Never Trump Republicans are coordinating efforts to oust President Trump, even consulting with Democratic groups in a bid to deploy resources efficiently and compare notes on effective messaging strategy.
Republican Voters Against Trump, a new addition to the Never Trump ecosphere, is planning to spend $10 million on television and digital advertising in key battleground states. The group is focused on transforming Republican voters who backed Trump in 2016 into supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Top strategists at RVAT regularly touch base with Project Lincoln, a Never Trump group of prominent establishment Republicans already on the air with ads targeting the president.
Both stay in touch with top Democratic outside groups, such as American Bridge, a liberal organization dedicated to opposition research, in a bid to maximize their campaign to take down Trump. “We’re all on the same team,” RVAT co-founder Tim Miller told the Washington Examiner on Friday.
“Since we’re in a grand coalition similar to World War II, we talk with and plan as best as possible with the various center-left groups,” added a Republican strategist advising a Never Trump group.
For the past few years, Never Trump Republicans have actively worked to undermine the president’s political standing. The effort began soon after Trump was inaugurated with Stand Up Republic, a group founded by Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, mounting a longshot third-party bid against the president in 2016.
Trump suffered a rebuke in the midterm elections, with Democrats capturing the House in a 40-seat sweep. But Republicans picked up Senate seats the same year, and his political standing among Republican voters has remained sky-high through multiple controversies. Republican Voters Against Trump hopes to put a dent in that. The group is led by Miller, a former adviser to Jeb Bush, and Sarah Longwell, a top GOP operative in Never Trump circles.
Longwell has conducted focus groups across the country with Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 to catalogue his strengths and weaknesses with them. RVAT is using its findings to develop messaging designed to convince GOP voters unhappy with Trump, and who might have never voted Democrat before, that it is acceptable to support Biden. States likely on its target list include Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Miller, who said RVAT has gained 2,000 new donors since launching in late May, said the crucial element in the group’s messaging is that it relies on testimonials of Republican voters who have already taken the plunge and decided to vote for Biden.
“These are gettable voters for Biden, and so this program is targeted at reaching them,” he said. “Based on what we’ve learned, what resonates with them is hearing from authentic voices like them who understand their perspective rather than being lectured to by Democrats from D.C.”
American Bridge is running advertising in the Rust Belt over the next 10 weeks.
The Democratic group is investing $20 million in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to create Biden voters out of rural seniors who backed Trump in 2016. The television and radio spots, airing in rural and exurban media markets, are based on testimonials of seniors who describe in their own words why they decided to jettison the president in favor of the former vice president.
“Our strategy of lifting up local voices and having neighbors talk to neighbors about why they can no longer support Donald Trump is already moving the needle in places he can’t afford to lose,” American Bridge President Bradley Beychok said in a statement.
Author: David M. Drucker
Source: Washington Examiner: Never Trump Republicans collaborating with Democrats to elect Biden