The House of Reps caucus continues to grow.
On Thursday morning, Representative Jamaal Bowman posted a video to Twitter bench-pressing 405 pounds for three repetitions.
“Be sure to always center your health and well-being as we fight to save democracy and humanity,” the New York representative tweeted. The caption seemed to be a reference to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s interesting video posted last week, in which the presidential candidate squeezed out non–fully extended pushups and 115 pound incline bench presses while donning only a pair of blue jeans.
While Bowman has not shied away from posting videos of himself lifting weights in the past, the most recent video seemed directed at Kennedy and any individuals who view the anti-vaxxer’s muscles as reason to trust him as an authority on health and wellness. The presidential candidate has projected himself as being health-centered in a way that other politicians are not (though Kennedy and his fans readily compare him to Biden, but not to Trump or DeSantis, curiously).
Bowman’s video gestures toward what is obvious: Being physically active is not tied to one strain of politics. You can lift weights and be needlessly contrarian against vaccines, like RFK Jr. You could also lift heavier weights and embrace the rigorous scientific method that helped create such world-changing vaccines in the first place.
A fair chunk of people hailing Kennedy’s candidacy do so on the grounds of his big muscles, or his apparent willingness to stand up against the establishment. He looks healthier than other politicians. He questions their authority. He’s against the grain. He’s a free-thinking, anti-establishment maverick. In “manosphere” terms, Kennedy is perceived as an “alpha.”
No politician warrants unconditional praise or fandom. But if anyone does warrant intrigue or admiration for being a maverick who also happens to lift a lot of weight, perhaps RFK Jr. fans could mull things over. After all, Bowman—a school principal who ousted a 32-year career politician and has bothered conservative and liberal power interests alike while advocating for anti-war, pro-worker, and pro–green energy policies—might be higher up on the list than a guy whose main character trait is spreading flimsy arguments against giving people medicine for life-threatening diseases.