‘Never Trump’ Republicans Shouldn’t Influence the Biden Administration


Just hours after former Vice President Joe Biden clinched enough electoral votes to be elected President of the United States, former Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich, who’s largely separated himself from current President Donald Trump, made an unsubstantiated claim on CNN that the “far left” almost cost Biden the election. The incoming leader’s mandate, Kasich said, was to govern from the center and reach out to Republicans.

“Now is the time for Democrats…to begin to listen to what the other half of the country has had to say,” he said on the network. “I think that the other half of the country, in many respects, has felt as though they have not been listened to. They feel stuck economically, and it’s going to be up to the Democrats to listen.”

Leave it to a ‘Never Trump’ Republican to try and assert his own agenda on the backs of other people’s work. After all, Kasich said he was going to attempt to change the minds of those in his party — yet in his own state, Trump led the Democratic candidate by the same percentage, 8.1%, as he did in 2016.

The former Ohio governor is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to anti-Trump Republicans who have spent the past few years putting on a performance in front of liberal audiences — for money, power, ego, or a combination of all three — but aren’t actually looking out for Democrats and their constituencies whatsoever.

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Listing them all feels like running through different seasons of cast members on a soap opera. Many former Trump officials — including Sean Spicer, Omarosa Manigault Newman, and John Bolton — have tried to make excuses for their own behavior in recent tell-all memoirs but haven’t disavowed their party. Miles Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security official who was allowed to anonymously publish an op-ed in the New York Times railing against Trump, landed a “hefty” book deal for doing so. While some liberals insisted that the then unknown Trump official was a beacon of hope and presumably helped make his book a best seller, Taylor still called himself a Republican when he revealed his identity and hasn’t seemed particularly interested in a larger reckoning with his personal politics. Organizations like Republican Voters Against Trump and The Lincoln Project, the latter of which raised more than $67 million during the 2020 cycle, have tried to set themselves up as purveyors of truth in a party gone astray.

The book deals should be enough to signal that these Never Trump Republicans are up to some thinly veiled con jobs. More importantly, they are not the main reason why Joe Biden won the presidency. We’ve yet to see tangible evidence that these people and organizations led a mass mobilization of Trump supporters and other Republicans to change their votes to Biden. The research is still ongoing, and all we have to go on as of now are early estimates from exit polls, which aren’t always reliable. But in 2016, 90% of self-identified Republicans said they voted for Trump. Asked this year if they had a favorable view of Donald Trump, 95% of Republican voters said yes. Womp womp.

Additionally, as their name suggests, it’s rather obvious that the Never Trump cause doesn’t extend to anything except the presidency. They don’t have a real desire to alter the core values or views of the Republican Party, nor does much evidence exist of anti-Trump Republicans helping down-ballot candidates. As trial lawyer Max Kennerly pointed out on Twitter, the Lincoln Project, which states that its mission is to “defeat Trump and Trumpism,” did give to some races — mostly long shots, such as ad campaigns against Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in South Carolina — but didn’t pump money into difficult but winnable races in states like Georgia or Michigan, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings. The lack of long-term investment in anything except defeating Trump and a few key Trump-loving Republicans isn’t the only problem; for all of that money, the only real progress the Lincoln Project seems to have made is, according to Axios, taking steps to set up a media company to capitalize on its large fundraising totals and social media following in the wake of the election. And after all of that, Democrats ultimately lost seats in the House (though they maintain their majority), while control of the Senate remains up in the air.





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