Veterans Showed Up For Biden This Year — And Trump Wants To Dump Military Ballots
While Trump continues to pursue long-shot strategies that he thinks will overturn the democratic election results, which would include throwing out military ballots, President-elect Biden has moved forward with building transition teams and naming advisers, including for veterans’ issues.
President-elect Joe Biden made significant headway in reducing the GOP’s long-held popularity with military voters, according to early election data, which is consistent with what polling by the outlet Military Times showed before the election.
The Military Times this week cited exit polling from Edison Research that showed 52 percent of military and veteran voters preferred President Donald Trump to Biden, who 45 percent preferred. That margin is much narrower than in 2016, when Trump enjoyed a 26-percent advantage, pulling in 60 percent to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 34 percent.
Election analysts have warned about putting too much stock in exit polling this year and this early, but the Edison Research data is more reliable than most, as it surveyed both in-person and mail-in ballot voters (which some other pollsters failed to do).
The data is also consistent with other surveys of military and veteran voters, which showed Trump continually losing popularity among this group as he ignored reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, continued to fire defense officials at will, and reportedly called veterans who died “suckers and losers.” This also came after years of Trump denigrating Gold Star families like that of Khizr Khan’s and constantly attacking POW hero, the late Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona.
By comparison, Biden is a Blue Star father who has spoken frequently and forcefully of the sacrifice his late son Beau Biden and other American soldiers have made. (Beau died of cancer in 2015 and was active in the Army National Guard before that.) During his time as Vice President, Biden and his wife Jill Biden focused on veterans’ issues, emphasizing the “sacred obligation” the country owes its veterans.
Biden just said Beau "wasn't a sucker" for volunteering to serve in the military. Of course this is deeply personal for him. In July 2018, long before his campaign started, he and Jill Biden joined veterans walking 1,000 miles across the U.S. to raise awareness for mental health. https://t.co/lWUwRc8IUD— Versha Sharma (@versharma) September 4, 2020
Among active-duty personnel specifically, Biden had a slight edge compared to Trump in an August Military Times poll, 41 percent to 37 percent.
Younger veterans were also more likely to support Biden than Trump, according to October polling. Of veterans ages 34 to 54, Biden was favored by 51 percent and Trump by 40 percent. By comparison, only 38 percent of older veterans (age 55 and older) favored Biden, compared to 59 percent support for Trump. That is also consistent with trends among young voters at large, who overwhelmingly supported Biden over Trump this year.
Despite the data, a Republican poll watcher in Detroit, Michigan, claimed in an affidavit to find it “odd” that so many military voters supported Biden this year — but the evidence supports that fact.
Trump’s baseless ‘stop the count’ lawsuits would disenfranchise military votersThe fact that Trump’s ongoing attempts in court to stop the vote count or throw out ballots in certain states would disenfranchise military voters has not been lost on them.
The Military Times pointed out that Trump “called for state officials in Pennsylvania and other states to stop counting [mail-in ballots], claiming the method is rife with fraud. Such a move would potentially invalidate thousands of military votes.”
Members of the military overseas rely on mail-in ballots to cast their votes, and their ballots can take longer to reach the U.S. than others. Some states allow a lengthy period for election officials to count military ballots after Election Day, which is exactly what Trump has been arguing against.
Former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis also spoke out against Trump’s antics in an interview with NowThis:
On Wednesday, Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke on SiriusXM about the Trump team's attempts in Nevada to invalidate ballots by wrongly placing military families on a list of people who allegedly move out of the state. "There's nothing that the Trump campaign won't do to try to overturn the will of the people. And now it appears that includes throwing out military ballots in Nevada," she said. "I think it's unconscionable for Republicans to continue efforts to toss out any vote in our democracy, let alone the votes of our brave men and women in uniform."
While Trump continues to pursue long-shot strategies that he thinks will overturn the democratic election results, President-elect Biden has moved forward with building transition teams and naming advisers, including for veterans’ issues.