It marked a sea change in partisan politics this year, as six prominent Republicans stood behind Joe Biden at the recent Democratic convention. These establishment figures included ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Ohio Governor John Kasich.
All called for increased integrity in the Oval Office and spoke against division in the United States. Most importantly they all spoke in favor of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.
The Unusual 2020 Democratic Convention
Just as almost everything these days, the 2020 Democratic Convention too was highly unusual. Normally thousands of Democratic Party members gather over several days. Speeches are given, and the party’s candidate officially receives the nominee to become the party’s candidate for the presidency.
This time, the convention was held virtually. Nevertheless, it was not the most significant change that occurred. Instead the biggest change was the six prominent Republicans who backed Biden and called on voters to provide him with their vote. There has never been so many guest speakers from the opposing camp at a nomination party conference before.
Biden’s Republican Backers
Among Biden’s Republican supporters are Colin Powell, a Republican and military leader who worked for three American presidents. Powell was President Reagan’s National Security Advisor, George H.W. Bush’s Chairman is often the Joint Chiefs of Staff and George W. Bush’s Secretary of State. Already in 2016, Powell said he would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. The fact that Powell of all people now appeared at the Democratic convention is a testimony of how serious the situation is and how never-Trumpers have decided to put country over party.
“We are a divided country,” Powell stated in his speech, “and we have a President who does everything to ensure that it stays that way! What a difference a president will make who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul”.
The endorsement from Cindy McCain, the widow of the late great Republican senator John McCain, was also sensational. McCain ran in 2008 as a Republican presidential candidate against Barack Obama. McCain praised the close friendship across party lines that bound McCain and Biden. All the Republican guest speakers emphasized Biden’s sincerity and decency, which they consider to be more suitable than the “divider” Trump.
The latter is also the argument of the former governor of the crucial swing state of Ohio, John Kasich. Trump led the country “astray” by “playing the Americans off against each other,” Kasich said. As a lifelong Republican, it was not easy for him to now put the good of the country above party membership. Kasich argues in a similar way to the Lincoln Project, a group of traditional Republicans who have been campaigning against the president for months.
America was “at a crossroads,” and there was a risk of “severe consequences” if one continued on the previous path under President Trump. Biden was the “man of our time,” “he can bring the country together,” Kasich emphasized.
Trump’s primary campaign strategy, i.e., Biden seeks to lead the country into socialism, was rejected by Kasich. He doesn’t believe Biden will tip over to the left. However, even this risk was lower than Trump for four more years at the helm in exceptional times, according to Kasich.
Kasich had previously been walloped by Republicans, particularly Congressman Jim Jordan, who called Kasich a “sore loser,” and by the Fox News opinion hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Trump himself added to these attacks by stating Kasich had been “a loser as a Republican and a loser as a Democrat.”
In addition to Kasich, former New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman, manager and ex-CEO of IT company Hewlett Packard, Meg Whitman, and former Congresswoman Susan Molinari pledged their support.
With the election on the horizon, further endorsements by Republicans — even once prominent figures such as Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush — are certainly not inconceivable.