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Cassidy Hutchinson and How to Not to Lose Your Soul in Politics

Four conscience-saving lessons from my book Why We Did It.
July 11, 2022
The Gen Z Staffer Saving America | Not My Party Ep. 345

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: January 6th hearings have been spicy but she stole the show.

Cassidy Hutchinson: “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Last week former Trump staffer Cassidy Hutchinson summoned the courage to do what none of the grown-ass men around her had the stones to.

Dina Fox (Lauren Ash on Superstore): It’s gotta be emasculating.

Miller: She told the truth about what happened in the Trump White House in front of the entire world. Risking her career in the face of violent threats.

Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson on The Office): Takes a lot of courage.

Miller: Her story confirmed Trump did want to overthrow a legitimate election. He knew there could be violence that day at the Capitol and he didn’t care because he’s a big man-baby who just wanted to keep his White House toys. It is remarkable that a Gen Z staffer who was just 24 years old when this all went down will go down as the boldest and the bravest in these hearings. Listen to this.

Hutchinson: I overheard the president say something to the effect of “I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away.”

The Duke (from Solar Opposites): Man, what a piece of shit.

Miller: So huge kudos to Cassidy. But still, it left a lot of people asking, Why just her?

Stewie Griffin (from Family Guy): Yeah, what gives?

Miller: Well, gang, as it turns out, I wrote a book trying to answer that question. It’s called Why We Did It. The book tries to explain why people who knew better went along with Trump and why some, like Cassidy, broke away.

Jack Ryan (John Krasinski in Jack Ryan): Really? Can’t wait to hear this.

Miller: While it focuses mostly on why me and my former colleagues are kind of responsible for our crazy politics, at its core the book is about something deeper than that. How all of us, at times, do some mental gymnastics but go along with bad stuff. So today Uncle Tim wants to share a few lessons I learned while writing the book and interviewing my old colleagues.

Pops (from The Secret Life of Pets 2): School is in session.

Miller: One, sometimes you have to be the turd in the punch bowl.

Rehab Group Leader (from South Park): We have a turd in the punch bowl.

Miller: Breaking away from a group is hard. Nobody wants to wag their finger at their friends and say, “This is wrong.” You might get shunned, made fun of. In Cassidy’s case, physically endangered. But here’s the thing, It’s easy to demonize the other team but nothing will ever get better if we don’t turn the finger-pointing back on ourselves. Number two, open up your brain compartments.

Kuato (from Total Recall): Open your mind.

Miller: I wrote about being a gay guy working for anti-gay candidates. How did I do that? Well, I just tucked that one little conflict in the back corner of my brain and didn’t deal with it unless I had to.

Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart in Central Intelligence): Yo, that sounds really unhealthy.

Misty (Meredith Hagner in Palm Springs): Yeah, no s***.

Miller: We all do this. But in the long term, it’s better to deal with these inconvenient truths, than ignore them.

“Al Gore” on South Park: I’m super cereal.

Miller: Number three, if you think you’re the one good egg in a bad batch, you’re probably already rotten. Others from Trump’s staff justified staying because they were on—

Bill Stepien: Team Normal.

Miller: They figured they were better than those pillow-slanging, coup-pushing crackheads. But notice, nobody who told themselves they were on “Team Normal” spoke out like Cassidy. Why? Because they’d been corrupted by the crazy.

Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid in Revenge of the Sith): Know the power of the Dark Side.

Miller: Four, don’t get sucked up by the rush. Whether it was becoming a political hit man or doing big-time TV hits, I’ve always loved the jolt of adrenaline from the political game.

Stewie: Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff.

Miller: But this drive for fame or power or money can be no different from a drug addiction.

Omar Little (Michael K. Williams on The Wire): Never get high on your own supply.

Miller: Your brain receptors start to block out your conscience—until one day you’re dancing backstage while the world burns.

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend): Yeah, she’s pretty terrible.

Miller: Now none of this means you have to become a shepherd, or move to Haiti to build houses, or just travel the earth doing good deeds like Caine.

Vincent Vega (John Travolta in Pulp Fiction): What you mean, walk the earth?

Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction): You know, like Caine in Kung Fu.

Miller: Politics, like any other business is competitive. Purity is not always realistic. But the least we can do is stop lying to ourselves. Be aware of the ways we can be corrupted and say no when lines are crossed. And never cover for someone or something that you know in your heart of hearts is a little bit evil.

Donkey (from Shrek): Example.

Andrew Clyde: If you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

Miller: So go check out Why We Did It available now. And we’ll see you next week for more “Not My Party.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.