In an unprecedented move, several prominent Republicans are scheduled to give their public endorsement to the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket on the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
As reported by Yahoo News, the Republicans expected to speak are former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, former Hewlett Packard and current Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari and former Ohio governor John Kasich. They are all on the lineup for the virtual convention which begins Monday evening.
Democratic National Committee senior advisor and communications director Xochitl Hinojosa told Yahoo’s Skullduggery podcast that people are “frustrated with Donald Trump right now.”
“I think that right now people are just fed up, and they want steady leadership,” Hinojosa said. “So I think that you’ll continue to see all sorts of folks from all walks of life come and endorse Joe Biden.”
USA Today reports that the GOP members will be part of a segment called “We The People Putting Country Over Party”. Some like Kasich and Whitman, have already shown a break with the party over President Donald Trump.
Kasich was a presidential candidate in 2016 who ran against him and Whitman, a billionaire, donated $500K to the Biden Victory Fund, according to campaign finance records.
Molinari was a keynote speaker at the 1996 Republican Convention and a Bloomberg supporter initially but has now endorsed Biden. Controversy has followed the announcement of Kasich, who is viewed as an opponent to progressive Democratic platforms and recently openly criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
“People on the extreme, whether they’re on the left or on the right, they get outsized publicity that tends to define their party,” Kasich told Buzzfeed.
“You know, I listen to people all the time make these statements, and because AOC gets outsized publicity doesn’t mean she represents the Democratic Party. She’s just a part, just some member of it. And it’s on both sides, whether it’s the Republicans or whether it’s the Democrats.”
AOC had words of her own for Kasich and blasted him for fighting against women’s rights in a tweet.
Kasich ran for governor as part of the Tea Party and moved to strip unions in Ohio of their power, a move ultimately defeated by voters. He also supported the Medicaid expansion and refused to attend the Republican National Convention in 2016 to nominate Trump even though it was held in Cleveland.
Still, his time on the podium for the DNC has its detractors especially as the virtual version is only expected to be two hours. Buzzfeed reports that after Kasich and Biden appeared together at an event at the University of Delaware, the two formed a bond.
“There’s no mystery here, but people shouldn’t miss, in some respects, what it means,” Kasich said, adding that he remains a Republican. “I don’t care if people agree or disagree with my speaking there. Whatever. We’ve got to settle things down. We’re not in two warring camps, Republicans and Democrats.”
Perhaps Kasich doesn’t think so but plenty of observers do, especially in a pandemic where people are suffering economically and the two parties can’t unite on a stimulus package or mail service that may both prove significant in the next election. But other political experts believe that the GOP presence can only be helpful to a Biden/Harris campaign.
“I won’t get into the convention speakers lineup,” David Pepper, the chair of the Democratic party in Ohio, told Buzzfeed. “To have a high-profile Republican saying, ‘vote Biden, not Trump’ — I think those voices do matter.”
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