Not exactly a Muppet news flash here, but still worth noting.
Politico has snippets from open letters drafted by Bush and Romney alumni but this taste from Mark Salter’s op-ed in WaPo about Biden’s support among McCain staffers captures the general vibe well enough. Salter was McCain’s right-hand man, chief speechwriter, and co-author for years.
President Trump’s inept leadership of the federal government’s response to the covid-19 pandemic has cost many more lives than it should have. His divisive rhetoric and enmity toward those he perceives as adversaries have exacerbated political and social divisions at a time when Americans should be uniting to confront the serious challenges that threaten all of us. His disinterest in American values, his tolerance for despots and his hostility to allies leave us uniquely vulnerable while our adversaries take every advantage of absent American leadership. Last, it has become increasingly clear that Trump’s personal qualities — his lack of self-control, his chronic dishonesty, his inattention to his duties and his self-obsession — render him temperamentally unfit for the White House…
We are … encouraged by Biden’s long history of seeking bipartisan solutions to serious national problems. We are confident he will fulfill his promise to be a president for all Americans and act in what he believes are the best interests of us all. We believe he will seek to temper the political polarization that impairs our government, not aggravate it, and try to repair the divisions besetting our society, be they racial, economic or political, not intentionally worsen them. We trust that as president, Biden will take seriously the federal government’s primary role in addressing the worst public health crisis in a century, and not shift his responsibilities or the blame for his failures to others. And while some of us might find fault with the foreign and defense policies a Biden administration would implement, we are confident that a President Biden would endeavor to act in accord with U.S. interests and ideals, and confront rather than acquiesce to threats to them — a confidence we do not have in the incumbent president.
Among populists and their media organs, what more ringing endorsement of Trump could there be than the contempt of the Republican establishmentarians whose reign he overthrew (and whose nominees they all passionately supported)? This sums it up well:
Bushies and Romney-McCainiacs voting Biden prove the GOP base's point: That they're actually Centrist Dems who are more interested in keeping the media and those to their Left happy than the people who actually vote for them. Which is why, when elected, they ignore their voters.
— Melissa Mackenzie (@MelissaTweets) August 27, 2020
They’re not “centrist Dems” but it’s certainly true that they’re more comfortable with centrist Dems than they are with nationalist populists. Partly that’s ideological, partly it’s a function of class and education, or at least the stereotypes about class and education that color perceptions of the two parties in 2020.
But maybe, beyond ideology and class resentments, some of them honestly believe Trump is temperamentally, intellectually, and morally unfit for office and will only become more so once he no longer has to worry about facing voters again. Handing a second term to someone who already flaunts his impunity, who palpably cares little for American civic traditions, and who’s buffered by a personality cult willing to tell him that his every fart smells like roses, is arguably more of a risk to the country than having Biden falling asleep at the Resolute Desk every day.
Although I’ll grant you: A dark part of me does want to see how Trump would operate once he’s in a position where he can stage a Lafayette Park stunt every day and not have to care even a little about the reaction. I just don’t want to see it until after I’ve arrived safely in Toronto.
It’s fair to read Salter’s piece and wonder, “Who is this supposed to influence, exactly?” I’m not sure myself. Trumpers will obviously react much more strongly to it than swing voters. I think the idea is to keep nudging the same people John Kasich was trying to nudge with his appearance at the Democratic convention, the wary Republicans who held their noses for Trump in 2016 and the suburbanites who’ve drifted away from him but might be thinking of drifting back as riots erupt in major cities. It’s a form of reassurance that they’re not committing treason or whatever by supporting Biden over the GOP nominee. No one’s going to vote for Biden because of what Mark Salter thinks, but if they hear from a dozen different Republicans that Biden’s their guy this year, it might make them more comfortable with their inclination to vote for Biden too. Salter’s just trying to be one of those dozen Republicans.
The revolt of the RINO staffers isn’t even the most enjoyable story today about Republican influencers breaking ranks with Trump. That would be this one, about the business class’s favorite lobbyist group erupting into civil war over whether to switch to Biden this year. If, like me, you’ve ever cursed the Chamber of Commerce for their support of lax immigration policies, this’ll make your day.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to endorse nearly two dozen freshmen House Democrats for reelection, triggering a revolt within the right-leaning organization and drawing fierce pushback from the group’s powerful GOP donors…
[T]he group’s donors and members are up in arms, with some threatening to pull funding and others openly venting their frustration. Some are raising the prospect that Chamber board members will quit in the weeks to come.
There is particular concern the Democrats in question do not have the pro-business record an endorsement would convey. State Chamber of Oklahoma President Chad Warmington wrote a letter Tuesday to national Chamber leaders fervently opposing the proposal to back Rep. Kendra Horn, perhaps the most vulnerable House Democrat in the country.
“Several of the Democratic lawmakers the Chamber is planning to endorse support a $15 minimum wage, a policy that many in the business world fiercely oppose,” Politico adds. Hoo boy. I can understand why an average joe might prefer a Democrat this year on balance, but it’s harder to understand why a single-issue pro-business lobbyist group might. Is the idea to scare Republicans in Congress into taking the Chamber’s agenda more seriously lest the group start spreading cash around to the party?
Or has Trump’s trade war actually alienated the Chamber to the point where they think Democrats are likely to be better for their bottom line going forward? If you’re hungry for cheap illegal labor from Mexico, you’re certainly more likely to get what you want from Team Blue than from a post-Trump populist GOP. The amnesty lobby was always a liberal lobby at heart.
I’ll leave you with Elizabeth Neumann, who worked for Trump at DHS, explaining why she’s voting Biden. Maybe it matters at the margins, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s worth noting that this clip has four million views in 24 hours.
NEW: Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention at DHS in the Trump Administration.
“I do not think we can afford four more years of President Trump. We are less safe today because of his leadership.”pic.twitter.com/KOFjHMJN2A
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 26, 2020