cover image Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell

Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell

Tim Miller. Harper, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-316147-4

“America never would have gotten into this mess if it weren’t for me and my friends,” writes former Republican operative Miller in this anguished yet entertaining exposé of the party’s enthrallment to Donald Trump. Reflecting on his early experiences as a PR consultant and spokesman for John McCain’s 2007 Republican primary campaign, Miller admits that in an era when success “was so often removed from political beliefs,” he “ma[de] allowances” for Republican opposition to gay marriage, despite being a closeted gay man himself at the time. (He’s proud, however, of his role in calling attention to the story that Mitt Romney more than once drove 12 hours with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.) Comparing the “brainteasers I was playing with my closeted self” to the mental gymnastics of mainstream Republicans who hopped on the Trump bandwagon, Miller also documents the “informal working relationship” he developed with Breitbart cofounder Steve Bannon, despite their “deeply conflicting values and big-picture objectives,” and examines the forces—including House Speaker Paul Ryan’s departure—that pushed congresswoman Elise Stefanik to “take the red pill and open her mind to the great MAGA future.” Witty prose, colorful anecdotes, and copious insider details make this a worthwhile dissection of how Republican “Never Trumpers” got pushed aside. (June)