Romeo and Juliet

Greg Gnall
3 min readJan 24, 2024

Most of you probably believe that the country’s greatest romance is between Taylor and Travis, a pairing that manages to cross over the two biggest passions in America, pop music and the NFL. After filling stadiums around the world while creating more personal wealth than most of the third world countries combined, Taylor Swift is seen every Sunday vociferously cheering on her beau, the Kansas City Chiefs massive tight end, Travis Kelce, from a box in Arrowhead Stadium, to the verge of another Super Bowl triumph.

But despite being the cutest couple on Earth right now, these two must take a back seat to another pair who, while not romantically involved in a traditional sense, may soon dominate headlines as the top of the Republican ticket for the upcoming election that will determine the leader of the Free World for the next four years. I am speaking, of course, of the erstwhile U.S. President Donald J. Trump and the betting choice for his Vice Presidential running mate, Elise Stefanik, the upstate New York Republican Congresswoman who has completed her Faustian conversion from old style Conservative who served in the George W. Bush White House and as an aide to Paul Ryan in his Vice Presidential run with Mitt Romney to “ultra MAGA,” in her own words.

Stefanik was never a liberal in disguise. At Harvard, where she earned the first college degree in her immediate family, she belonged to conservative political groups but, when elected as the youngest ever Republican woman in Congress, was frequently critical of Trump’s social miscues and voted against his massive tax cut giveaway to the rich. But as her district, which voted twice for Obama, turned increasingly MAGA, she saw the light and went all in for Trump, joining the election deniers and, in a new low, recently calling the January 6 rioters serving time in jail “hostages.”

Stefanik’s latest remarks earned her the sobriguet “crackpot” from none other than Liz Cheney, the exiled former Republican Conservative leader, whose leadership posts Stefanik hungrily consumed when Cheney could no longer tolerate Trump and was one of the 10 Republicans in the House who voted for impeachment. The irony that Cheney, the daughter and political doppelganger of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is seen as one of the last remaining Republicans who actually believes in Democracy, is not lost on anyone.

Stefanik’s status among the MAGAs has only risen since her recent browbeating of the president of her alma mater, along with those of MIT and Penn, in inducing their measly, attorney-scripted answers to her questions about anti-semitism on their campuses in the wake of the horrendous attacks on Israel by the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas on October 7. While the hearing was nothing less than political showcraft intended to further the right wing goal of undermining all elite institutions, Stefanik played the role of righteous interlocutor to perfection, essentially posing the question, “when did you stop beating your wife?”

There are many MAGA adherents who fervently believe in the Trump charade. Then there are those, like Elise Stefanik, who smell the power and will sell their souls to get it. She may very well find herself a heartbeat from the Presidency. If I remember my Dante, he reserved a place in the Ninth Circle of Hell for the treacherous. Is it really worth it, Elise?