Republicans for Biden

Presidential candidate Joe Biden shaking hands with a politician with an all-blue GOP elephant symbol for his head
“The Republican Party under Trump has completely lost its way in the kind of fundamental principles that folks like me have believed in over the course of our lives.” So says former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, and the principles he alludes to include such things as decency, honesty, separation of powers, and rational decision making. But unlike other public figures who quietly complain about Donald Trump, Orr is actively participating in a movement to block the President from a second term in office.

Orr is the state chairman of “Republicans for a New President”, a national group founded by Evan McMullin, who ran for president as an independent in 2016. And while there are a growing number of similar organizations (including “The Lincoln Project” and “Republicans for the Rule of Law”), Orr’s group is planning to hold its own convention to run concurrent with the Trump coronation in Charlotte beginning August 24. I spoke with Bob Orr to learn more about the mission and strategies of “Republicans for a New President”.


JL: Even though over 90% of registered Republicans say they support Trump, a new Rasmussen poll shows that 23% of Republicans prefer another candidate. Is your group planning to target just those 23%?

Orr: We’re targeting registered Republicans who are dissatisfied with Trump. There is also a large segment of unafilliated voters who lean Republican, so we’re targeting them, as well as a small percentage of conservative Democrats who tend to vote Republican. But whether it’s 10% or 23%, when you start running the numbers, that’s hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina, and when you take it nationally, you’re talking about millions of voters who are in play.

JL: Is your goal to nominate someone who can win in November, or is it just to keep Trump from getting re-elected?

Orr: First of all, we don’t expect any kind of nominating process because the ballot access laws are so difficult to overcome. Beyond that, there is a large section of the population who would say that Trump is a disaster for the country and for the Republican Party, and who would be willing to vote for Joe Biden, then worry about 2024 when that cycle comes around.

JL: So even though your group is not going to nominate a candidate of its own, you’re still planning to hold a convention in August?

Orr: Yeah, and we felt it’s important to do it contemporaneous with the Republican National Convention. Originally we conceptualized actually having our own facility and a goodly number of individuals present, but with all of the uncertainty [about the coronavirus pandemic], we’re probably looking at having a core presence in Charlotte over the course of those four nights, and then doing a lot of the actual presentations through virtual media.

JL: Do you anticipate national coverage?

Orr: Even if we do a primarily virtual convention with the core group in Charlotte, the press is going to be wherever the Republican convention is, and we want to be there. The Republican Party propaganda about our group is that we’re all a bunch of communists and socialists who oppose Trump. Well, we’re going to show you a large segment of long-time Republicans and other major individuals who oppose Trump. I think that’s an important message.

JL: I bet you wouldn’t mind it if one of those major individuals is Joe Biden.

Orr: [laughs] We’d be happy to have Vice President Biden come and acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of Republicans and former Republicans who are going to be supporting him. We may not agree with him on everything, but we trust him, and consider him to be a responsible and experienced leader. We also wouldn’t turn down George W. Bush showing up [laughs].



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