GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The political climate is leaving some Kent County Republicans feeling “politically homeless.”
Many Kent County voters consider native President Gerald R. Ford the face of moderate conservatism. But some wonder if moderate Republicans exist within the current GOP.
“I really don’t think that Gerald Ford, or Ronald Reagan for that matter, could win a Republican primary today,” business attorney Hal Ostrow told NBC News Now.
Ostrow identified as Republican until President Donald Trump announced his campaign. He says it’s now become “the party of Trump.”
“You’re seeing a lot of moderates either not run for re-election or in Justin (Amash)’s case, leaving the party,” said Ostrow, who disagrees with some of Trump’s comments to Congressional opposition and voters who didn’t support him.
Republican Katey Morse says she voted for Trump in 2016 but says now she regrets it.
“I had this opportunity to go see Trump at the end of March. And I honestly had this thing in my mind that it wasn’t going to be as bad as what you see on TV. You see the sound bites and you’re like, ‘OK, there’s no way,” she said.
“But to see these people have such hate…and just seeing how Trump could command these people…is mind blowing,” she added.
Bob Roth runs a manufacturing plant outside of Grand Rapids that was negatively impacted by the steel tariffs. He told NBC News that Trump would need to stop tweeting to win over Republican voters like him.
“It’s noise. And that noise is unpredictability. And that unpredictability is, I don’t know what risks to take with my family’s capital,” he said.
NBC News says Kent County is a key example of a nationwide trend of rural areas becoming redder and the suburbs turning bluer.
Morse said Democrats interested in moving conflicted conservatives across the ballot need to communicate.
“Free college is great. Medicare for all, great. There’s things we need to change, you know climate change. But we’re not going to do it overnight. So I want to see a candidate that can do incremental pieces and can bring both parties together. Stop bickering. Get it done,” she said.