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Trump Voters Who are Sick of Trump

Reaching the Trump voters who might – might – abandon him


Does the Jan. 6 insurrection and abortion matter enough to turn two-time Trump voters away from him? Yes, say longtime pollsters Sarah Longwell and former Republican strategist Tim Mille. And, if approached with the right messaging, and the right messengers, at the right time, they say, these voters could win the election for Joe Biden.

On this recent episode of The Wilderness podcast, the two described focus groups and polling that suggests as many as 30 percent of Republicans who voted twice for Donald Trump are now willing to either leave the top of the ticket blank, vote third-party or (ideally) vote for Biden.

This “persuadable” cohort, they say, includes Trump voters who are not evangelical Christians and not exclusively Fox News watchers. They include military veterans, for whom the Trump-inspired Jan. 6 riot to overturn the 2020 election was a threat to our democracy, and women alarmed over the threat to abortion access.  

Some tips from the pair about messaging to this group:

  • Feature personal testimonials from ex-Trump voters describing their reasoning, rather than talking points from liberal messengers.  

  • Feature multiple voters in any radio, TV and digital ads to boost the credibility of their message.

  • Let these voters describe how difficult it is for them to vote Democratic or not vote for Trump. The harder they find it, the more persuasive they are.

  • Stay away from abstract concepts like “defend our Democracy.” Let these voters emphasize the risks of a second Trump term, such as If we reelect Trump, he might not leave” “there will be more chaos,” and “He’ll be more focused on himself than the good of the country.”  

  • Time any ads close to the election about “what makes their blood boil” about Trump, so they’re not distracted by other issues such as inflation, “socialism” or immigration.

  • And keep abortion, and Trump’s vows to restrict it, central to the messaging.

Check out these videos of actual ex-Trump voters. To me, this makes the case to begin fund raising now for targeted radio, TV and digital ads in October aimed at these persuadable voters. Even a marginal boost in votes for Biden (or lost votes for Trump) could win the entire ball game.

Any takers?

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