Why this former Trump voter says he’s the president’s ‘worst nightmare’ – and is backing Biden in November

Chris Riotta
·3-min read

Polarized is a weekly series featuring Americans from all 50 states sharing their views on the 2020 elections. Click here if you would like to be a part of this project

Jay Copan may very well be President Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare”, as he describes himself.

The 68-year-old grandfather is a registered independent voter in North Carolina, a swing state that voted for former Barack Obama in 2008, then went to Trump in 2016.

Though Copan is a registered independent, he considers himself socially and fiscally conservative. “I have voted in 12 presidential elections, and 10 of those times I have voted for the Republican candidate,” he says in a recent interview with The Independent. “The last Democrat I voted for was Jimmy Carter in 1976.”

“I voted for Trump in 2016, and I absolutely will not be voting for him in 2020,” Copan says. “I haven’t voted for a Democrat since 1976 – but I’ll be voting for Joe Biden in 2020.”

Trump’s slow response to the coronavirus pandemic and his lack of leadership surrounding racial tensions in the US after the police-involved killing of George Floyd ultimately led Copan to decide he will vote against the Republican incumbent in the upcoming elections, he explains.

(Photo courtesy Jay Copan)
(Photo courtesy Jay Copan)

Trump was perfectly placed to earn Copan’s vote in the 2020 elections, had he somehow managed to control his more impulsive and erratic behaviour.

There are a list of policies the independent voter says he supported that the president espoused along the campaign trail and later implemented throughout his first years in office. For starters, Copan is a fan of the president’s tax cuts. He also supports the administration’s reduced regulations on business and its similar agenda towards energy policy.

Copan also says he supported the president’s list of potential Supreme Court justices – which Trump released along the 2016 campaign trail (he has since vowed to stick to a similar list in 2020) – as well as his nominees for the lower courts.

“As a fiscal and social conservative, I could support many of these policies even though many other people do not,” Copan says. “But at the end of the day, his lack of leadership outweighs any policies I could support.”

Copan says his disdain for Trump has been “brewing almost since day one” of his presidency – but the “beginning of the end” came when he continued to hurl attacks at former senator John McCain after assuming the Oval Office.

“It’s outrageous,” the voter says, recalling all of the times Trump has hurled incendiary comments at the former senator, a Vietnam War veteran who endured torture as a prisoner in Vietnam and passed away from brain cancer.

“I consider McCain a true American hero,” Copan says. “Every day, the comments [Trump] would make would just be unbelievable – I couldn’t believe he would say these things. The drama he would create is unnecessary.”

Copan says he has his grandchildren to think about when he casts his vote at the ballot box on election day: “Donald Trump is a sociopath, a bully, a misogynist, a pathological liar. I cannot explain that kind of behaviour to my grandchildren.”

Copan says he decided in recent months to become more politically engaged as part of his effort to rid the country of Trump in 2020 – he has joined a growing group called Republican Voters Against Trump and started speaking out publicly against the president.

Click here to read more of The Independent’s series, Polarized: Voices From Across America

What’s more, Copan believes there are others like him.

“There are a tremendous number of North Carolinians who regret having voted for Trump in 2016,” he says. “You see many of these people involved with Lincoln Project, and Republican Voters Against Trump. He didn’t win North Carolina by that much, and Obama won North Carolina. We are clearly a purple state.”

Copan concludes: “I believe we have enough independents and Republicans who are going to vote for Biden in 2020 and turn North Carolina blue.”