Jeff Flake once served in the U.S. Senate. He is a Republican and reportedly a self-proclaimed proud “conservative” Republican at that.
He is going to support Democrat Joe Biden’s bid to become president of the United States.
Former Sen. Flake is not alone among Republicans who are backing the former vice president in his bid to unseat Donald Trump from the White House.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former House member, spoke at the Democratic National Convention. So did former GOP Rep. Susan Molinari and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. They all are principled Republicans who believe that the president is unfit for office. They want him defeated.
It’s a bit of overstatement to declare that Joe Biden is uniquely qualified by virtue of his many friends on the Republican side of the chasm that splits the parties. Other politicians have been able to reach across the aisle when the need arose. Presidents Bush 41 and 43 did so, as did President Clinton, President Johnson and President Reagan. President Obama had limited success in that regard, but he did have Vice President Biden at his side to pave the way on occasion.
I mention this because it appears to me that Biden well might be able to harvest a good bit of GOP support as he continues his campaign against Donald Trump. We all have noticed occasional cracks in the GOP armor, with Sen. Mitt Romney being openly critical of Trump, as have Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Of course we cannot know how they will vote when the time comes. The Constitution allows Americans to vote in secret. Indeed, I often find it intrusive even to ask a politician how they intend to vote. These decisions ought to be intensely personal.
I remain committed to the notion that good government requires bipartisan compromise and the constant search for common ground. Joe Biden’s lengthy public service career is full of examples of how he has sought commonality with politicians with whom he disagrees. Such a record would serve him — and the nation — well if he becomes president of the United States.
Joe Biden’s bipartisan street cred is beyond dispute, which makes him — among many reasons too numerous to count — preferable to the incumbent in this presidential election.