Jerushah Duford, Jane Calderwood, Jennifer Horn, Beth Fukumoto, and Jennifer Waisath Harris are five … [+] of over a dozen women who are joining forces to take down Donald Trump.
For Jerushah Duford, granddaughter to the late Billy Graham, it’s the damage she says President Trump has done to America and the Evangelical church. Texas Republican Jennifer Waisath Harris, who worked for a former U.S. Ambassador and two Texas Secretaries of State, points to what she calls racist rhetoric from the president. Beth Fukumoto, a Hawaii Republican House Leader from 2014 to 2017, decries the Republican Partyâs descent into what she calls âTrumpism.â And Jane Calderwood, chief of staff for former three-term Sen. Olympia Snowe, said it’s the Republican Party’s inability to work across the aisle.
These four women, from different states and backgrounds, have one thing in common: theyâre either current or former members of the Republican Party who want Donald Trump voted out of the White House come Election Day. Now, theyâve banded together with over a dozen other women from around the country to form an offshoot of The Lincoln Project called Lincoln Women. It launches today, just days before the Republican Party is set to nominate Trump for a second presidential term.
« We know that women will play a critical role in defeating Donald Trump in this election, » said Jennifer Horn, cofounder of The Lincoln Project and former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.
Horn, who is spearheading the expansion effort, said the women who were brought onboard all have one distinguishing feature.
âThey are women who are unwilling to yield to the demeaning assaults from the president, or pressure from the Republican Party,â she said.
The Lincoln Project is a Republican PAC working to convince Republican and Conservative voters to … [+] vote Democrat in this year’s presidential election.
The Lincoln Project launched in December 2019 and quickly established itself as a heavy hitter in the political landscape, gaining 2 million followers on Twitter and becoming a source of ire for many in the Republican Party, including Trump, who has tweeted multiple attacks against the group. Through a very effective digital and television ad operation, the founders, all past and present influential Republicans, are working to convince fellow Republicans, conservatives, and right-leaning independents to vote for the Democratic Party in this year’s election, ranging from former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to key House and Senate races. They believe Trump is a threat to American democracy.
As The Lincoln Project works to influence voters nationwide, Lincoln Women will establish itself as a coalition of current and former Republican women committed to making sure that Donald Trump is a one-term President. The leadership team includes a diverse group of women who plan to use their voices and political clout to communicate with female voters across the country.
As one of Hawaiiâs highest-ranking Republicans for four years, Fukumoto said there was a time when she never couldâve imagined going against her own party. But, when Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, everything changed. Fukumoto spoke out against Trump, even after he was elected, stating that she didn’t believe his values were aligned with the Republican Party. In 2017, she spoke out against him again, this time at a Hawaii Women’s March. Within 24 hours, Republicans were calling for her resignation.
« They said they would keep me as a leader if I promised not to speak against [Trump] anymore, at which point, I knew it was time for me to leave, » Fukumoto said.
« I said in my resignation letter that I didn’t think there was any space for me anymore in the Republican Party, and I didn’t have any hope that it was going to change. »
Fukumoto left and became a Democrat, even serving as a Democratic State Representative from 2017 to 2018. She says she couldn’t condone what she saw as language and policies being used by the Republican Party to divide the country, nor could she turn a blind eye to the partyâs seemingly never-ending loyalty to Trump, at whatever the cost.
« That The Lincoln Project has stood up and is taking action, both against Trump and what the Republican Party has become, I think is huge,â she said.
âThey endorsed Joe Biden! The fact that they are willing to help Democrats across the aisle provides hope for politics. »
Fukumoto hopes by standing with Lincoln Women, other Republicans who may feel the same as her will be less alone in stepping out against their party. It’s the same story for Calderwood, who registered as a Democrat for the first time in her life when she moved back to Maine two years ago from Washington D.C.
While working as a legislative director in the House and a chief of staff in the Senate with Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, Calderwood says teaming up with Democrats was almost like second nature. She said it didnât matter to Sen. Snowe who they had to work with to solve a problem – as long as it got done.
« Democrats and Republicans worked together to pass groundbreaking legislation, and it wasn’t so much about your party but about whether you had a good idea,â Calderwood said.
« But, the current version of the Republican Party doesn’t seem to care about fixing problems to make things better for the American people. »
Calderwood reminisced on her time working in Washington with Snowe, and how they always sought co-sponsors from the other side of the aisle when proposing a bill. She says they would continuously look at issues not as Democratic or Republican, but simply as problems that needed to be solved, something she thinks is sorely lacking in Washington today. Itâs part of what convinced her to join up with Lincoln Women.
« We need to put people back in office who will do their job and not just follow whoever is the head of their party, » Calderwood said.
« I think it’s more important than ever, considering the current state we’re in and all the things that the current leader of the free world has not done to protect us from Covid-19, and how he has treated other issues and how he’s destroying the US Postal Service. »
Calderwood said she wants to encourage people to vote for the country over party, which has been somewhat of a motto for The Lincoln Project as they work to defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box in November. Through their video advertisements, The Lincoln Project has criticized everything from Trump’s Covid-19 response to his treatment of women who call him to task. Those digital and television video advertisements will only continue, but many will be focused on women.
The president was trailing Biden by 25 points among women in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, and 28 points in a Quinnipiac poll from mid-July. Thatâs well above the 15-point margin female voters delivered for Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. Lincoln Women hopes to increase the gap even further.
« It is essential that these women turn out and vote for Joe Biden, as opposed to just staying home because they feel like they can’t vote for Donald Trump, » Horn said.
« A big part of what we’re going to be doing at the Lincoln Project is making the argument that even though Joe Biden is not the perfect candidate, he will be a decent person that will bring constitutional leadership back to the White House. »
Waisath Harris, who just became a member of Lincoln Women, but who has been a member of The Lincoln Project’s Texas Leadership team since mid-July, hopes she can convince fellow Republican women to vote outside of their party, by showing that it’s okay to do so.
It’s the same for Duford, too, who says she was taught by her grandfather, the late Billy Graham, to follow scripture to learn how to live life and treat people; she says her grandfather spent time and lived with marginalized communities, always advocating for them. Duford says she doesnât know how anyone can justify the stark contrast between the lessons of Jesus and what the world has witnessed in the White House for the last four years.
« I think I’m speaking to the woman who has always voted Republican but is not sure if they can anymore, but they’re also not sure how they feel about voting Democrat because they’ve never done it, » Duford said.
« I’m speaking to the woman who feels that tug in their spirit. We want to empathize with them that we know you feel this tug, and you feel uncomfortable voting Democrat because you never have. But at the same time, it’s okay to follow your conscience. And it’s okay to use your voice at the polls this November. »
As part of the response to the Republican National Convention, which runs from August 24 through the 26, the Lincoln Women will be hosting a National Lincoln Women’s digital town hall on Wednesday, August 26. It will include a few Lincoln Women’s leadership team members and a special guest, Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist at The Washington Post. It can be watched on the PAC’s YouTube page.
Meanwhile, as The Lincoln Project ads ramp up this week because of the convention, so will their efforts to sway Republican women voters.
« We are here to ask women to embrace the power that they have for the good of every generation to come. »
Iâm a three-time Emmy-nominated journalist with a decade of experience in media who has covered major national stories like the aftermath of the Charlottesville âUnite
Iâm a three-time Emmy-nominated journalist with a decade of experience in media who has covered major national stories like the aftermath of the Charlottesville âUnite the Rightâ rally and President Trumpâs âtravel banâ in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
I became a journalist to speak for the voiceless, like my severely disabled sister. I have used my platform to shed light on important issues impacting people with disabilities and other vulnerable and disenfranchised communities.
I won a Catalyst for Change award from the ARC of Virginia for the impact of my reporting and an Emmy nomination for an investigation exposing neglect and abuse at an assisted living facility.
My goal as a journalist is to leave the world a better place by spreading hope with my work while ensuring the truth is always told, and wrongdoing is exposed.
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