The string of Republicans endorsing Joe Biden for president grew substantially Monday morning with the announcement of more than two dozen former members of Congress coming out in support of Biden. The list is headed by former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who never quite mustered the courage to be a truly significant critic of Donald Trump before Flake’s retirement.
Republicans including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Rep. Susan Molinari, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke at the Democratic National Convention, and now the Biden campaign has released the new endorsements as the Republican National Convention kicks off. “In a strong rebuke to the current administration, these former members of Congress cited Trump’s corruption, destruction of democracy, blatant disregard for moral decency, and urgent need to get the country back on course as a reason why they support Biden,” the campaign said in a press release.
The names include former Sens. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire and John Warner of Virginia. Ray LaHood appears on the list as a former member of Congress, but was also transportation secretary in the Obama administration. In addition to Flake, a few of the names are from battleground states, including former Rep. Jim Kolbe, also of Arizona; and Pennsylvanians Charlie Dent and Jim Greenwood.
Is reaching out to Republicans and Republican-leaning independents the best move for the Biden campaign as opposed to base turnout? The best case I can see is that the Democratic base is already fired up to vote Trump out and the Biden campaign is doing the critically important work of a major voter protection effort.
But these endorsements are probably most useful for media narratives about the campaign. A benefit of the Republican endorsements, as of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ criticism of Trump, is that it potentially gives the both-sidesers of the traditional media the comfort to report on Trump a little more honestly, with less of the reflexive need to portray him as normal and okay because to call a lie a lie might appear partisan. Additionally, unveiling the endorsements keeps Biden in the news and gives him the appearance of momentum as Trump gets ready to suck up (and poison) all the air in the room. So: Is it a big electoral advantage? Almost certainly not. A nice boost to the media narrative? Probably so.
- Senator Jeff Flake (AZ)
- Senator Gordon Humphrey (NH)
- Senator John Warner (VA)
- Congressman Steve Bartlett (TX)
- Congressman Bill Clinger (PA)
- Congressman Tom Coleman (MO)
- Congressman Charlie Dent (PA)
- Congressman Charles Djou (HI)
- Congressman Mickey Edwards (OK)
- Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (MD)
- Congressman Jim Greenwood (PA)
- Congressman Bob Inglis (SC)
- Congressman Jim Kolbe (AZ)
- Congressman Steve Kuykendall (CA)
- Congressman Ray LaHood (IL)
- Congressman Jim Leach (IA)
- Congresswoman Susan Molinari (NY)
- Congresswoman Connie Morella (MD)
- Congressman Mike Parker (MS)
- Congressman Jack Quinn (NY)
- Congresswoman Claudine Schneider (RI)
- Congressman Christopher Shays (CT)
- Congressman Peter Smith (VT)
- Congressman Alan Steelman (TX)
- Congressman Jim Walsh (NY)
- Congressman Bill Whitehurst (VA)
- Congressman Dick Zimmer (NJ)