The 48-year-old from
Now Thul finds himself in the unlikely position of rooting for
Thul is a "Never Trumper," one of a small but vocal class of Republican dissenters in
Despite overwhelming support for Trump in the
Never Trumpers may lack the votes to swing even a close presidential race, but they are using well-funded advertising campaigns and social media intended to erode Trump's support with
"My goal and my best case scenario is that
"We found it's more convincing to those who are on the fence about Trump to hear from people like themselves than it is to hear from a bunch of Republican elites," Longwell said.
"Trump is not a conservative. Trump is about whatever he can get away with that day," said Thul, whose Twitter account the last four years has been a daily litany of anti-Trump messages and memes.
With partisanship and polarization now the default setting in national politics, Thul said most of the activists he got to know over six years in local GOP politics no longer speak to him.
"Don't let the door hit you on the way out,"
"They're going down the same path they did with
But the ferocity of the attacks against Trump from some of his conservative critics is without parallel in recent political history.
"Number one, he's not competent. He's not running a competent government," said
Recent national and swing-state polls have shown Biden open a narrow but persistent lead over Trump. By the end of last week, the website FiveThirtyEight.com's running average of national polls had Biden leading Trump by 9.2 percentage points.
But the candidates have polled tighter in key swing states, raising the prospect that Trump could still pull off an electoral college win. Last month's Minnesota Poll had Biden at 49% and Trump at 44%.
A number of
"Getting rid of the police -- that's just insanity," said Brehm, now a
Republican politicians sharing the ballot with Trump this fall have nothing but praise for Trump's policies and his performance as president. In addition to debate over public safety, they see political fodder in the state of
"Look at the accomplishments of our president," said
Stauber is a freshman Republican from northeastern
Former state Sen.
"He's popular, very popular in this district," said Fischbach, who is positioned to benefit from a big rural turnout for Trump even if he bottoms out in
Lewis, the former congressman and radio host now running against Democratic Sen.
Lewis said he doesn't blame Trump for his 2018 loss. "You always get a midterm pullback for the party in the
Trump's success with most
"What Trump did was drag the
Thul picks none of the above. He won't vote for Trump. He doesn't think he can bring himself to vote for Biden, and he fears that an anti-Trump wave in November will sweep
In 2016, Thul voted for conservative independent
"Biden? Yeah, I'm considering it," Cobb said. "I fundamentally disagree with most of his platform. But there's bigger things at stake here."
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