In An Open Letter to Trump Voters from His Top Strategist-Turned-Defector, Stephanie Cegielski, former Communications Director of the Make America Great Again Super PAC, publicly turns against Donald Trump, saying she wanted him “to be the real deal” but that “he is the presidential equivalent of Sanjaya on American Idol. President Trump would be President Sanjaya in terms of legitimacy and authority.”
Sanjaya, you might remember, was the infamous Season 6 American Idol contestant who was kept on the show far past any promise of his ability by a perverse desire of the fans to see the least talented candidate win.
This seems like a big deal. And maybe it is. But if you read Cegielski’s piece, you realize that though she has become disillusioned with Trump, that she herself still does not quite get it. For example, she tells us how she became enamored of Trump in the first place:
In 2015, I fell in love with the idea of the protest candidate who was not bought by corporations. A man who sat in a Manhattan high-rise he had built, making waves as a straight talker with a business background, full of successes and failures, who wanted America to return to greatness.
No, not bought by the corporations, but an owner of some of those corporations. It is difficult to imagine the thinking that went into convincing herself that part of the problem could be a solution to the problem. But that’s just the beginning of her complete misreading of the situation, a misreading that will lead to repeating the same errors in search of a solution for a problem that does not exist.
She tells us that “Every other candidate misestimated the anger and outrage of the ‘silent majority’ of Americans who are not a part of the liberal elite.” The problem with this statement is that the “liberal elite” is an invention of the same intellect that brought us Sarah Palin. In other words, there is no liberal elite, and even if there was, they’re not the people running this country.
The conservative elite, people like the Koch brothers, are the people running this country. An elite that includes Donald Trump. So, for Cegielski, Donald Trump was somehow supposed to be the solution to Donald Trump.
You can see where her thinking went all kinds of awry. In other words, with thinking like this, she was never going to find her way out of the dark. And that is my point: though escaping the illusion that is Donald Trump, she has not escaped the conservative reality bubble that both created Trump, and drew her to him.
She said she realizes now that Trump “was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House,” and that he hadn’t even planned on it, designing his campaign to be a protest, never expecting to be the frontrunner.
She makes the complaint I made here the other day, that “The man does not know policy, nor does he have the humility to admit what he does not know — the most frightening position of all.”
The problem now, as she sees it, is that “his ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters. The Donald does not fail. The Donald does not have any weakness. The Donald is his own biggest enemy.”
But that is not the problem. And neither is what she identifies as Trump’s “trend of incompetence and deniability” or refusal “to take responsibility for his actions while frequently demanding apologies from others.”
The problem is not Donald Trump. Not really, despite his manifest character flaws. The problem is the skewed worldview that gave birth to Donald Trump, and which has made Donald Trump the Republican frontrunner.
Trump is like a gag that people took seriously. A normal person would have died of embarrassment. Donald Trump is not normal, of course, but due to the underlying systemic failure of Republican ideology, Trump is also not likely to be the only, or the last Trump, to afflict Americans.
So Cegielski is disillusioned with Trump, but not with the thinking that gave rise to Trump. By all means, listen to her and don’t vote for Trump, but folks, even Ann Coulter is souring on Trump.
Realize that not voting for Trump won’t fix the problem of Trump. Cegielski can’t help you there. She can’t even help herself because she can’t see past Trump to the underlying problem.
And that is the real tragedy of the Republican Party of 2016. Republicans have fallen into a horror movie of their own creation, and because they’re writing the screenplay as they go, they are destined to never escape it. This is not the recent Cheverolet commercial where fans yell into a horror movie to tell a girl to not open a door.
We can’t stop them from opening that door. We could not stop Cegielski before and we can’t stop her from serving the next false prophet to come along.
Liberals and progressives on the other hand, are stuck watching it, but they most definitely can change channels and end that particular film come Election Day until the next one begins.
Cegielski and those like her can’t do that. They’ll just return to the same movie with a different cast in a movie that need never have been made because the monster is one of their own creation.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.