Well, here they are: The Republicans of the Democratic National Convention.
On the first night of the DNC, sprinkled among an array of Democrats, a group of Republicans spoke about the importance of electing former Vice President Joe Biden. Or, perhaps more so, they spoke about the danger of re-electing President Donald Trump.
"I'm a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That's why I've chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen. These are not normal times." —former Ohio Gov. @JohnKasich pic.twitter.com/inkhDNxE1j
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) August 18, 2020
The leader of the anti-Trump phalanx was former Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich. A longtime Republican—even a Tea Party favorite, with a history of going after labor unions—he has been ostracized by a party so far to the right it can’t include a man who had his own show on Fox News.
“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country,” Kasich told the crowd-less DNC. “That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times.”
Delivering his prerecorded remarks at the crossroads of two gravel paths, Kasich told viewers that “America is at a crossroads.”
john kasich is at a precipice of an enormous crossroads pic.twitter.com/pZ4wyA2ab4
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 18, 2020
“I’m proud of my Republican heritage,” he said from the field. “But what I have witnessed these past four years has belied those principles.”
Kasich beseeched his fellow moderates to vote for Biden, and said they shouldn’t “fear Joe may turn sharp left.” “No one pushes Joe around,” Kasich said.
The message is clear. Biden, who so far has run squarely on electability, is offering centrist Republicans a way out of the Trump show. Combined with the lack of Bernie or Bust delegates, Democrats hope to cobble together a massive and ever-so-fragile coalition: Anyone who dislikes Trump is welcome.
Vexed in 2016 by Trump’s takeover of the Republican party, Kasich could not bring himself to vote for the Republican ticket or for Hillary Clinton. He put down Senator John McCain, instead. Since 2016, Kasich has spoken out on issues that align with Democratic moderates, like expanding Medicaid. But he is, by no means, a Democrat.
Also speaking at Monday’s DNC was former New Jersey governor Christine Whitman, former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY), and Meg Whitman, the CEO of Quibi. As with the rest of the Republicans on stage, Kasich made an appeal to moderate Republicans squarely based on Trump’s lack of “leadership.”
“I know that Joe Biden, with his experience and his wisdom and his decency, can bring us together to help us find that better way,” Kasich said.