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Biden Strikes Back: Can He Lure Away the Anti-Trump Republicans?

It seems neither campaign is staying in its lane this year.

The Never Trump movement began back in 2016 as a way to keep Donald Trump from winning the GOP nomination. It failed – but it grew in the years to follow as more Republicans stepped back from toeing the party line and said, “Never Trump.” Now, incumbent Joe Biden hopes to turn those electoral exiles toward voting for his own re-election.

Republicans for Biden?

The president’s re-election campaign has hired a “national Republican engagement director” in hopes that Never Trump Republicans can be convinced to vote for Biden rather than supporting a third-party candidate, writing someone else in, or simply sitting out the election altogether. Austin Weatherford served as chief of staff for former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who became an outspoken critic of Trump and often found himself voting alongside Democrats rather than his fellow Republicans – especially toward the end of his final term.

The Biden campaign brought Weatherford aboard to “head up outreach efforts to independents and moderate Republicans who know what a danger Donald Trump is to the country if reelected for a second term,” a campaign official told the press. The pitch is simple: If you would never vote for Trump, then why not consider voting for Biden, instead? Some will. Sarah Longwell, formerly a board member for the Log Cabin Republicans, told Time that she would support anyone over Trump – even a Democrat like Joe Biden. “Never means never,” she explained. Weatherford’s old boss, Adam Kinzinger, has also backed Biden, though that’s hardly surprising for those who have watched his political career in recent years.

But disliking Trump doesn’t mean liking Biden or believing that he’s doing a good job in the White House, and many Republicans say they’ll never vote for Biden, even if they also won’t support Trump. Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, and Mike Pence all refuse to endorse or vote for Joe Biden – even if they also refuse to back Trump.

Neither Campaign Stays in Its Lane

Team Biden, however, isn’t the only campaign refusing to stay in its lane. Trump has been fundraising in liberal San Francisco – and quite successfully. The former president hoped to win the financial backing of capitalists disenchanted with Biden thanks to presidential policies that proved unfriendly toward business. About two hundred Trump supporters showed up Thursday, June 6, and the fundraiser brought in a whopping $12 million – an impressive feat for a single day spent in a city often thought of as a progressive stronghold.

As Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner recently explained, even in New York, where Biden still leads Trump by nine points, the future president has been making gains. That nine-point lead is down from 22 points a year ago. As well, some big donors who once supported Clinton or Biden are now putting their money behind Trump. Sequoia Capital partner and former Clinton supporter Shaun Maguire, for example, donated $300,000 to the Donald shortly after the guilty verdicts came down in Manhattan.

Trump has been asking those who voted for Biden in 2020 if they’re better off now than they were when he was in office for a while – and now the current president is reaching across the aisle as well. The question, however, is how many of those Never Trump Republicans are willing to step out of the GOP entirely and support a Democrat – and how many who voted blue in 2020 now wonder if perhaps they were better off under Trump after all.

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