President Trump has always had a fan base that would literally follow him off the edge of a cliff. But he's also had support from Republicans outside of his base—people who range from diehard fiscal conservatives to one-issue voters to hold-their-nose-and-vote folks who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary.
This election, however, there seems to be a turn of the tide. We've seen prominent Republicans who served in previous GOP administrations come out in support of Biden, warning the nation that Trump poses a danger to our democracy. We've seen coalitions of Republicans from The Lincoln Project to RVAT (Republican Voters Against Trump) form in the past couple of years. And we've even seen people who have served recently in Trump's own administration encouraging people not to vote for him based on their experiences in the White House and seeing his behavior up close.
It's historically unprecedented for an incumbent president to lose so many members of their own party, though it's not surprising to the millions who have always seen Trump for who he is. Now it seems many everyday conservative Americans are recognizing that restoring sanity, stability, and decency to the presidency is the first order of business right now—partisanship be damned.
Twitter users are sharing stories of friends and loved ones who are lifelong Republicans voting for Biden—and even voting for him early.
My lifelong Republican in-laws both voted early in Wisconsin for Biden. First time voting for Dems.— Alexander Chee (@Alexander Chee)1602036819.0
Some are even voting Democrat all the way down the ticket.
@sarahmchen @alexanderchee Same here! My dad said there is no Republican Party anymore. My husband was a republican… https://t.co/80DvpKrtEH— Sami Holden (@Sami Holden)1602041947.0
For some, it's their parents who have made the switch. For others, it's actually themselves.
@alexanderchee Of course! Country over party. And I actually ended up switching parties too haha.— Carolyn Ticker (@Carolyn Ticker)1602088058.0
Many of the stories are about folks in the older generation, who may have been put off by the president's cavalier attitude about COVID, which poses the greatest threat to their age group. Or it could be that they are dismayed by how far the dignity of the office has fallen under Trump.
@Cmnsa24 @alexanderchee The Greatest Generation dislikes bullies, Russian Puppets, and draft dodgers.— Milo Votes ✍️🌊 Early (@Milo Votes ✍️🌊 Early)1602099933.0
One person shared that her 81-year-old mother understood the "toxic agenda" from the Council for National Policy—a secretive, right-wing policy-pushing group where mainstream conservatives and extremists mix, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The stories seem to be met with a mix of outright glee and cautious optimism, as many people are still hesitant to feel too hopeful after the 2016 election.
@KateCounter @alexanderchee Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!— More than $750 🇺🇲 (@More than $750 🇺🇲)1602074721.0
But it is heartening to see that even those who are exposed to Fox News aren't necessarily lost.
@undercovernerd5 @alexanderchee It’s a huge victory. 👏— Katiedoo (@Katiedoo)1602085715.0
For some of these folks, voting for anyone other than a Republican is a big deal, especially when they are surrounded by folks who believe in kooky conspiracy theories. Their willingness to put country over party should be celebrated.
@alexanderchee Good: My farmer dad in MN who voted for Trump in 2016 just cast an early vote for Biden. Bad: He’s s… https://t.co/g9xOdsaSnq— THIS IS BEANS (@THIS IS BEANS)1602086869.0
@GdadFlyingMan @alexanderchee Thank you for choosing country before party we appreciate you 🙏🏽🇺🇸— Register-Swing-State-Voters Tran (@Register-Swing-State-Voters Tran)1602045563.0
For some, a combination of reading actual news and the influence of younger generations have made the difference.
@JeaneCioffi @alexanderchee I started to pay attention after Soleimani was killed and was horrified of the type of… https://t.co/RqkYU6OVi2— Amy Meyerhofer (@Amy Meyerhofer)1602085315.0
It's almost enough to make you think that the polls that have Biden's already sizable lead growing might have some legs. Almost.
@cdb224 @inezsneks @alexanderchee It’ll be my first time voting Blue too— 🌺Jenna 🎧 (@🌺Jenna 🎧)1602074294.0
One story was particularly touching. Brennan Suen is an LGBTQ activist who was inspired by AOC to find one person in his life that he could talk sense into in the election. He chose his 94-year-old grandmother who has always voted Republican.
She has always voted Republican. My very first memory of politics was seeing polls during Gore v. Bush and her tell… https://t.co/P8UQTT2HvF— Brennan Suen (@Brennan Suen)1602091237.0
"After RBG died, I listened to @AOC say, there is someone in your life who only you can get to in this election, and it is your job to get to them. Since then, I have been filled with anxiety knowing what I needed to do. For me, that's my 94 year old grandmother.
She has always voted Republican. My very first memory of politics was seeing polls during Gore v. Bush and her telling me she supported Bush but my parents supported Gore. I took one look at the two and said that I agreed with my parents.
After weeks of hesitation, I finally called my grandmother after SCOTUS justices indicated their intent to overturn Obergefell. She has always been the greatest ally -- the first thing she said to me when I came out was that she wanted me to have a grandkid for her.
I have never called her crying, but I did today. I told her that in my work, I advocate for my community every day, and the last four years has been unbearably difficult for me. I told her the Republicans are trying to take away our right to marry, adopt, access health care.
I told her a vote for Republicans was a vote that would harm me and my future. I told her I was scared. And today, my grandmother promised me she would vote for Joe Biden and @xjelliott. She told me that I'm the love of her life and that she would not break her promise.
I am still crying. Please call your loved ones. Tell them what's at stake. Tell them it's personal. Because it's true. There is someone out there who only you can get to. And their decision will mean the world to you."
Some things are just more important than political parties or even policies. As General Michael Hayden, former CIA director under Bush, said in a video ad this week, "I absolutely disagree with some of Biden's policies, but that's not important. What's important is the United States ... Biden is a good man. Donald Trump is not."
Country over party. Decency over degeneracy. Regardless of political identity, it's time to say enough is enough.
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