Lifelong Republicans are turning out to vote for Biden, unable to stomach another Trump term

President Trump has always had a fan base that would literally follow him off the edge of a cliff. But he's also had support from Republicans outside of his base—people who range from diehard fiscal conservatives to one-issue voters to hold-their-nose-and-vote folks who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary.

This election, however, there seems to be a turn of the tide. We've seen prominent Republicans who served in previous GOP administrations come out in support of Biden, warning the nation that Trump poses a danger to our democracy. We've seen coalitions of Republicans from The Lincoln Project to RVAT (Republican Voters Against Trump) form in the past couple of years. And we've even seen people who have served recently in Trump's own administration encouraging people not to vote for him based on their experiences in the White House and seeing his behavior up close.

It's historically unprecedented for an incumbent president to lose so many members of their own party, though it's not surprising to the millions who have always seen Trump for who he is. Now it seems many everyday conservative Americans are recognizing that restoring sanity, stability, and decency to the presidency is the first order of business right now—partisanship be damned.

Twitter users are sharing stories of friends and loved ones who are lifelong Republicans voting for Biden—and even voting for him early.


Some are even voting Democrat all the way down the ticket.

For some, it's their parents who have made the switch. For others, it's actually themselves.

Many of the stories are about folks in the older generation, who may have been put off by the president's cavalier attitude about COVID, which poses the greatest threat to their age group. Or it could be that they are dismayed by how far the dignity of the office has fallen under Trump.

One person shared that her 81-year-old mother understood the "toxic agenda" from the Council for National Policy—a secretive, right-wing policy-pushing group where mainstream conservatives and extremists mix, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The stories seem to be met with a mix of outright glee and cautious optimism, as many people are still hesitant to feel too hopeful after the 2016 election.

But it is heartening to see that even those who are exposed to Fox News aren't necessarily lost.

For some of these folks, voting for anyone other than a Republican is a big deal, especially when they are surrounded by folks who believe in kooky conspiracy theories. Their willingness to put country over party should be celebrated.


For some, a combination of reading actual news and the influence of younger generations have made the difference.

It's almost enough to make you think that the polls that have Biden's already sizable lead growing might have some legs. Almost.

One story was particularly touching. Brennan Suen is an LGBTQ activist who was inspired by AOC to find one person in his life that he could talk sense into in the election. He chose his 94-year-old grandmother who has always voted Republican.

Suen wrote:

"After RBG died, I listened to @AOC say, there is someone in your life who only you can get to in this election, and it is your job to get to them. Since then, I have been filled with anxiety knowing what I needed to do. For me, that's my 94 year old grandmother.

She has always voted Republican. My very first memory of politics was seeing polls during Gore v. Bush and her telling me she supported Bush but my parents supported Gore. I took one look at the two and said that I agreed with my parents.

After weeks of hesitation, I finally called my grandmother after SCOTUS justices indicated their intent to overturn Obergefell. She has always been the greatest ally -- the first thing she said to me when I came out was that she wanted me to have a grandkid for her.

I have never called her crying, but I did today. I told her that in my work, I advocate for my community every day, and the last four years has been unbearably difficult for me. I told her the Republicans are trying to take away our right to marry, adopt, access health care.

I told her a vote for Republicans was a vote that would harm me and my future. I told her I was scared. And today, my grandmother promised me she would vote for Joe Biden and @xjelliott. She told me that I'm the love of her life and that she would not break her promise.

I am still crying. Please call your loved ones. Tell them what's at stake. Tell them it's personal. Because it's true. There is someone out there who only you can get to. And their decision will mean the world to you."

Some things are just more important than political parties or even policies. As General Michael Hayden, former CIA director under Bush, said in a video ad this week, "I absolutely disagree with some of Biden's policies, but that's not important. What's important is the United States ... Biden is a good man. Donald Trump is not."

Country over party. Decency over degeneracy. Regardless of political identity, it's time to say enough is enough.

via PeopleStanding / Instagram

One of the best things about social media is that there are some pages that deputize the general public to find great content and submit it to be published. It's like harnessing a mind-hive of funny to create a place where it can be enjoyed by everyone.

The People Standing page on Instagram is a great example of this type of crowdsourcing for comedy. The site has over 140,000 followers and features candid, user-submitted pictures of people standing awkwardly that were taken all over the globe.

Here are 17 of the best.

Keep Reading Show less
via PeopleStanding / Instagram

One of the best things about social media is that there are some pages that deputize the general public to find great content and submit it to be published. It's like harnessing a mind-hive of funny to create a place where it can be enjoyed by everyone.

The People Standing page on Instagram is a great example of this type of crowdsourcing for comedy. The site has over 140,000 followers and features candid, user-submitted pictures of people standing awkwardly that were taken all over the globe.

Here are 17 of the best.

Keep Reading Show less
True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."