Clinton Campaign Makes Republican Recruiting Effort Official
It’s a bad day for Donald Trump when his rival launches a formal campaign to poach from his own party.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign opened the spigot on Wednesday on a recent steady trickle of pledges from Republicans against their own nominee, Donald Trump, with outright GOP endorsements for the Democrat.
The launch of “Together for America” — formalizing what had previously been a backchannel push to poach support from the New York businessman’s adopted party and all-important independents — serves as a fairly remarkable show of confidence for the former secretary of state.
“This is not a normal election,” Clinton said Wednesday afternoon in a speech in Iowa, welcoming the GOP defections and “anyone willing to put our country first.”
“Donald Trump doesn’t represent their values, not only as Republicans,” she said, “but as Americans.”
The latest list of some 50 endorsements contains three former Cabinet secretaries, some 20 current or former members of Congress, members of the ambassador corps and the military, and a number of senior officials from Republican administrations, as well as business leaders, according to a Clinton campaign release.
Some high-profile Republicans and Independents, like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President George W. Bush National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, were already known. Others, such as former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte; Carlos Gutierrez, the former Secretary of Commerce and Chairman and CEO of Kellogg Company; and Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard; were unveiled Wednesday.
They join a string of GOP leaders like Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger who’ve come out strongly against Trump in recent days. On Wednesday, former Democratic vice presidential nominee and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman endorsed Clinton.
Various “Never Trump” efforts during the Republican primary or after Trump’s unexpected emergence as the nominee never got off the ground in large part because they could not coalesce around a viable alternative.
But now, either out of growing concern for the real estate magnate’s controversial tone or policy pronouncements, genuine confidence in Clinton, or acceptance that there is only one viable alternative to the billionaire businessman, a growing number of Republicans are publicly pushing Clinton over Trump.
Her campaign is capitalizing on the movement to hammer home its argument that Trump is too divisive to lead the country and too dangerous to be commander in chief. On Monday in a separate effort of which the Clinton team was made aware but did not coordinate, another group of 50 Republican senior national security and foreign policy hands released a letter in which they stated they unequivocally would not vote for Trump.
“[He] would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being,” they wrote, though they did not explicitly commit to voting for Clinton.
Wednesday’s announcement was also timed for maximum punch: The Republican nominee has been buffeted by a string of bad polls since the parties’ conventions last month, from shrinking support among GOP women to widening gaps in key battleground states to losing ground in nation-wide head-to-head matchups with Clinton.
Several of the GOP’s heaviest hitters, like former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, have yet to weigh in on the election.
It’s unclear just how many Republicans would vote for the nominee of another party, or whether such an effort could peel off a significant number of ardently anti-establishment pro-Trump GOP supporters. But symbolically, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said the move signals to key independents and moderates that her candidacy speaks more for them than Trump.
Photo credit: Joe Raedle / Staff