Washington | Hundreds of former collaborators of George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney and a place of honor reserved for Republicans at the Democratic convention: Joe Biden spares no effort to show the rallying of ex-opponents , hoping to convince still undecided voters who could give him the victory against Donald Trump.
At 50 and after two decades of the Republican vote, Kari Walker, voter of Wisconsin, intends to choose Joe Biden on November 3.
She who already confided two weeks ago to AFP that she could not bring herself to vote Donald Trump, even “worse president than I imagined”, has since “found the support of these Republican pillars convincing” .
“I would have voted Biden anyway, but I appreciate that influential Republican figures take the plunge,” explains this co-owner of the Touchdown Tavern bar and restaurant in the small town of Reedsburg, in a county that had tipped over for Donald Trump in 2016 after having twice elected Barack Obama.
These are the types of voters that the former US Vice President’s campaign team is trying to attract with the headlines that have mushroomed this week: “Over 200 former Bush administration officials” “More than 100 alumni of the McCain network”, “Former members of the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign,” all support Joe Biden.
If the ex-right arm of Barack Obama largely dominates Donald Trump in national polls, the gap is narrowing in certain pivotal states, which make and break elections by switching from one party to another. The mobilization of these voters could therefore be decisive.
The Republican billionaire is also openly courting them, warning of the “lawlessness” that would reign under a Biden presidency that could lead to the “destruction” of residential suburbs. And by presenting, during his convention, some Democrats from the other side.
“Lost our moral sense”
But the rallies are more numerous in favor of the Democratic candidate, who tries to convince voters disappointed, even outraged, by the style and management of Donald Trump, in particular the pandemic which has killed more than 180,000 in the United States.
This “is not an easy decision for Republicans”, wrote relatives of the now deceased senator John McCain, bête noire of Donald Trump, who returned his disdain.
“Given the incumbent president’s lack of competence, his attempts to escalate rather than heal divisions among Americans, and his inability to uphold American values, we believe that electing former Vice President Biden is in the obvious in the national interest, ”they continued in an open letter.
“The avalanche of insults and vulgarity that we have seen in recent years must end,” added the former members of the Bush administration. “We have lost our moral sense.”
“I know several of these people personally and know how deeply conservative they are on many subjects,” said a journalist and columnist for the Washington post, Glenn Kessler, on Twitter. “I never imagined that they would publicly support a Democratic president.”
As early as the spring, anti-Trump Republican groups, such as the Lincoln Project, had announced their support.
But from the Democratic convention (August 17 to 20), the seduction operation has redoubled in intensity.
On the first night, John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, a key state in the US presidential election, was thus entitled to a prominent place for his speech. The next day it was the turn of Colin Powell, former head of US diplomacy and controversial advocate for the Iraq war.
In all, a much longer speaking time than that granted in particular to the famous progressive elected representative of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we have grumbled in the left wing of the party.
And on the first day of the Republican convention on Monday, the Biden team announced the rallying of more than 20 former Republican congressmen.
“These disappointed Republicans (officials) are emblematic of the many ex-Republican voters concentrated in prosperous residential areas, displaying a high level of education and who deserted the party under the Trump era,” said Kyle Kondik, political analyst at the University of Virginia.
But the suspense remains. “I don’t know if these supports will motivate other voters to desert the Trump camp.”