Biden wants GOP voters. They shouldn’t take the bait

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suspended her campaign on Wednesday, leaving former President Donald Trump as the last one standing in the GOP presidential primary. Throughout its duration, Haley’s campaign was met with plenty of resistance, not only from Trump supporters but also from the second-place DeSantis camp.

Despite making a better show of it than expected, Haley’s attempt was not enough to overtake the 45th president. Now that she has ended her bid, her supporters are up for grabs. And President Joe Biden is making a bold offer. 

The former ambassador did not endorse Trump in her exit speech. There is no love lost between the former president and his former appointee to the U.N. Haley may endorse Trump in the future. For now, her lack of endorsement is an act of defiance that is not going unnoticed.

In response to Haley’s announcement, Biden’s office issued a statement and suggested unity to disappointed Haley supporters: “Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters. I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign. I know there is a lot we won’t agree on. But on the fundamental issues of preserving American democracy, on standing up for the rule of law, on treating each other with decency and dignity and respect, on preserving NATO and standing up to America’s adversaries, I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

The statement ended with this: “I also know this: what unites Democrats and Republicans and Independents is a love for America.” It’s a positive statement with all the right words, a focus on patriotism, and an obvious antagonist. But it’s pointless. 

Disgruntled Republicans who were desperate for someone other than Trump placed their hopes in either Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) or Haley. Both are experienced, accomplished, levelheaded politicians who offered a change of course to a party that is still enamored with the MAGA mentality. Frankly, either DeSantis or Haley would make a far better president than Trump.

But 2024 wasn’t their year. In fact, their year may never come. The problem with Biden’s statement is that it’s great bait. Disaffected voters on the Right shouldn’t take it. 

Indeed, there are several things Biden and Haley supporters can agree on, including opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin and the belief that Trump is not the future of the GOP. There is no room in the GOP for a leader or followers who view Putin as anything less than a major threat. Americans can and should support Ukraine against Russian aggression. And Americans on both sides of the political aisle can easily agree on Trump’s unfitness for office.

But these and other things, including a “love for America,” also don’t require acceptance of Biden, his platform, or Democratic talking points. There are sure to be voters who go from supporting Haley to Biden now that the former is out of the race. But for true conservatives who want change, and not the progressive kind, heading toward Biden is not the answer. 

To say that voters are tired of Biden and Trump is an understatement. The fatigue is palpable. We want different and better options. This year, we won’t get them. The 2024 election involves the same actors as 2020, but this time, there’s even more history behind them. And for Trump and Biden, the years have increased their baggage and made both of them less attractive options. Trump is ill-equipped for the office of the presidency. The best Biden can offer is that he’s not Trump. The president is hoping that is enough to appeal to the alienated. 

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It makes much sense to reject Trump as the nominee for the Republican Party. More than once, in word and deed, he has flatly rejected principles conservatives hold dear. Looking for an alternative is only natural.

But it makes no sense that the alternative to a man who doesn’t represent conservatism well is to head toward a man who doesn’t represent conservatism. Supporting Biden isn’t upholding conservatism. It’s a revenge vote. Voters who never cared much about upholding conservatism may feel that’s right for them. But they shouldn’t sugarcoat their actions. 

Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog and a columnist at Arc Digital.



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