It's Harder For Some Republicans To Hop On The Hillary Bandwagon Than It Is For Others
Trump's most recent mail-order bride, the one he thinks would make a perfect First Lady, posing with a gun and a thong... nice boots. Not joining #GOPWomenWithHer
Marty Torrey, the head of Republicans for Hillary, wrote on the group's website that "The carnival atmosphere, media coverage, Twitter-based, and cash-crazy nature of this year’s election has thus far managed to avoid addressing what criteria matter most in the selection of our next President: experience, seriousness, intelligence, bipartisanship, global awareness. Yes party loyalty matters, but at this point in what will one day become our history, loyalty to country matters more."
The Republican Party establishment has spent so many years-- decades-- demonizing the Clintons that as much as it's partially inoculated her from even legitimate charges about her corruption and malfeasance in the eyes of normal people, it's made it intensely difficult for Republicans fleeing from the horrors of Trumpism to embrace her candidacy. That said, Ben Howe, a contributing editor of Red State said aloud what many Republicans are thinking: "I am a fiscal conservative and I am a social conservative. That will not change. But I will not vote for an egomaniacal authoritarian. Nope. #ImWithHer." Larry Pressler, a former Republican senator from South Dakota is thinking along the same lines: "I can’t believe I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, but I am…this morning, I woke up and told my wife, ‘Did I really do that?’ But I did…this election is starting to sound like the German elections in the late 1920s, this is a very dangerous national conversation we’re slipping into." Richard Armitage, George W. Bush's Deputy Secretary of State seems to understand that Hillary is more of a mainstream Republican than Trump is. "He doesn’t appear to be to be a Republican, he doesn’t appear to want to learn about issues. So I’m going to vote for Mrs. Clinton." One of the anchors of the Republican foreign policy establishment, Brent Scowcroft, who served as National Security Adviser to both Ford and Bush, is taking the extra step away from Trumpism as well: "The presidency requires the judgment and the knowledge to make tough calls under pressure. I believe Hillary Clinton has the wisdom and experience to lead our country at this critical time."
A few weeks ago Torrey, a retired US Navy Commander, sent out a Country Before Party letter to likely Republicans horrified by Trump and Trumpism, launching the website. "A campaign to pick a President shouldn’t be a made-for-TV brawl," he wrote. "Rather, selection should be about capabilities and experience." In a clear departure from one of Trumpism founding tenets, he declared that "Nobody makes money off www.gop4hrc.com. So if someone is looking to donate, or looking to advertise or make a buck, they should look elsewhere."
Torrey, who had been Chief of Staff for New York Republican Congressman John Sweeney, wrote that "My experience with then Senator Clinton and her staff was very positive and bipartisan. All interaction was straightforward and about getting things done for the people of New York and the country. A lot of the negatives I read and hear about Hillary Clinton during this campaign simply do not match up with my own experiences and interaction with her and those around her for over 15 years."
And that same attitude is inherent in the Clinton endorsement from Hank Paulson, George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary, the TARP guy, who had previously been Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs: "When it comes to the presidency, I will not vote for Donald Trump…I will not cast a write-in vote. I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton, with the hope that she can bring Americans together to do the things necessary to strengthen our economy, our environment and our place in the world."
Yesterday, CNN reported on another group of Republicans backing Clinton, Republican Women for Hillary. Chris Moody wrote about a steering committee meeting over glasses of wine and champagne at the swanky St. Regis Hotel in DC. "Five young Republicans busily brainstormed how they could help Hillary Clinton become the next president of the United States. The group included an unlikely gang of pro-Clinton foot soldiers, including a Mississippi-born Southern Baptist who got her start in GOP politics as an intern in the second Bush White House, a conservative health care policy analyst who has volunteered for anti-abortion causes and a former president of the Cornell University College Republicans." That shouldn't sound like too much of a push. After all, Hillary herself was a GOP activist into her twenties and was the president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans in her formative years. They share a lot of core conservative values with her but their motivation for jumping the partisan fence was to stop Trump.
"It's really important that Republican leaders, especially Republican women leaders, stand up right now and say we're not OK with Trump representing our party," said Jennifer Lim, a group founder who works at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has spent much of her life volunteering for Republican causes and campaigns. "This is not a position I ever wanted to find myself in. But it's important that when things like this happen that people speak up."These are not people likely to suddenly embrace progressive values and principles or back Democratic candidates beyond Hillary. And if someof them stick to the Democratic Party, they are likely to pull it towards the right the way party switchers like Patrick Murphy, Charlie Crist and... Hillary Clinton have.
Lim's role as a leader within the new group is independent of her day job. But earlier this week, the Chamber clashed with Trump over his embrace of protectionist trade policies, which the business group opposes.
Over the next several months, members of Republican Women for Hillary plan to provide cover for Republicans looking to speak out against Trump, whose surprising rise has torn the party apart.
Faced with a choice between Clinton and Trump, some Republicans have begrudgingly agreed to support him while others are simply opting out of the election. But for these women who founded the group, (and one man who has joined in solidarity), Trump's bombastic style, offensive rhetoric toward women and minorities, slapdash policy "suggestions" risk destroying the party.
This is the post-primary Never Trump movement in action. Their new organization, which is not affiliated with the Clinton campaign, is part support group and part activist hub: They intend to host off-the-record social events for like-minded conservatives and sponsor get-out-the-vote efforts for Clinton. They started in May by launching accounts on Facebook and Twitter and are planning to make an appearance at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia next month.
Making the switch to openly support a Clinton for president wasn't a decision they came to lightly, the group's members said.
"It has been tough for me to come to this point where I can vote for a candidate who has been very against what I've been working for for most of my professional career," said Meghan Milloy, who works for the conservative American Action Forum think tank and has formerly campaigned for Republicans like Trent Lott, Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour. "That being said, I can't vote for someone like Donald Trump because he's overtly racist and misogynist."
Lim said she intends to knock on doors, make phone calls for Clinton and will donate to the Democratic campaign, a step she has never taken in her life.
Which candidate is the bigger liar? It's not even close
Her temporary transition to Democratic volunteer might seem all too convenient at first: She was recently married to Tim Lim, the founder of a media buying firm called Precision that has a contract with the Clinton campaign. But, she said, her reasons for supporting Clinton are genuine and purely strategic. Her current activism is about stopping Trump from winning the general election, preserving the the Republican Party and the conservative values it promotes, she said.
"Our group isn't about selling Clinton. It's about using your vote to keep Trump out of office," Lim said. "We're not going to be in the business of convincing people that Hillary Clinton will be the savior of all of our policy issues. We're trying to convince people that your vote has a political and moral purpose, and it's important to use that."
"This was a long road for me to get here," she added.
It is Republican women like these that Clinton has made a concerted effort to reach during as part of her campaign.
Recent data suggest that it's working. National opinion polls show Clinton leading Trump among several demographic groups, notably women voters. Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post survey conducted in June found that 77 percent of women have an unfavorable view of Trump.
As for policy, there are only a few areas where the group's leaders said they could agree with Clinton, which mostly involves foreign policy and trade. More importantly, however, they see her as a reasonable person-- especially compared with the unpredictable Trump-- and someone Republicans could possibly work with.
"We can put our differences aside to have a safer option that's better for the country as a whole," Milloy said. "The fear of Donald Trump is, to me, more than the fear of Hillary raising capital standards on banks."