In an email interview with CNN today, longtime Jeb Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw quit the Republican Party and said that she won’t vote for Donald Trump — in fact, she will vote for Clinton if the race is close in her home state of Florida.
“As much as I don’t want another four years of (President Barack) Obama’s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for” him Bradshaw said. “I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”
Saying that Republcians stand “at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot” for president, Bradshaw announced that she is leaving the GOP to become an independent. “If and when the party regains its sanity, I’ll be ready to return. But until Republicans send a message to party leadership that this cannot stand, nothing will ever change.”
Although Bradshaw had contemplated the move for months, the final straw was Trump attacking Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Gold Star family whose Muslim son died an American hero in Iraq, by suggesting that the grief-stricken mother was not allowed to speak.
Donald Trump belittled a woman who gave birth to a son who died fighting for the United States. If anything, that reinforced my decision to become an independent voter. Every family who loses a loved one in service to our country or who has a family member who serves in the military should be honored, regardless of their political views. Vets and their family have more than earned the right to those views. Someone with the temperament to be president would understand and respect that.
Rather than apologize and move on, Trump has kept on hitting back at the Khans, lamely insisting that he has been “attacked” or “set up.” At his behest, campaign surrogates have performed a mass swan-dive into absurd conspiratorial waters over the last 24 hours.
3. This isn't a bug of the Trump campaign. This is the strategy. Trump clearly is guided more by Stone than Manafort https://t.co/Gw35ghbJm7
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) August 1, 2016
Bradshaw may not be a household name, but her decision is not taking place in a vacuum. Conservative columnist George Will, Iowa state senator David Johnson, and mayor Danny Jones of Charleston, West Virginia have all repudiated the Republican Party in recent weeks over Trump’s nomination.
This flight of dedicated, idealistic conservatives from the fold reinforces a widespread impression that Republicans are no longer a normal political party capable of winning mainstream, ‘strategic’ voters like Bradshaw who don’t want to be members of an openly-extremist or white nationalist political party.
But even if the republic itself is at stake, Bradshaw admittedly still doesn’t have an easy time supporting a Democrat that Republicans have spent decades hating.
I disagree with [Clinton] on several important issues. I have worked to elect Republicans to national and statewide offices for the last 30 years. I have never voted for a Democrat for president, and I consider myself a conservative, a supporter of limited government, gun rights, free enterprise, equality of opportunity. I am pro-life.
Now that the conventions are over and the general election campaign is underway, Trump’s challenge is to find enough persuadable voters in a few ‘swing states’ to win an Electoral College majority. But that’s getting harder for him to do all the time when he keeps alienating the Sally Bradshaws of the world.
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