Tim Miller and I come from the same tribe, as former Republicans who have left the party. But Tim’s story is longer and more interesting: He was inside the GOP-messaging machinery, and worked for several candidates. (I worked for a Republican in the Senate, but I was never part of a campaign.) Tim was also a gay man in a party with a pretty strong anti-gay streak. He described his journey out of both the sexual and political closets, and his emergence as a dedicated opponent of Donald Trump and his movement, in his new book, Why We Did It. The book’s now a best seller, and it didn’t need one more review from me. Instead, I thought I’d just impose on Tim for an interview, to which he consented.
As one of the OG Never Trumpers, I still have a pebble in my shoe about the people who stayed and supported Trump. Although I think I understand them, part of me just can’t grasp that level of soulless opportunism. That’s where I began my conversation with Tim.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tom Nichols: Tim, I kept getting a kind of vertigo reading Why We Did It. I felt like the character in the old Terry Gilliam movie Brazil, a sane and ordinary man who accepts it as completely normal to live in a world of dysfunctional lunacy. Did you have that experience while writing it? Did you sit back and say: “I can’t believe I just wrote this sentence as a true thing that happened.” I mean, 10 years ago, you’d have had a hard time selling this as a parody.