Does anyone know a former Trump voter who is now a Biden-Harris fan?

A friend’s Facebook post:

Nate Silver’s project 538 gives odds for Trump vs. Biden as 17 vs 82 … I am not a glorified data scientist with a bunch of other data scientists developing predictive models for me, but I dare to make a risky prediction contradicting Nate Silver’s. My “data model” is pretty simple, it is based on very subjective observations that I know/observed quite a few people who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, or even voted for Clinton, and who are planning to vote for Trump now. And I am yet to encounter one, just ONE case when someone who voted for Trump in 2016 is going to vote for Biden. It looks like a very one-directional flow of votes.
Of course, it is very subjective and prone to some selective bias – thus I am curious if someone-somewhere knows ANYBODY who voted for Trump in 2016 and is going to vote for Biden now.

As there is nobody here in Maskachusetts who will admit to having voted for Trump, I want to bounce this question to the readers in other states, preferably swing states. (Nobody’s vote matters here, since the candidates are either running literally unopposed (no other choice) or practically unopposed (outcome already known).)

Has anyone met a person who said “I voted for Trump in 2016, but now I prefer the prospect of President Biden/Harris”?

Maybe the real answer is that nobody changes party affiliation and the only reason elections have different outcomes is turnout?

43 thoughts on “Does anyone know a former Trump voter who is now a Biden-Harris fan?

  1. [I want to bounce this question to the readers in other states, preferably swing states. (Nobody’s vote matters here, since the candidates are either running literally unopposed (no other choice) or practically unopposed (outcome already known).)]

    Technically, the chance your vote will matter is still minuscule, even in a swing state, so also from an individual perspective, his vote is still wasted.

    • Sure, but if someone in a swing state says “I have 10 friends who voted for Trump and now will vote against Trump” that would give us some reason to credit the latest polls, no?

    • “Sure, but if someone in a swing state says “I have 10 friends who voted for Trump and now will vote against Trump” that would give us some reason to credit the latest polls, no?”

      From logic, one would expect that a fractional generation (4 years) of youth that don’t share American values like Apple Pie, Westerns, Self reliance, Individualism will mostly vote against Republicans.

      Then there must be these on the fence people that don’t want their houses looted and or confiscated, and see no condemnation of lawlessness from the left.

      On the other hand, if you’re a coal miner, and depended on Trump to revitalize your industry, tough luck! (negative for trump!)

      But if you expected the world to end due to Trump, and it didn’t really happen, or if it did, the ‘rona is not really his fault, he now has the experience.

      I really have no idea which of these are most significant.

    • Isn’t it all about turn-out, considering how few voters can be bothered to help choose the “Leader of the Free World”?

  2. From another state where our votes “don’t matter” as it will always end up being blue (California), I do not know of anyone who has copped to voting for Trump in 2016 but is voting now for Biden-Harris. I do, however, know of one person who voted for Clinton in 2016 who told me she is now voting for Trump (partly out of a feeling of rage and betrayal by the Democrats running our city and state keeping her business indefinitely shut). And another friend who told me she didn’t vote at all in 2016, but will be voting for Trump in 2020. (She is Indian and grew up in the Middle East until emigrating here in her early teens. Her rationale: “The US needs a strong leader because we have enemies who want to destroy us. We can’t be seen as weak by other countries. Biden is weak. I don’t like Trump, but he is strong and other countries are less likely to f*ck with us.”) This is in bluer-than-blue San Francisco.

    • Jen: That’s funny about your friend and her desire for a strong military posture! I was just in an email discussion with some nerds in Silicon Valley (we all used to work in the same group at MIT). They were talking about the F-35 fighter plane and its massive body of C code as well as its massive cost. One guy said “I wonder what languages our opponents use.” and I responded with “We don’t have any opponents! We’re mostly fighting ourselves (or at least groups of people that we used to or continue to fund) for the last 20+ years!”

  3. I know many men who voted for Trump, and have decided it would be catastrophic to do so in 2020. Many.

    • Andrew: Where do you live? How would you characterize these voters, other than that they identify as “men”? Income? Occupation? Age?

  4. People are free to vote for whomever they like for whatever reason but I truly struggle to understand why any rationally thinking being could think of Trump as a strong leader? The USA has never beeb as weak as it is now, after 4 years with Trump. Where, in his current reign, are there any display of strong keadership?

    • That’s another Alex asking that question. Please be aware that the Alex that posted that may be named Pavel.

    • Christian: The U.S. should be expected to get weaker every year as other countries get richer and the percent of world GDP that is the U.S. gets smaller. But maybe that is a good thing. Do we want to stay strong if it means poverty for our brothers/sisters/binary resisters in China or Nigeria?

      I am not sure that I believe that the U.S. has gotten knocked off its gradual weakening curve by Trump, though. Didn’t previous presidents, for example, draw a bunch of lines in the sand and make threats to foreign countries that crossed the lines and then, when those foreign countries actually did cross the lines, do pretty much nothing? Has Trump humiliated us by doing anything similar?

    • Note to readers: Pavel is a foreigner who has admitted to meddling in our election. This may be a crime!

  5. From Washington State, I can report that I have not heard any of my acquaintances who support Trump declare that they will vote for Biden. However, I also have not heard any of my acquaintances who supported Clinton in 2016 declare that they will vote for Trump this year.

    Also, at the risk of feeding the trolls, I’m truly astounded by the comment that “the USA has never [been] as weak as it is now”. If we only considered foreign policy with respect to China, in which Trump seems to have fairly broad support from experts and politicians associated with both parties, then I think we would have to say the US is stronger.

    Personally, this will be my first presidential election since becoming a citizen (no, I never voted as a permanent resident, though I hear some “immigrants” have). I’m excited about this personal milestone, but apprehensive about what happens afterwards regardless of who is elected.

    • I think there’s good reason to believe Trump’s foreign policy is a mess because he wouldn’t listen very well to people who gave him very good advice regarding his “gut level assessments” of adversarial leaders, which extracted a large opportunity cost from our government and placed us at a disadvantage, in addition to the ways he runs his Administration that have frustrated and demoralized the best people he has, needlessly. Those are mistakes – to be sure. So in terms of my own assessments of Trump’s foreign policy acumen, I agree with John Bolton. Really. Not just on the daily politics of Twitter, but in the larger sense of what America means to the world. Whether or not he could change that behavior in a second term is up to someone’s crystal ball to decide. Everyone can change, right?

    • And by the way, Bolton is not voting for Biden. He’s going to write-in Ronald Reagan, according to the interview. “Hope springs eternal.” I think he was being a little facetious there, but the rest of the interview is straight up.

  6. I have never heard of anyone who voted for Trump last time and will vote for Biden this time. It seems illogical since for better or worse Trump turned out to be the man he appeared to be in 2016 & in fact accomplished a lot more than people would have predicted, e.g., getting rid of the State and Local deduction and thereby making the tax code fairer, no wars, smart strategy in the Mideast, excellent Sup Ct picks. Hillary had her pants suit brigade but who does Biden have? The senile with their slogan “don’t forget, Joe.” And you would think that those people who voted for Trump the last time around, i.e., the deplorables, would even be more adamant given how the media and the dems have done their best to nullify the 2016 election & therefore the votes of the deplorables.

    • “…getting rid of the State and Local deduction and thereby making the tax code fairer,…”

      What??? How did this make the tax code “fairer”….for who? All I know is because of the loss of those deductions I did not get a refund for the first time in my 65 year old life, and in fact had to pay upwards of $5000.00 in extra Fed Tax. And let me assure you that I’m not even close to being a millionaire.

    • It’s absolutely unfair for Kansas suburban voters with low property taxes to pay more Federal income tax so Bostonians can overpay high property tax. Federal deductions for SALT are a subsidy from low-tax states to high-tax states, and limiting the SALT deduction makes that fairer.

      Though this is balanced somewhat by the farm subsidy that transfers Bostonian income to Kansas farmers, while also allowing you to pay more for Kansas grain-fed beef.

    • Most have not. The SALT wasn’t eliminated, it was capped. So if you have a $355K house in Prairie Village you likely get the full deduction. If you have the same size, same age $2.95M dollar house actually outside of Cambridge, MA you probably are getting less than half what you got four tax years ago. The subsidy has been largely eliminated.

    • Jim: Now that we know that your tax obligation has gone UP under the cruel tyranny of the Trumpenfuhrer, you’re not disproving my theory that Americans tend to vote their economic interests!

      tc: You are rubbing salt into the wounds of people here in Maskachusetts! Since we need much higher incomes to pay the high costs of living here, that means we are going to pay a lot in income tax (despite a “progressive” flat rate) and property tax, neither of which are significantly deductible anymore.

  7. WRT to the other Alex’s comments, I fear the comment section of Phil’s blog is not really up to the challenge of discussing the ups and downs of J. Bolton’s reputation over the years or the pros and cons of a Jacksonian (per Walter Russell Mead) foreign policy.

    +1 for better threading.

    • I don’t know whether better threading will solve this, but I do know that Bolton’s reputation over the years has been controversial, especially in international legal circles and among people associated with the International Criminal Court. However, the primary arc of his interview simply calls for less chaos in the Administration of our government, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. We can choose whatever policy we want, but if we can’t make it effective and our friends and allies don’t know what we’re really doing because the President does foreign policy via Twitter, it’s very dangerous.

    • Bolton is just one voter! And I am not sure that he votes in a swing state. And Trump voters from 2016 might like it if foreign policy is done by Twitter (maybe we would have avoided some of our most pointless wars if everything were done via Twitter). So instead of considering whether Trump has done a good or a bad job (this will depend hugely on one’s personal circumstances, e.g., if you’re paying no-longer-deductible 13% California state income tax you probably would say “bad”), can we return to the original post question as to whether there are, in fact, the people whom the polls claim exist?

  8. A bigger issue for Trump is that his support skews elderly and 11 million old folks have died since 2016. Even if not a single 2016 Trump voter switches to Biden, Trump still lost millions of votes.

    • Well, they’ve died but they’ve also been replaced with new, old people. The problem really is that some of the new. old people don’t like his response to COVID. 538’s “A+” Florida polls have them very, very close.

      As for myself, I have not heard anyone who voted for Trump say they would vote for Biden, but my sample is biased by a lot of gun owners.

  9. The ‘are you better off than you were 4 years ago’ question is getting record yes’s. Even with princess ‘rona. Note also the Biden winning margins are tracking exactly what the Clinton winning margins were at the same time in 2016. And of course remember 2016 when no one would admit to being a Trump voter because of a little social shame? Now admitting you are a Trump voter can get you an Antifa infestation. It is going to be Trump by a longshot. Post election night mail in ballots, court cases, riots, and of course some federal judge in Hawaii declaring Biden the President effective immediately, but Trump will win the proper vote.

  10. I know a Pennsylvania voter for Trump who is now a Florida voter for Biden. She now claims she was never a Trump supporter, which is how she resolves her cognitive dissonance. Four years ago he was going to drain the swamp, even if he had to burn it all down. Now he’s a game-show host who could never have been up to the job of President.

    I know another Pennsylvania voter for Trump who is no longer a Trump supporter, but doesn’t really support anybody. (Still in PA.) I suspect a vote for Biden will be cast, but never discussed. Similar comments about how Trump can’t do the job, but nothing about how four years ago Trump was going to make it all better.

    • Thanks, tc. Exactly what I was looking for. I guess this is something that every president running for reelection must face. Obama voters from 2008 had to look back in 2012 and realize that he’d managed to get only one law passed: Obamacare. Reagan voters from 1980 had to look back in 1984 to realize that Congress had adopted Reagan’s tax cuts, but not his spending/government cuts (e.g., Reagan tried to eliminate the then-new Department of Education on the grounds that states and cities were responsible for running schools). This, of course, led to a massive deficit that still hasn’t been paid off!

    • Philg – department of Education might not be the best example of possible cuts at about 3% of the budget…

      But generally speaking the Republican plan tends to be tax cuts (mostly for upper brackets) without cutting expenses and running up larger deficits. Seems to have been that way since Reagan. Yet the myth of fiscal responsibility persists!

  11. Considering all else equal there are probably a few Trump voters who have died and some new Biden voters that were too young to vote in 2016.

  12. I know plenty that voted for Trump because they couldn’t stomach Hillary. They don’t feel that way about Biden, and already voted for him via absentee ballots. These are elderly, white males….the kind that meet at the local doughnut or coffee shop every morning.

  13. I think it’s fair to say that Trump has given up on trying to persuade anyone who was sitting the fence between him and Biden. He’s thrown the second debate away with prejudice, he probably will never agree to another one, and so at this point he’s got all his chips on the table as far I can tell: he has bet the whole farm on what he’s already got, or thinks he has. He picked up his marbles and went home.

    Whether we wind up looking something like Egypt in 2013 and 2014 is anybody’s guess at this point.

  14. You bet I vote for my economic interest…along with other things. That’s why I don’t understand why the south keeps voting in republicans.

    I’m not buying the rob Peter to pay Paul, Kansas funds Mass tax scenario. People don’t like their deductions removed…especially rich people, who the are the real beneficiaries of the trump tax cut.

    • Jim –

      How is “People don’t like their deductions removed” different from saying “People don’t like their taxes raised”? Just think of it as paying the taxes your state government thought were fair, added to the taxes your federal government thought were fair, then channel that rage of having to pay more money for no good reason to people who seem to be experts in nothing other than spending other people’s money into understanding why people might vote for Republicans who say they want to lower taxes. Unless you think paying more taxes is a good thing, because a more powerful government is a good thing, and less power for individual citizens in the form of their own disposable income is a bad thing, in which case you should continue to vote for leaders who raise your taxes.

      Whether or not our system of government that allowed for President Trump to become President and threaten the whole country’s-ney, the while world’s existence (sarcasm here) – should be given more, not less power, is up for you to decide with your vote.

      Most of us think that people we have never and will never meet- who live in other states and openly admit to, even brag about not understanding us – don’t need more power in the form of our tax dollars.

      Does that help?

      -The South

    • No, it doesn’t help at all. I have lost deductions and am paying more tax. If the trump tax cut helped you, I’m happy for you.

  15. I would like to apologize for my comment on the weakness of the USA, it was an emotional outburst for which I have no bcaking evidence. It was fueled by the sentiment (that I guess is prevalent here in Europe) that the US has withdrawn from trying to lead the free world which of course is not the same thing as being weakened.

    I do however stand by my question:
    – how would you define a strong leader
    – do you see Trump as having been a strong leader in his first term …
    – … if not, why do you think a second term of his would be any different

    • Sent too soon. In any case, I think this is the wrong question to ask in the face of the data. I haven’t heard of many former Trump supporters moving towards Biden, but I *have* seen a lot of formerly unmotivated voters decide to show up for Biden.

      The “new old people” comment above doesn’t make much sense. Trump voters skewed older. Assuming that most people retain their political orientations over 4 years, the fact that they’re entering a new age bracket doesn’t matter – they will still be more Biden-supporting than that age bracket 4 years ago.

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