In connection with Donald Trump’s announcement that he will run for president for the third time in 2024, The Day asked Republican and conservative readers if they would vote for him.
Responses ranged from “absolutely not” to “probably” to “absolutely”.
We asked, “Would you support another term for Trump? Why or why not? Are there other Republican presidential candidates you’d rather support?”
Trump has proven to be a contentious topic for Republicans we’ve spoken to by phone or email. Many said they had lost faith in him in recent years after initially supporting him.
About half of respondents said they oppose Trump’s re-election and pointed to an attempted supporter uprising on January 6, 2020 that stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to undo Trump’s defeat.
The name of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was often mentioned when asked who they would support instead. As well as the names of prominent Republicans Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Chris Sununu, Mike Pence and Glenn Youngkin.
Marshall Collins, a Salem Republican who describes himself as a “New England Republican,” said he would “absolutely not support” Trump if he wins the GOP nomination. He said that Trump was appealing to part of the electorate, but not to the “moderate center”.
Collins fears that Trump’s election will not be affected by problems and will make it easier for the Democratic candidate to win.
“We will not talk about the economy. We will not talk about immigration. We will not talk about foreign policy. All we are going to talk about is how reprehensible Donald Trump personally is,” Collins said. “All the stupid things he says and does will be thrown back to him in return.”
Collins said it’s possible Trump will split the Republican Party if he is nominated.
“I have a feeling that he would run, even if he was a third-party candidate, just to beat the hell out of a Republican,” Collins said. “Donald Trump doesn’t care if he picks someone as ineffective as Joe Biden again.”
As for potential Republican candidates, Collins said he likes Hayley, the former governor of South Carolina in particular, but wants to see how all the candidates campaign before he endorses one of them.
Asked if he would vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee, Collins replied, “About 95% no.”
“I can’t think of a Democrat they can nominate that would make me vote for him. They could prove me wrong. You can get AOC (US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) or something like that. I don’t know what I would have done then,” Collins said. “In the last election, I faced a situation between (Democratic U.S. Senator Richard) Dick Blumenthal and (Trump-backed Republican) candidate Leora Levy, both of whom I don’t like… I couldn’t vote for either of them, so I wrote (Sen. state from the Republican Party) There is the name of Paul Formica.
Disappointed by January 6th
Waterford Republican Jo-Ann Arkara Craddock said she’s gradually become anti-Trump over Jan. 6, “and just acting like a child after the election.”
“He really showed his true colors that he was immature and he wanted to be president no matter what,” Craddock said. “Would he do it again? Who knows. At this point, I’d rather see Ron DeSantis.”
Craddock thinks it’s more likely that DeSantis will accept the election results.
“If DeSantis wins and Trump doesn’t get the nomination, Trump could create a third party because, again, he’s immature,” Craddock said. “It will divide the Republican Party. If he does, the Democrats may win again, and, God forbid, Biden will run again.”
Craddock said she would vote for Trump if the election was between him and Biden, but: “I would prefer DeSantis to be there… I don’t want to see the country the way it is now. Everything seems to be divided.”
Ed Fialkoski, a Republican mystic, was a longtime Democrat but recently switched parties, in part because “it hurts me to be constantly called one of the old white guys who makes all the trouble.”
Fialkoski said he would choose DeSantis over Trump in the primary, but if Trump wins the primary, he will vote for him in the general election. According to him, he prefers a Republican to any Democrat.
“I understand that Trump is cunning, like all of them, he is lying, like all of them,” Fialkoski said. “Don’t forget that he’s fighting big tech, he’s fighting the FBI, the Justice Department, the Democratic Party and most American newspapers… They’re trying to destroy this man. I will vote for him because he will achieve the success this country needs and I will put up with him (expletive).”
At Fialkoski’s request, he showed interest in Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, as a presidential candidate.
Other readers have said they support many of Trump’s policies but are disappointed by Trump’s refusal to concede in the election.
“When the nation acknowledged his failures and voted to remove him from office, I believe his arrogance got the better of him and he took extraordinary steps to thwart the will of the people and override the goals of our constitution,” said Old Lyme Republican Christopher Mullany. “For these and other reasons, I will not support any Republican who supports Trump’s candidacy. And no one he could recommend.
Mullany has been an opponent of Trump since he ran in 2016 and voted libertarian as a result.
Mullany said Trump “just doesn’t fit my idea of a responsible Republican. I think the Republicans were initially fiscal conservatives; somehow it developed into religious conservatism.”
“I recognized him for who he is, he is a manipulator and made his fortune on the fortunes of other people,” Mullany continued. “He went bankrupt several times on other people’s money. I figured it out then, which is why I voted libertarian when he was first nominated.”
Mullany also objected to DeSantis, comparing him to Trump. He said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is reaching out to him.
Bill Donovan of Westerly, who says he is more Republican than Democrat in his political thinking, said he is “an absolute Trump hater.” He said he hated Trump’s attempts to control the press and would support DeSantis “if I can come to terms with the fact that he’s not the smart Donald Trump.”
Donovan said he would vote Democrat in protest if Trump was the Republican nominee.
No blooming bromance
James Bush, a libertarian-leaning independent voter from Waterford, said he thinks Trump is making a mistake by running again.
“Trump has proven to be incredibly divisive… It’s really unfortunate because I actually agree with most of his policies and I appreciate the spirit of the Make America Great Again catchphrase, but his brand has lost the novelty that was the driving force.” his success in 2016,” Bush said. “It’s just that too many people hate Trump, and that’s never a good quality for a statesman. Hillary (Clinton) learned this lesson the hard way.”
Bush said he wants Trump to “put his ego aside and support Ron DeSantis” instead.
“Had he done that, the party would have been united by a rising star whose conservative ideas were successful in the state of Florida,” Bush said. “I was hoping to see a blossoming “bromance” between them, but, alas, this did not happen. Instead, Trump will spend the next two years tearing him to shreds… This does not bode well for 2024.”
Lynn Young of Stonington, an independent voter, said she is financially conservative and socially liberal. She supported Trump in his first run because she “couldn’t bear the thought of Hillary Clinton ‘it’s my turn’ for president.”
Yang said she thought Trump would rise to office level.
“He didn’t, and in the process his significant personality disorders came to light,” she said.
Yang said she likes Trump’s political instincts. She did not mention other candidates she supports, blaming Trump’s dominance of the news, saying she doesn’t know what his likely rival stands for.
“I feel sorry for the potential candidate, because it won’t be Trump, and he will seek to destroy anyone by any means, regardless of the consequences, other than satisfying his thirst for revenge,” Young said.
Montville Republican Steven Linicus said he would support Trump primarily because he was unhappy with Biden’s immigration and public safety policies.
“A lot of people hate Trump. I know he’s not perfect, but he’s a lot better than Biden, who’s just out there somewhere and his mind is gone,” Linicus said. “I know Trump is outspoken sometimes…and his language gets him into trouble. But Biden is a lost cause.”
Paul Nunez, an independent from Norwich, said he would still support Trump, but he thinks the former president is “out of steam… out of steam.”
“It seems that this person does not want to learn, that is, he does not see that he is his worst enemy,” Nunes said. “Would I support another Republican? I may have to, as I’m sure Trump will shoot himself in the foot in the next 23 months… If he could just control his ego, we’d have an amazing leader.”
Ted Genard, a Montville Republican, supported Trump’s stance on labor, the economy, energy, immigration, and foreign policy. He believes Trump has been “unfairly criticized” for colluding with Russia.
“However, this guy doesn’t know when to stop and is his own worst enemy,” Genard said. “Right now he has too much baggage to be effective. The political climate will depend entirely on him, and not on national politics. It’s distracting and counterproductive.”
Denard said he likes DeSantis, Haley and Republican Florida Senator Rick Scott as alternatives.