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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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    Why I have changed my mind on Nicole Shanahan

    On March 26, 2024, Independent Presidential candidate Robert (Bobby) F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK) announced that Silicon Valley lawyer Nicole Shanahan would be his Vice Presidential pick for his 2024 campaign. The pick was shocking and was met with very mixed reactions, primarily for being “far-left.” I initially hated the pick and began reconsidering my stance on Kennedy’s campaign entirely; however, after listening to her and considering his choice from a different perspective, I believe this is a great choice for several reasons.

    Earlier in March, in what was likely a PR stunt, the New York Times said that Kennedy was seriously considering former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and New York Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The stunt was a huge success, giving him headlines in at least 12 mainstream legacy media outlets, giving him recognition that he had not previously had. In the weeks leading up to his official announcement, many began to speculate that he would choose Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe. Shortly before the announcement, it was leaked that the pick would be Nicole Shanahan, who donated $4 million to fund Kennedy’s Super Bowl ad.

    Shanahan is a wealthy lawyer, previously married to Google founder Sergey Brin. After their divorce over an alleged affair with Elon Musk, Shanahan requested $1 billion in settlements. In her political career, she donated $25 thousand to the disastrous, soft-on-crime Soros-backed DA George Gascon. She was said to have donated significant money to the controversial Measure J, which reroutes money from law enforcement to progressive alternatives. Shanahan spent just under $100 thousand on a passing initiative to release violent felons early. In recent years, she has supported Hillary Clinton, donated $30 thousand to Joe Biden, and frequently donated to congresswoman Ro Khanna. In her “acceptance” speech, she said that she had left the Democratic party after seeing that it “has lost its way.” Many of Kennedy’s more “right” leaning supporters consider her “radically far-left,” confirming their fears that Kennedy was indeed a Democrat all along.

    This pick could be detrimental to Kennedy’s chances in November, who, before the pick, was polling in the 30 percent among many important voter demographics. While many believe that Kennedy will take more votes from Biden than Trump, he still needs the support of Libertarians, right-leaning independents and disillusioned ex-Trump supporters to have a chance. With this pick, Kennedy effectively isolated up to 2/3rds of his voters, who now feel he is too “far-left” for their vote. The disappointment across platforms like X showed that many, if not most, of the anti-left voters had stopped considering him. This is not the first blunder of his campaign; as 46 percent of Democrats disapprove of the war in Gaza, the supposedly only anti-war candidate in the race took the side of Israel. While Kennedy’s momentum has not stopped, his chance for a landslide victory in November is over. However, Shanahan does have a number of redeeming qualities. If many like myself had not turned the livestream off in disappointment and anger, the conversation might have been a lot different.

    Shanahan aligns with Kennedy in many ways and sends a message to a vital voter group in which Kennedy does not have much sway. Some of the most loyal and hardcore democratic voters, least likely to vote for Kennedy, are women like Shanahan: young to Middle-aged, progressive moms and women. Shanahan shows that it is possible and reasonable to leave the democratic party in hopes of a more inspiring, intelligent visionary who has a better chance to make a change in the issues that progressives and liberals care about. The mainstream media has painted Kennedy as a crazy conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, which most people believe without giving him the chance to explain himself. In her acceptance speech, Shanahan said she had dismissed Kennedy until her friend told her to listen to just one interview; after listening, she realized that his ideas were not crazy nor unfounded; “the person I saw in these interviews was the exact opposite of his media slander of his character. I saw a person of intelligence, compassion and of reason. I saw a fellow lawyer who had committed himself to finding the truth and for fighting for the environment and for people. I discovered a person who speaks on issues that are critically important for human health and for welfare. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt hope for our democracy again.” She could inspire others to follow in her footsteps, potentially making this a genius political move for Kennedy in the long term, who could tap into a voter group he may not have otherwise been able to reach.

    Shanahan has a young daughter who was diagnosed with autism. This led Shanahan down a path of research, which led her to believe that the “epidemic of chronic diseases” plaguing our country is based on three things: toxic substances in our food, water and soil, Electromagnetic pollution and pharmaceuticals. Kennedy is the only candidate in the race with any kind of strong, intelligent, or change-oriented stance on these issues. She says, “Our children are not well, our people are not well and our country will not be well for too long if we don’t heed this call for attention.” Shanahan says that she is fed up with the government officials– whom she has been in contact with –who recognize the problems but do nothing to fix them. Shanahan says that the only candidate she has met who takes it seriously is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Shanahan plans to use her background in tech to help solve the chronic disease epidemic. Using AI technology monitored by top technologists and scientists, they will scan the health records databases of all nations trying to solve chronic diseases, hoping to find the answers within weeks rather than decades. Shanahan also calls for safety studies on the simultaneous use of multiple pharmaceutical drugs and numerous childhood vaccinations- none of which we have right now.

    After visiting the border in early April, Shanahan said in an X post, “I’ll be honest: I didn’t understand the gravity of the crisis at the border until today when I sat with NGO leaders who are on the front lines in Yuma, Arizona. This is a human trafficking crisis impacting the lives of millions. The good people of Yuma are shouldering the costs. This should not be a political issue because maintaining a border is a fundamental duty of a sovereign nation. It doesn’t matter what your political party is – this is your job if you’re in government.” The general reaction in the comments was negative, with most wondering how it took her so long to realize the true severity of what is happening on our northern and southern borders. This highlights a greater problem within the divide in American mainstream politics. In our climate, we need more humility and forgiveness; if we want to change minds — either way– we must be welcoming to those who recognize their wrongs. It is a sign of a leader to admit when they are wrong, and it shows me the real authenticity of the character Nicole Shanahan.

    While I may harshly disagree with most of Shanahan’s political track record, I will move past it. Shanahan was given a lot of money after divorcing one of the wealthiest men in the world, and with that money, she tried to inspire, and fund change– in the way she thought was best. I think that her intentions are genuine and that she has been misguided as many of us have. Shanahan invites “disillusioned republicans to join [her] a disillusioned democrat in this movement to unify and heal America.”

    Kennedy’s message has always been to heal the divide; instead of constantly attacking and belittling his opponents, he focuses on his own message, those of substance, unity and hope. This feels like a truly independent pick—not partisan, but of money and control. It feels like Kennedy just really likes Nicole Shanahan, her ideas, her story and what she symbolizes. America is hopeless if we continue to further the divides in our country, states, cities, neighborhoods and homes. We must welcome everyone with changed and open minds to escape the two-party monopoly in politics and work together for a better future.

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