Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, former Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent and former CEO of eBay Meg Whitman are reportedly among the Republicans being considered for various position in a prospective Biden administration.
Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all appointed members of the opposing party, so this would not be a major departure from tradition. But, in the highly-partisan era of President Donald Trump, some fear that stacking the Cabinet with Republicans could alienate the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
“I don’t understand why someone who says, ‘I am the Democratic Party,’ would then hand benefits to someone who’s not a Democrat,” said Jeff Hauser, director of the the Revolving Door Project.
“We need to have people in those positions who will rise to the occasion much like they did in the New Deal era,” said Larry Cohen, the president of the board of Bernie Sanders-affiliated Our Revolution.
Even some moderates expressed opposition to GOP appointments. Matt Bennett of the centrist think tank Third Way said that appointing conservatives would do nothing but alienate progressives.
“You get the downside of having someone in your Cabinet that’s not aligned with you ideologically and alienates the left, without getting the upside of bipartisanship. Does nominating a Never Trumper really bring people together?”
David Segal, the executive director of Demand Progress, said that Biden should look to appoint individuals who would be willing to “push back against corporate power,” support improvements in health care and economic interventionism, instead of trying to woo conservatives.
Cenk Uygur, founder of The Young Turks, shared his thoughts on Twitter.
.@JoeBiden is considering putting Republicans in his Cabinet. Why? Does he think Republicans will vote with him if he reaches across the aisle? Is there still someone in politics that undestands so little about the current state of affairs? That's embarrassing.
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) October 20, 2020
In a follow-up tweet, Uygur pointed out that even those GOP lawmakers who claimed to be opposed to Trump strongly supported his agenda most of the time. Flake, for instance, “huffed and puffed about Trump and then voted with him 84 percent of the time.”
As Politico noted, Biden has repeatedly touted endorsements from prominent conservatives on the campaign trail, openly embracing them as part of his coalition. He has also made it clear that he would be willing to work together with GOP lawmakers once in office.
It is unclear whether this willingness to reach across the aisle could help Biden electorally, but evidence suggests that Trump is exceptionally popular with Republican voters.
According to Gallup, over the past four years, Trump’s approval rating among Republican voters has rarely dropped below 85 percent.