My first in-person introduction to the cult of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., occurred unexpectedly last month, when my wife and I disembarked from the annual cruise-conference hybrid, Summit at Sea, in Miami, for an impromptu post-confab party on a yacht populated by Bitcoin enthusiasts. It was like a timewarp back to mid 2022, before digital currencies began to collapse, NFTs petered out, crypto platforms went bankrupt, and S.B.F. pottered around his parents’ house with an ankle monitor. In the Miami of 2023, the Bitcoin craze lives on, and lives strong.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only topic that was discussed more rapturously than crypto was the political aspirations of R.F.K., the conspiracy-pushing Democratic presidential challenger, who had just given the keynote at a nearby Bitcoin conference. Several of the attendees could not stop discussing how powerful and moving the speech had been. They described people crying in the audience. One person was wearing a Kennedy ’24 cap.
I admit that I found all this extremely odd. And so later that night, back at my hotel, I watched R.F.K.’s keynote with my wife and a friend of ours. I was hoping to experience the rapture relayed to us earlier that day. I did not. But I did start to understand why people felt so moved, even if I didn’t agree.