal division between Republicans and Democrats: 26 states have a Republican majority of Representatives, 22 states have a Democratic majority, and 2 states have an equal number of Republican and Democratic Representatives. If the Independent party could gain some representatives in key states, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will have a majority of 26 states in the new elected Congress in the November 2024 elections, which could favor the election of RFK Jr as a consensus candidate.

An example: Michigan

Let us take the example of Michigan: (6R, 7D) means that presently the state of Michigan is represented in Congress by 6 Republican representatives and 7 Democratic representatives. If in the coming November 2024 elections, the Independent party supporting the nomination of RFK Jr, will get about 15% of the vote in Michigan, which is an attainable target, then it might be able to switch two Congressional seats to the Independent party. In that case, the composition of the Representative slate of Michigan in January 25 might become (6R,5D,2I) or (5R,6D,2I), where the letter “I” stands for “Independent”. Then, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will have a majority (7 out of 13), and, under the 1-vote-per-state rule, RFK Jr might become the consensus candidate of Michigan, and get the vote of this state in Congress in January 2025.

Another example; California

California is a large state. It is represented in the Electoral College by 54 electors, and sends 52 Representatives to Congress. Presently, it is a (12R, 40D) representation in Congress. It is reasonable to assume that the Democratic party will get the popular vote in California in the coming November 2024 elections, and all the 54 electors will go to Biden.

California will not be a “get-the-vote” state: California will be a “get-the-funding” state. Both Democrats and Republicans leaders come to California frequently, not to talk to people, but to donors. Due to the many and difficult tasks ahead for RFK Jr, it will be wise if the Independent party will do the same, and concentrate its “get-the-vote” effort in other states, or only in a few viable Congressional districts in California, to get some Independent Representatives from the state of California in Congress.

The Electoral College barrier

Let us not forget that the first step in this process is to get electors in the Electoral College. Here the rule is: the party that gets the most votes in a state gets all the electors allocated to that state (a “winner takes all” approach). This would suggest that the Independent party should concentrate a special effort in the small states to gain electors for the Electoral College, since it could use there an effective door-to-door campaign to get the vote, without the need of big pockets to finance it.

Two special cases are the states of Nebraska and Maine. Nebraska gets 5 electors in the Electoral College. Two electors are assigned by the standard procedure (the “winner takes all” approach, the party that gets overall the most votes in the state gets these 2 electors). But the remaining 3 electors are assigned differently: In Nebraska there are 3 congressional districts, and the party that wins a congressional district gets also an elector in the Electoral College. Presently Nebraska is a (3R,0D) state. If the Independent party could flip one congressional district from R to I, then, not only it will get a Representative in Congress, but also an elector in the Electoral College.

The same procedure is followed in the state of Maine, which has a total of 4 electors in the Electoral College (Maine has two congressional districts.). Here, again, it will be wise for the Independent part to organize a “get-the-vote” campaign in Maine, to try to get 3 or 4 electors for the Electoral College, or at least 1 elector, by winning one congressional district.

Trivia question: How many electors has a state in the Electoral College?

Answer: The number of electors that a state has equals to the sum of the number of representatives it has in the Senate (each state has 2 Senators) and in the House (the number of Representatives that a state has in Congress is proportional to its population.)

Example: California has 2 senators in the Senate and 52 Representatives in the House. Hence, California has 54 electors in the Electoral College.


Note: The above analysis is based on a “worst case” scenario, a terminology used by engineers, who design products that should work under worst stipulated environmental and fabrication conditions. Of course, there are other scenarios. One “best case” scenario is that either Joe Biden or Donald Trump will collapse before the elections, leaving RFK Jr to confront alone either Trump or Biden, in which case all bets are off, with one polling firm (John Zogby Strategies) suggesting that RFK Jr would beat Trump if Biden withdraws.

My own private polling indicates that there is a great interest within the intellectual community at the US universities in knowing RFK Jr’s position on hot topics: Since I published my book “Robert F. Kennedy Jr: On Jews and Israel” on April 15 (3 weeks ago), hundreds of professors and graduate students downloaded the free available version of the book.


[1] Amendment XII of the Constitution of the United States of America (adopted in year 1804)

[2] “Electoral College & Indecisive Elections”, in History, Art & Archives of the United States House of Representatives:

[3] Jaime Kardontchik, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr: On Jews and Israel”. The book is available for free download at:

(The book is also available at Amazon, in eBook and paperback formats.)

[4] Jaime Kardontchik, “Boycott of Israel is wrong: How to fight it”. This book is available for free download at:

(It is also available at Amazon, in eBook and paperback formats.)

About the Author
Jaime Kardontchik has a PhD in Physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He lives in the Silicon Valley, California.
Related Topics
Related Posts