Trump-Orange-Crush The group says it is finding huge numbers of people who no longer self-identify as Republican.
Image via AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The group wants to reach Republican voters who “are disgusted by the current administration.”

FLORIDA — The name may sound like something out of an Ian Fleming novel, but the intention behind “Project Orange Crush” is one hundred percent real. And, for this group of Republicans, it is also an urgent bid to save “the character of the nation.”

Republican Voters Against Trump (RVAT), a coalition of Republicans, former Republicans, and conservatives, is aimed at persuading politically moderate and independent Floridians to back Joe Biden in November in an effort to swing Florida, the country’s key battleground state, blue.

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The group is working to vote Trump out of office by reaching what they call the “millions of voters who used to be reliable Republicans but are disgusted by the Trump administration.”

Their website contains hundreds of stories of disillusioned Republicans, many of whom voted for Trump in 2016 and have now declared themselves staunch “Never Trumpers.” Their grievances are many, but common recurring themes are the skyrocketing debt, the president’s inhumane immigration policy, and what they call the “debasement” of the office perpetrated by this “deeply un-American” presidency.

“Right now, we are witnessing what happens when we elect a president who doesn’t play by the rules,” Connor Metz, a spokesperson for the organization told The Americano.

“Previous administrations weren’t completely scandal-free, but generally they would try to give the public appearance that the president wanted to unite the country and follow our laws,” Metz says. “Donald Trump does not do this. In fact, he very publicly divides us, and relishes in not following the law.”

He calls Trump a president that stokes division for electoral benefit, pointing out that this is how countries fall into chaos and authoritarian rule.

“If we do not reject this brand of political divisiveness by crushing him this election, the next Republican president might be a smarter, more savvy ‘Trump type’ who could capitalize on the same divisiveness and lawlessness and bring our country down the road to authoritarianism,” Metz added.

Millions Will Be Invested

The campaign to reach and persuade moderate Republicans and independents to vote blue in November begins this week and will include TV, social media, and digital ads targeting more than half a million voters in Florida. Mike Murphy, who twice helped former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush win the governor’s office, is leading the campaign.

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“What we’ve found is that testimonial videos from everyday voters are most effective at convincing persuadable people not to vote for him again,” Metz says. “We strategically place the ads in front of folks who we believe to be persuadable, buying ads in important swing-state areas and targeting Facebook ads to Independents and moderate Republicans.”

At this time, “Project Orange Crush,” which as a Super PAC can raise unlimited sums of money from donors, has plans to spend eight to 10 million dollars over the next two months.

“We will spend tens of millions of dollars between now and election day in Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona,” said Metz.

With these efforts, RVAT hopes to grow Biden’s advantage in Florida polls, where he has maintained a narrow lead throughout the summer. According to RVAT’s own poll conducted in July, a majority of undecided women, independents and people 65 and older were leaning towards Biden, although the two candidates were tied overall.

“Speaking honestly, the majority of Republican voters are committed to supporting the president, as they have with Republican presidents for their entire lives,” said Metz.

However, Republican Voters against Trump says they are finding huge numbers of people who no longer self-identify as Republican, despite a long history of identifying with the party and even voting for Trump. This gives them substantial hope that Project Orange Crush can, in fact, have an impact this November.

“[Trump’s] in-party approval rate is still fairly high, but it’s lower than many of his predecessors this close to the election,” said Metz. “But the denominator for total Republicans is smaller because of folks leaving the party.”