Former Democratic Sen. Jim Webb says he may vote for Trump over Clinton

Fact-Checking with Trump and Clinton
Fact-Checking with Trump and Clinton

Former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb, whose centrist campaign folded not long after the first primary debate, said Friday he won't vote for party front-runner Hillary Clinton – and is open to giving Republican favorite Donald Trump his vote instead.

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"No, I would not vote for Hillary Clinton," said Webb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia, when asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" if he could support her. When it comes to Trump, he added, "I'm not sure yet. I don't know who I'm gonna vote for."

Though he served with her in the Senate, "it's nothing personal about Hillary Clinton," Webb told hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist. A vote for Clinton, he said, is a vote for the status quo, while a vote for Trump is a vote to blow up a gridlocked, dysfunctional system of government.

"The reason Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is not because of the 'racists,' et cetera, et cetera," the former senator said, dismissing the problematic support Trump's getting from white supremacists like former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. "It's because a group of people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to step forward and say we've got to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now. We've got to make it work."

Still, "voting for Donald Trump, you might get something very good or very bad," Webb continued. "Voting for Hillary Clinton, you're going to get the same thing. Do you want the same thing?"

It's not surprising that Webb would mull crossing over from the party he would have represented in the White House to pull the lever for Trump, who's taken the GOP by storm – against the will of party elites – this election cycle.

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A Vietnam War veteran, Webb was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, and he ran and won his Senate seat in 2008 as a moderate Democrat when the re-election campaign of incumbent, Sen. George Allen, a Republican, imploded after he committed a racially-tinged gaffe.

While in the Senate, Webb was a champion for rural working-class white voters whom he believed had been abandoned by Democrats; his short-lived bid for the White House was predicated on winning them back.

In 2016, those voters are largely supporting Trump by wide margins, according to polls.

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