Geoff Duncan: Why I’m voting for Biden and other Republicans should, too

Donald Trump has disqualified himself through his conduct and his character,
Former president Donald Trump speaks to the media on April 10 at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta. (Megan Varner/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Former president Donald Trump speaks to the media on April 10 at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta. (Megan Varner/Getty Images/TNS)

It’s disappointing to watch an increasing number of Republicans fall in line behind former president Donald Trump. This includes some of his fiercest detractors, such as U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who raised eyebrows during a recent interview by vowing to support the “Republican ticket.”

This mentality is dead wrong.

Yes, elections are a binary choice. Yes, serious questions linger about President Biden’s ability to serve until the age of 86. His progressive policies aren’t to conservatives’ liking.

But the GOP will never rebuild until we move on from the Trump era, leaving conservative (but not angry) Republicans like me no choice but to pull the lever for Biden. At the same time, we should work to elect GOP congressional majorities to block his second-term legislative agenda and provide a check and balance.

The alternative is another term of Trump, a man who has disqualified himself through his conduct and his character. The headlines are ablaze with his hush-money trial over allegations of improper record-keeping for payments to conceal an affair with an adult-film star.

Most important, Trump fanned the flames of unfounded conspiracy theories that led to the horrific events of Jan. 6, 2021. He refuses to admit he lost the last election and has hinted he might do so again after the next one.

Credit: contributed

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Credit: contributed

Those holding their nose and falling behind Trump tend to rely on similar arguments. Sometimes it involves, as Barr stated in his CNN interview, the, “duty to pick the person who I think would do the least damage to the country.”

Ironically, having served as his attorney general until December 2020, Barr saw firsthand Trump’s ability to cause damage. Barr’s declaration that the U.S. Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election infuriated his boss and set off a chain of events that ended with Jan. 6.

Trump and his allies hatched cockamamie schemes that included fake slates of electors and have led to indictments (so far) in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Georgia. They spread wild-eyed conspiracy theories that resulted in defamation lawsuits, including a $148 million verdict against former Trump lawyer and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Other reluctant Trump supporters will cite their policy differences with Biden. Or Trump’s accomplishments as president, ranging from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to three appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. Or they will point to the sense of chaos sweeping the nation right now, most notably the widespread anti-Israel protests at college campuses.

I get it. No one likes paying higher taxes, and these protests are unsettling. But the last year of the Trump presidency was hardly a time of tranquillity. His handling of the pandemic was erratic, including at one point musing about consuming disinfectants. His reliance on incendiary phrases such as “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” fueled racial unrest. His infamous march to St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street from the White House, flanked by top aides (including Barr) and brandishing a Bible, further set the nation ablaze.

Trump has shown us who he is. We should believe him. To think he is going to change at the age of 77 is beyond improbable.

Yet each new day increases the possibility of a second Trump presidency. Voters’ memories are short. A new CNN survey showed a majority (55%) of all Americans viewing Trump’s presidency as a success, while 44% see it as a failure. Compare that with Biden, whom only 39% call a success compared with 61% who think his term has been a failure. The same poll shows Trump with a 6-point national polling lead over Biden, whose approval rating (38%) is well below the 50% threshold of reelected incumbent presidents.

The situation is equally bleak in the battleground states that will determine the next occupant of the White House. A recent poll from the Wall Street Journal showed Trump leading in six out of seven of those states. If these results hold, he will have more than enough electoral votes for a second term.

The healing of the Republican Party cannot begin with Trump as president (and that’s aside from the untold damage that potentially awaits our country). A forthcoming Time magazine cover story lays out in stark terms “the outlines of an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world.”

Unlike Trump, I’ve belonged to the GOP my entire life. This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass.

An AJC contributor, Geoff Duncan served as Georgia’s lieutenant governor from 2019 to 2023. He is a former professional baseball player and the author of “GOP 2.0: How the 2020 Election Can Lead to a Better Way Forward for America’s Conservative Party.” He is also a contributor to CNN.