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Biden may get some help from Republicans against Trump

President Biden’s reelection bid may be getting some help from an unlikely source: Republicans.

A slow drip of Republicans and former Trump administration officials are outright saying they would vote for Biden over former President Trump in a general election rematch, citing their belief that Trump poses a risk to U.S. democracy.

“While I’ve never voted for a Democrat a day in my life, I would support Biden over Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee. I won’t support someone who refused to participate in a peaceful transfer of power, tried to overthrow a free and fair election, and incited a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol,” Sarah Matthews, a former press aide on Trump’s 2020 campaign and in the Trump White House who resigned on Jan. 6, 2021, told The Hill.

Recent polling also showed a swath of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley supporters in the Iowa caucuses would back Biden over Trump in a general election.

The willingness of some Republicans to cross party lines hints at what may become a key factor in November: If Trump-skeptical Republicans can swallow their concerns and back the former president, or if they vote for Biden and bolster his coalition in what will likely be a close race. 

A Decision Desk HQ average of national polling shows the former president leading Biden by roughly 1 percentage point. Recent swing state polling shows Trump leading Biden by 8 points in Michigan and Georgia, while Biden is narrowly ahead in Pennsylvania.

Strategists have said November’s election may depend on which candidate best gets out their base given the limited number of persuadable voters to chase.

“President Biden ran for president to unite the country, and has governed for all Americans with red states and blue states benefiting from the historic infrastructure legislation, lower costs on prescription drugs and a boom in manufacturing jobs,” Ammar Moussa, a Biden campaign spokesperson, said in a statement. “We welcome the support of everyone who is concerned about the existential threat that Donald Trump and extremists pose to our freedom and democracy.”

Many GOP voters resistant to Trump are holding out hope that Haley can secure the nomination. An NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of Iowa voters conducted days before Monday’s caucuses found 43 percent of those who supported Haley said they would vote for Biden over Trump in a general election.

But Trump’s dominant showing in Iowa and his strong polling lead in other early primary states suggests he’s likely to be the nominee.

“I think it’s highly likely that it’s gonna be Biden against Trump. And in that case, there is no question who I would support. I believe in America way more than I believe in the Republican Party,” former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who served on the House committee that investigated Jan. 6, said on CNN.

Asked if he would vote for Biden, Kinzinger said he’d pick the sitting president over Trump “in a heartbeat.”

“To me, that’s not even a question I would have to wrestle with,” Kinzinger said.

Anthony Scaramucci, who infamously spent 10 days as Trump’s White House communications director, backed former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the 2024 primary. But he told CNN on Saturday he would “100 percent” support Biden over Trump in a general election.

“This really is going to be a battle for democracy, this one,” Scaramucci said, warning Trump would expand executive power and use the Justice Department to target his adversaries.

Other Republicans have yet to go as far as outright saying they would vote for Biden but have signaled they could not fathom supporting Trump again.

“There are some conservatives who are trying to make this claim that somehow Biden is a bigger risk than Trump,” former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said during a recent appearance on “The View.”

“My view is I disagree with a lot of Joe Biden’s policies,” added Cheney, an outspoken Trump critic. “We can survive bad policies. We cannot survive torching the Constitution.”

Alyssa Farah Griffin, who was a press aide for Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, has expressed concerns about Biden’s ability to win in November. But she has offered stark warnings that another Trump victory could mean the end of American democracy “as we know it.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who is retiring at the end of his term, did not rule out voting for Biden over Trump, who he called “dangerous for the country.”

While a potential third-party bid, like the one being organized by No Labels, could attract some anti-Trump conservatives, Democrats believe it is important for Biden to try to win over that faction of Republicans.

“The thing that I would look at if I were the Biden campaign is that third of people who say, no, the election was legitimate, yes, I think that President Trump would be unfit if he were convicted of a crime,” David Axelrod, a former senior adviser in the Obama White House, said on CNN after the Iowa caucuses. “It seems to me among that group, there are people who might consider voting for Biden.”

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