Failing to find a suitable GOP challenger to the president in 2020, NeverTrump Republicans have settled on a strategy to support the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination: Joe Biden.
Some Republican operatives active in Never Trump circles are discussing the timing and what form support for Biden might take. Groups such as Stand Up Republic, co-founded by prominent Never Trump Republicans Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, could target disaffected GOP voters in key micro-battlegrounds with finely tailored advertising in a bid to boost Biden in the Democratic primary.
Biden made many friends on the other side of the aisle during his time in the Senate, and his campaign has almost certainly kept in touch with some NeverTrumpers over the last few months.
“Biden is probably the only plausible candidate the Never Trumpers could support,” said Jim Dornan, a Republican operative in Washington who maintains relationships with anti-Trump Republicans.
Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a Florida GOP operative who backed Jeb Bush in 2016 and has been close to Sen. Marco Rubio, attended a Biden campaign event last weekend, sitting on the front row stroking her dog Chacha. Biden turned to her and said, “I’ve got to sort of genuflect in this direction here because I’m afraid of her. No. I’m embarrassing her, I know — that’s my intention. We’ve been good friends for a long time.”
To show the utter delusion present among NeverTrumpers, they will reassess their support for a Democrat if Elizabeth Warren were to win the nomination.
Some Republicans in this community, who believe Warren’s policies are a different sort of extreme than Trump but equally dangerous to the country, might channel their opposition into helping one of the president’s long-shot primary challengers or get behind an independent candidacy, should one develop. Other Never Trump Republicans insist that the label means exactly that.
“If it’s Elizabeth Warren, that presents a real problem because she may have a lot of plans, but most of them are terrible,” said Sarah Longwell, a veteran GOP operative and outspoken anti-Trump Republican. “Being Never Trump doesn’t mean abandoning conservative sensibilities,” she said.
What difference does it make if it’s Biden or Warren? It’s the political party behind them that’s the problem. The wild-eyed crazies who are pushing the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, “free” college tuition, and other bat guano-crazy ideas will be be in the White House regardless of who wins the primaries. It won’t just be the camel’s nose under the tent. It will be the whole stinking carcass wanting to lie down with whoever comes out on top.
It would take a much stronger president than Joe Biden has indicated he will be to resist the nutcases in the Democratic Party.
Of course, the NeverTrumpers don’t want to waste their resources on a loser. That, too, plays to the perception of Biden as being the only Democrat capable of challenging Trump in the heartland.
What interests Republican operatives opposed to Trump, in addition to Biden’s relative moderation, is the former vice president’s strength against Trump in key 2020 battlegrounds. In hypothetical match-ups in heartland states such as Michigan and emerging swing states such as Arizona, Biden has led Trump and tends to outperform Warren and Sanders.
In particular, many Never Trump Republicans have almost zero confidence in the ability of Sanders to upend Trump in potentially decisive Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, states where culturally conservative, blue-collar voters will play a major role in which party captures each state’s Electoral College votes.
Recent polls have Sanders barely treading water with Warren surging. Barring a major surprise in an early state like Iowa or New Hampshire, the race appears to be shaping up as a two-candidate contest between Warren and Biden.
Biden’s supposed “moderation” is an illusion. NeverTrumpers will be royally disappointed if Biden wins and radical Democrats start sending extremist legislation for the president to sign.