Lifelong Republican, Reagan Staffer: “Hillary Is Last, Best Hope For America”

Doug Elmets, a native Iowan, lifelong Republican and former spokesman for President Ronald Reagan, came back to Iowa recently to speak in support of Hillary Clinton. Having grown up in Des Moines, graduating from the University of Iowa and maintaining his Iowa roots provides him a unique perspective on Iowa politics. He cast his first vote for president 40 years ago in Iowa and it was for Ronald Reagan.

“I’ve been voting for Republicans in every election since, until now,” Elmets said. “I have never voted for a Democrat in my entire life. On November 8, I’m going to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. One only needs to look at Donald Trump’s crazy performance…to reinforce why Hillary Clinton is the last, best hope for America.”

Before working in the Reagan White House he worked for then-Congressman Chuck Grassley.  He has maintained that party loyalty for years by assisting various Republican campaigns in California where he lives today. It’s quite remarkable for a lifelong Republican that has devoted his life to his party to switch his support to Hillary Clinton. He pointed to national security issues as the key reason for his switch.

He referred to Russia, the Middle East, and Korea as examples of trouble spots for the future.

“We are entering more troubling times than any time in our history … Somebody with experience, level-headed, somebody that doesn’t coddle tyrants, or alienate allies is the right person for the office and that’s Hillary Clinton,” Elmets said. “For me and a lot of Republicans the decision is easy, it’s important to have country over party.”

In a Des Moines Register op-ed on June 17th he wrote, “This year party loyalty must take a backseat to what’s best for America … This year I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, and given the alarming alternative crowned by millions of my fellow Republicans, it’s an easy call.”

This summer he spoke at the Democratic Convention and in that speech he described Trump as a “petulant, dangerously unbalanced reality TV star.”

When he first began speaking out last May, he said he was pretty lonely and the backlash was vicious. However, since then, he gets hundreds of emails from other Republicans thanking him for speaking up.

“Trump is nasty, disrespectful, hotheaded and prone to bizarre outbursts featuring all manner of slurs. He is hateful, so it’s no surprise that his amped-up troops are spewing hate, too,” Elmets explained in his Register op-ed. Elmets also pushed back on the recently-released list of 88 generals and admirals that had endorsed Trump, saying some of the Clinton-backing generals described them as military people no one knew. He doesn’t believe these 88 represent the vast majority of the military.

“They are people nobody really knows,” he noted. “They’re almost like also-rans in the military, not in a derogatory sense. They’re just not significant leaders.”

He questioned how anyone could take seriously some of Trump’s comments, like “the generals were reduced to rubble during the Obama administration and he could tell by their body language”. He is concerned Trump would “deal with the nuclear code as he deals with Twitter.”

Asked about the potential fallout for Iowa Republican leaders that support Trump if he loses, he explained they might see problems in the future.

“Any Republican supporting Donald Trump is going to have an albatross tied around their neck for the rest of their political career,” Elmets said. “When Donald Trump loses on Election Day, those Republicans that weren’t willing to stand up to him are going to have to account for their actions during this campaign … Anybody supporting Trump is doing it for what they believe is political expediency.”

Commenting on how Iowa has changed from the time he worked for Ronald Reagan, he said, “Iowa is the same … but Republican leaders haven’t kept pace with the times. One need only look at the Republican platform which they are part and parcel of.”

In a Des Moines Register piece on July 28 he said this about the Republican platform:

“It’s the most alarming collections of extreme positions imaginable, laced with anti-immigrant, anti-gay and anti-women positions anchored by Trump’s fantasy wall at the Mexican border.”

Elmets joins a long list of prominent Republicans that have courageously spoken up and denounced Trump. His prediction that Iowa Republicans supporting Trump will pay a heavy political price demonstrates the deep divisions within the Republican Party.


by Rick Smith
Posted 9/22/16

11 Comments on "Lifelong Republican, Reagan Staffer: “Hillary Is Last, Best Hope For America”"

  • Elmets made the best quote himself, “When Donald Trump loses on Election Day, those Republicans that weren’t willing to stand up to him are going to have to account for their actions during this campaign …” If Trump loses Iowa, Elmets and his friends will need to explain why they allowed the current destruction of the United States to continue.

  • One can only wish for Trump not to be elected as most reasoned, and factual thinking people may. But I fear that many folks aren’t going to vote, not liking either candidate. However the baffled, and befuddled minions liking a change at whatever the cost, are a large number of the voting block, and just may get him elected! This group seems to have no problem cutting their nose off to spite their face .

    • Kenneth – So true it is frightening. People are willing to not vote at all with the result being total and irreversible chaos due to Trump’s egotistical view of himself and lack of knowledge of how to do anything positive or forward thinking.

    • You are just like Hillary, looking down your long nose at other Americans calling them names like minions. You need to look at the conditions in the US inner cities where African Americans are living in fear for their lives, lack job opportunity and representation. The new plantations are all run by Democrats.

      • You have that right, I am so disappointed in the conditions of our cities. It is really no surprise the Blacks are at a tipping point. But here is a news flash the whites are there as well. We all of us cannot continue to work and be taxed to support the ones that will not or cannot find work due to the Destruction of Americas economy. Ladies and Gentlemen it is always about jobs, always has been and always will be. Jobs gives us hope for living better lives, for our families and ourselves.

    • You nailed it: “This group seems to have no problem cutting off their nose to spite their face.” If it’s “change,” they want, they’ll certainly get it with Trump. They need to be careful of what they wish for. Caveat Emptor.

  • The best quote I got this election came from a life long Democrat. He asked for 5 Tumps signs for him, his neighbor and his daughter. When I dropped the signs off he and his wife said that they and their neighbors were all voting for Trump because Hillary is a liar. His neighbors were Democrats too. BTW – Democrat absentee ballots are down by 50% because nobody trusts Hillary.

    • Gary you are simply quoting Trump who is a liar so that makes you a liar.Just what we expect of his minions. Absentee ballots are up 30% and early voting shows Clinton leading by 11%. Yut yo. He’s going down bigly. He is totally out of his league. Back to his ugly gold towerche will go.

      • I guess the truth is a slippery thing for you. I receive daily reports of absentee ballots requests and I can assure you the numbers for Democrats are down dramatically from 2012. The polls show Donald Trump leading in Iowa by a significant margin. I would point you to Steffen Schmidt’s column in the Gazette today for an examination of the Clinton campaign.

    • And yet Trump has lied his entire life and is still lieing to the tune of 91% of the time. It’s beyond my comprehension why anyone trusts that man. His life is one big lie.

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