It was election night 2016 and Daniel Businger wore a stars-and-stripes suit jacket with a MAGA hat while he cheered on Donald Trump with fellow Republicans at a watch party in San Francisco. It was Businger’s first time voting in an election.
“I think I remember saying, ‘This is the light at the end of the tunnel,’” Businger said.
Election night in 2020 will be different. The 23-year-old, originally from Millbrae, is voting for Joe Biden in November. Businger said the last four years have been good for the economy, but not the people.
“He ran a campaign off of fantasy,” Businger said about Trump. “He said Mexico would pay for the wall. Guess what, the taxpayers paid for the wall.”
Businger, who is studying communications and political science at the University of Kansas, calls himself a lifelong Republican. But he changed his mind on Trump after watching his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and current issues on race relations. He feels Biden is a leader who can connect with people.
“Donald Trump has connected with a lot of people,” Businger said. “He was able to get 63 million people out to vote for him, but I don't think those 63 million people are going to come out and vote for him again.”
Businger believes we are at a pivotal time in our country following the death of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake was shot seven times in the back by an officer and has been left paralyzed.
“For him to come out and denounce Black Lives Matter, but won’t come out and denounce people who are shooting as ‘vigilantes’ in Kenosha, that’s something you need to denounce,” Businger said.
John Dennis, chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, said he has heard of some anecdotes of Republicans planning to vote for Biden, but he also said there is a movement called “Walk Away” that has been drawing people in large numbers to leave the Democratic Party and become Republicans. On Sunday, roughly 300 people marched on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in support of the “Walk Away” movement.
“Donald Trump has a lot of support and a lot of people are seeing through the mainstream media narrative that he’s against people of different backgrounds,” Dennis said.
Dennis noted that the tide is turning in the city.
“For the first time in 60 years, Republican registration is going up in San Francisco and it's going up in relation to the number of Democrats we have in the city,” Dennis said.
He credits Trump for a strong economy and said he believes the country is moving in the right direction.
“I'm sorry to say that if we get an alternative like Joe Biden we're going to go back to the same old business as usual,” Dennis added.
All Businger sees are failed promises and a president of a divided country. He said he will always be a Republican, but morally he cannot vote for Trump.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated information about George Floyd's death. He died after a police officer knelt on his neck. He was not shot. KTVU regrets the error.