Just like in 2016, a faction of the Republican party has emerged to try to defeat Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
But unlike the last presidential race, where the effort never truly took off, this time those rebel Republicans have formed better organized groups – and some are even openly backing Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.
In 2016, as Trump steamrolled his way through the Republican primary, some Republican lawmakers and operatives tried to mount an effort to stop him. Elected officials and veterans of previous Republican administrations organized letters, endorsed Hillary Clinton, and a few set up meager outside groups to defeat Trump.
That’s happening again – but there are differences. The outside groups are more numerous and better organized, and most importantly, Trump has a governing record on which Republicans can use to decide whether to support him or not.
“I think it’s qualitatively different,” said Republican operative Tim Miller, who co-founded one of the main anti-Trump organizations. “A lot of people who opposed [Trump] did the whole, ‘Oh, Hillary’s also bad, and Trump’s bad, and everybody can vote their conscience’ kind of thing.”
Miller said that 2016’s effort was far more of a “pox on both your houses” phenomenon versus 2020’s “organized effort to defeat him”.
The latest prominent Republican anti-Trump organization made its debut in early July. It’s a Super Pac called 43 Alumni for Biden, and aims to rally alumni of George W Bush’s administration to support the Democrat.
The new Super Pac was co-founded by Kristopher Purcell, a former Bush administration official; John Farner, who worked in the commerce department during the Bush administration; and Karen Kirksey, another longtime Republican operative. Kirksey is the Super Pac’s director.
“We’re truly a grassroots organization. Our goal is to do whatever we can to elect Joe Biden as president,” said Farner.
The Super Pac is still in its early stages and isn’t setting expectations on raising something like $20m. Rather, 43 Alumni for Biden is just focused on organizing.
“After seeing three and a half years of chaos and incompetence and division, a lot of people have just been pushed to say, ‘We have got to do something else,” Purcell said. “We may not be fully on board with the Democratic agenda, but this is a one-issue election. ‘Are you for Donald Trump, or are you for America.’”
43 Alumni for Biden is new compared with two other larger anti-Republican groups.
The best-knownis the Lincoln Project, a political action committee founded in 2019 by Republican strategists who have long been critical of Trump.
The Lincoln Project has made a name for itself for its creative…