Former RNC Chair Michael Steele Endorses Joe Biden

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president. Steele, a moderate, also served as the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 2003-2007.

In an NBC editorial published on Tuesday, Steele makes a simple case: he is an American first and a Republican second.

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“I was, and am, convinced that conservative principles, individual initiative and free enterprise are the most effective means of empowering people to achieve the American Dream,” wrote Steele. “I was, and am, convinced that conservative principles, individual initiative and free enterprise are the most effective means of empowering people to achieve the American Dream.”

Trump, Steele said, is too dangerous, divisive, and inept to remain in office.

Rather than standing up to the world’s dictators, Trump cravenly seeks the favor of thugs. Rather than fostering free enterprise, Trump embraces economic principles not only outdated in Lincoln’s time, but made even worse today by a leader who lost close to a billion dollars in a single year running a casino. Rather than seeking to build on the legacy of the Republican Party’s founders, of which Trump is surely ignorant, Trump has posited a single purpose for the GOP — the celebration of him.

Steele said that the GOP has morphed from a legitimate political party into a Trump cult:

The Republican Party stopped pursuing its animating principles of freedom and opportunity. It has given up its voice on things that mattered and instead bent the arc of the party towards the baser motives of one man, who is neither a Republican nor a conservative.

Although Steele admittedly “disagrees with Biden on many issues and policies, sometimes vigorously,” he still holds the “fervent hope that he will pursue policies that will help our country heal.”

The 2020 election, however, “is not about those issues or policies,” Steele continued. “Rather, it is about the course of a nation and the character of her people reflected in the leader they choose. I am asking my fellow Americans to consider what is in your best interests, and not Donald Trump’s.”

As an example of picking unity over partisanship, Steele alluded to the election of 1860, which was won by the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln:

In 1860, the Democratic nominee Stephen Douglas, anticipating a Lincoln victory, spent the campaign’s final months traveling throughout the South, calling for unity. After Lincoln’s win, Douglas conspicuously demonstrated that, notwithstanding their political differences, he was part of the loyal opposition, and strongly supported the incoming president’s efforts to bring the country together. Above all, he chose to do what was best for the country.

Above all else, Steele concluded, is the character of candidates, of the electorate, and of the country. Biden, he said, has what it takes to help our nation recover from the trauma of Trump’s tenure.

“As I’ve reflected on matters of leadership, decency, and constitutional norms I am reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, ‘A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.’ Character matters. Our vote matters. The leader we choose matters,” Steele said. “I cannot be silent, and I hope neither can you because we know a vote for Joe Biden is what is best for our country — because America matters.”

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