RINOs Stampede to Hillary

Growing list of liberal Republicans backing Clinton not likely to sway rank-and-file conservatives

Hillary Clinton has rolled out a long list of Republicans supporting her candidacy for president, but the names are not likely to impress the mass of rank-and-rile GOP voters and independents attracted to Donald Trump’s populist message or traditional conservatism.

Most are hardly household names, and many have backgrounds supporting progressive policies vigorously enough that they may be fairly labeled as RINOs — Republicans in Name Only.

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Perhaps the most prominent name on the list was such a RINO that he is not even, technically, a Republican anymore — former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire news executive never was much of a Republican. He assumed the party label when he saw it as his best path to succeed Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and then ditched it when was no longer necessary.

As an independent, Bloomberg formed a group committed to strict gun control. He has donated tens of billions to putting coal workers out of business alongside radical environmentalists.

As mayor, he pioneered the concept of government by nanny state, trying to regulate everything from the size of soda drinks to putting up signs in front of elevators to encourage people to take the stairs.

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Of course he’s endorsed Clinton.

Here are a few others backing Clinton notable for their separation from the GOP base:

Henry Paulson
  • Henry Paulson, George W. Bush’s treasury secretary from 2006 to the end of the president’s second term. A former CEO of Wall Street heavyweight Goldman Sachs, Paulson earned ignominy as architect of the bank bailout following the financial collapse in 2008.
  • Connie Morella, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2003 to 2005. Prior to that, she represented Maryland’s Montgomery County in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 2003. In Congress, she regularly rated as one of the most liberal Republicans, bucking her party on key issue after key issue as her district drifted further and further to the left. Democrats in Maryland repaid her by redrawing her district to make it so Democratic-leaning that even she could not win it.
Christopher Shays
  • Christopher Shays, another liberal Republican congressman. While representing Connecticut in the House in 1998, he was one of just four Republicans who voted against impeaching then-President Bill Clinton for lying under oath about his Oval Office affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Shays ran a campaign ad in 2008 featuring Obama — Shays lost that election.
  • Carlos Gutierrez, who served as commerce secretary under George W. Bush. Gutierrez advised Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 and then formed the super PAC Republicans for Immigration Reform. He told CNN at the time that illegal immigrants “have to be legalized and then you have to find a way to get into a line for the green card, but first some sort of legalization for the workers who are here.” He disagreed with Romney’s contention that he lost the election because Obama promised more government benefits to voters. “I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn’t belong.” In 2013, Gutierrez signed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of same-sex marriage. Gutierrez is also a founding member of TheDream scholarship, which gives undocumented students full-ride scholarships to out-of-state schools.
Richard Henna
  • Richard Hanna, a retiring congressman from New York State. He has deviated from the base of the Republican Party on both social and economic issues. A member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, he was an early Republican supporter of same-sex marriage. He voted against cuts to Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio and is one of only six House Republicans in the 112th Congress who did not sign Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” He opposed a bill to ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy — and at a rally to support the Equal Rights Amendment in 2012, he urged women to donate to Democratic candidates. He was also accused of using part of a Cato Institution report in an op-ed without attribution, but that’s a different issue.
  • Jimmy LaSalvia, a political activist who founded GOProud, a Republican gay rights organization. LaSalvia, however, turned in his Republican registration card in 2014 in favor of becoming an independent. He explained his decision in his memoir, “No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too).” So LaSalvia doesn’t even technically qualify as a Republican for Hillary.

It is, of course, possible the Republican voters will be swayed by a bunch of “Republicans” they’ve mostly never heard of who advocate gay marriage, amnesty, bank bailouts, and gun control — but it would be wise not to bet on it.

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