Joey Garrison writes for USA Today about Biden supporters’ campaign against Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Haunted by election spoilers of the past, President Joe Biden’s Democratic allies have mobilized against Robert F. Kennedy Jr., intent on stopping his independent presidential bid from dooming Democrats in November.

On the 2024 campaign trail, Biden has ignored Kennedy, the anti-vaccine activist and son of deceased liberal icon Robert F. Kennedy, as he focuses solely on Donald Trump, the former president and presumptive Republican nominee.

But behind the scenes, the Democratic National Committee recently hired a team of attorneys, led by Dana Remus, Biden’s former White House counsel, to monitor Kennedy’s efforts to get his name on ballots of key battleground states before upcoming spring and summer qualifying deadlines.

And the DNC has expanded operations to paint Kennedy as a radical conspiracy theorist, rejected even by his family, whose campaign serves one purpose: boosting Trump’s chances. Democrats are convinced much of the electorate isn’t aware of Kennedy’s controversial positions and theories or that he’s boosted financially by a Trump Super PAC’s largest donor.

“We’re not taking anything for granted. No one wants to see what happened in 2000 and 2016 happen this time around, so we’re putting pieces in place early,” said Matt Corridoni, a DNC spokesman.

Seven months from the election, Kennedy has the support of 11.7% of likely voters, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. That doesn’t make him a serious contender to win the election. But Kennedy’s current double-digit standing is more than enough to swing outcomes in battleground states.

Democrats still blame Green Party nominee Jill Stein in 2016 for taking progressive votes away from Hillary Clinton, potentially costing Clinton Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump. In 2000, consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader won more than 97,000 votes in Florida, significantly greater than the margin of George W. Bush’s victory over Al Gore in the state that gave Bush his victory.