Days before the presidential election, you will find us as enthused about Hillary Clinton as we were on July 28th when we both spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as Republicans for Hillary.
Along the way, Trump supporters have called us traitors, communists, RINOs, and threatened our lives and our families, but more importantly, we have been flooded with messages of support from people throughout the world who have said, “Thank you for giving voice to those of us who were reluctant to speak out or didn’t have a platform to be heard.”
But why would we be willing to risk our personal and professional relationships in such a public way? Why would we engage in battle with Trump surrogates on CNN, MSNBC and talk radio? Why would we willing to serve as the front line in a battle for such a ‘nasty woman’?
Because the stakes are too high in this election; so we are putting country over party and supporting someone who understands that the world is a place of nuances, a place in which diplomacy, reason and wisdom are what we need to steer a safe, prosperous course forward, both domestically and globally. Putting a rash, narcissistic bully like Trump in charge of our nation — including its armies and nuclear launch codes — would be nothing short of disastrous.
And so yes, this year we will vote for a Democrat for the first time ever, for Hillary Clinton. While she holds many policy positions that differ from our own, her qualifications for the presidency cannot be disputed. And she has the temperament and experience needed to lead our nation with a steady hand.
Trump does not even come close, and his policies, conduct and belief system don’t represent the Republican Party we have known and loved. Rather, he is the ultimate charlatan, a masterful magician who has managed to hoodwink trusting Americans into believing he is fit to lead.
Putting a rash, narcissistic bully like Trump in charge of our nation — including its armies and nuclear launch codes — would be nothing short of disastrous.
In a matter of days, we predict that Hillary Clinton will be elected President, but then the GOP recriminations and hand-wringing will begin. Some will lay blame on us for speaking out in support of Hillary and giving cover to other Republicans who were repulsed by Donald Trump.
Many more Republicans, however, are poised to begin the hard work of rebuilding the Republican Party into something we can be proud of again.
One thing is certain: this is not the time for a minor makeover. After President Obama’s reelection in 2012, the GOP conducted an “autopsy” to figure out how to avoid electoral irrelevance. If some soul-searching was in order back then, the party needs electroshock therapy today.
As we see it, the most promising approach begins with a thunderous defeat for Trump. Such a result would repudiate the hateful, fear-mongering essence of his politics and allow saner, smarter voices to rise.
In 2016, it is far past time for the Republican Party to internalize the changes that it highlighted in the 2012 autopsy.
Some leaders will push the party to hold onto voters wooed by Trump’s xenophobic, “Make America Great Again” prescription for our country, the one that appeals to folks who resent the more ethnically and culturally diverse place that the United States has become. Mass deportations, Muslim bans, and a border wall do not have a place in the Party of Lincoln.
In 2016, it is far past time for the Republican Party to internalize the changes that it highlighted in the 2012 autopsy. The GOP needs to engage minority groups in a genuine way; ensure more women have leadership roles within the party; and effectively communicate with millennials on social issues.
We have the ability to control whether Trump’s candidacy stains the GOP irreversibly, or whether this election is a timely wake-up call before the Grand Old Party becomes something only read about in history books.
Doug Elmets is president of Elmets Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs firm and served as a White House spokesman during the Reagan Administration.
Jennifer Pierotti Lim is the Founder of Republican Women For Hillary and until recently was the Director of Health Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Elmets and Pierotti Lim both spoke at the Democratic National Convention as Republicans for Hillary.