Four years ago, when Donald Trump faced off against Hillary Clinton, there were many Republicans who were uncomfortable with Trump as their candidate. Despite that, they couldn’t bring themselves to cast a ballot for Clinton, so they reluctantly gave their vote to Trump, thinking he wouldn’t be that bad as president.
But as Ohioan Matt Borges notes, that was a big mistake.
In 2016, Borges was head of the Ohio Republican Party, and he publicly criticized candidate Trump. But when Election Day rolled around, Borges held his nose and gave his vote to Trump. He told NBC News he now deeply regrets that decision and won’t make the same mistake again:
“Nothing was going to get me to vote for Hillary Clinton. I grew up in this business learning to fight against everything the Clintons were for. I knew her, and in my mind, I knew what a Clinton presidency was going to be like. A lot of folks are like me. They understand that Joe Biden isn’t the same kind of candidate.”
That raises a question which has to be haunting the 2020 Trump campaign: Could the biggest reason Trump fails to win a second term in office come from inside the GOP?
Another Republican with buyer’s remorse is Tim Miller, who once served as a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. Now he’s formed the super PAC Republican Voters Against Trump. Miller explained the reason for his PAC:
“What we wanted to create is a movement among rank-and-file Republicans to give them a sense of community and a sense of encouragement from walking away from this president. (That will) create a permission structure for them to say for the first, maybe only, time that they won’t vote for a Republican.”
Trump remains highly popular within the Republican Party, but polls show that many independents who voted for Trump in 2016 are ready to help elect Biden. And the most recent New York Times/Siena University poll revealed that only 61 percent of self-identified Republicans said they think the country is on the right track with Trump as president. But that’s not the only bad news in the numbers:
“The president’s support among the groups that were key to his win in 2016 — seniors, non-college-educated whites and men — has also been shrinking in multiple polls over the past two months.”
The 2020 election may well be similar to 2016: The race could come down to a few thousand votes in a several key battleground states. And if so, even a few Republicans voting for Biden or refusing to cast a ballot for Trump could make all the difference. That’s what Tim Miller is counting on:
“If you were for Trump last time and you write in Ronald Reagan this time, that is plus one for Joe Biden.”
And that alone could make Biden the 46th President of the United States.