In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Reagan administration veteran-turned-Democratic senator from Virginia turned short-term presidential candidate Jim Webb said twice that he could not support Hillary Clinton if she won the Democratic nomination for president.
“No, I would not vote for Hillary Clinton,” Webb said.
Pressed on whether he would vote for Donald Trump, Webb said he was “not sure” but had not ruled it out.
“It’s nothing personal about Hillary Clinton, but the reason Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is not because of the, you know, ‘racists,’ etc. and etc.,” Webb said. “It’s because a certain group of people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to say, ‘We’ve got to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now.’ If you're voting for Donald Trump, you might be getting something very good or very bad. If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, you’re going to get the same thing. Do you want the same thing?”
Webb, who briefly ran for the Democratic nomination before dropping out and recently ruled out an independent bid for president, had just watched Trump win landslide votes in the part of the country Webb knows best.
In Virginia, the mogul won by 2.8 percent of the vote, but dominated the counties of Appalachia, peaking at 69.7 percent in Buchanan County. That was the sort of place that Webb had seen break from the Democrats during the Obama years. In 2006, during his successful Senate bid, Webb won the county by 12 points. Six years later, when now-Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) ran to replace Webb, he lost Buchanan by 28.6 points — and President Obama lost it by 34.7 points.
Trump is finding a large number of supporters in “coal country” without paying much attention to the Obama administration’s energy policies or to the plight of miners. In his refusal to rule out a Trump vote, Webb was acknowledging the mogul’s surprising appeal to white voters who feel left out of American culture — something that may help him win delegates this weekend in Kentucky and next week in Mississippi.