I’ll admit I stopped watching Netflix’s Orange is the New Black after a few seasons, once I accepted that the “depressing-to-entertaining” ratio for the show was, in my case, lopsidedly skewed to the former. Nevertheless, I have vivid memories of the episode in which we learn that Lorna Morello, played flawlessly by actress Yael Stone, is not the hopeless, happy-go-lucky romantic she presents herself to be, nor is her beloved fiancé Christopher waiting outside the prison walls to welcome her back with affection and acceptance. Instead, we discover Morello had been convicted and jailed for stalking and harassing Christopher following a single, unsuccessful date, after which he’d rejected her increasingly frantic advances.
It’s a twist both tragic and shocking, and one of the heavier gut punch moments in a show punctuated by solid jabs to the solar plexus. It’s also a great encapsulation of the same sort of desperate energy that seemed to radiate from South Carolina Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, after she traveled the multiple hundreds of miles from her district in the South Carolina Lowcountry to Manhattan this week. There, she filmed herself groveling outside of former President Donald Trump’s eponymous gold tower, just one day after the former president rescinded his 2020 endorsement for her, bestowing it instead upon her even-more-MAGA primary challenger Katie Arrington. While Mace’s transparent attempt to cling to the patina of Trumpism in the face of his rejection is a case of despairing professional panic, as opposed to OITNB’s depiction of criminal romantic obsession, it’s hard to watch Mace’s video and not feel the same sense of “... gee, this is pretty sad” regardless. There’s that same sense of a rich fantasy being woven here, in absurd defiance of reality’s unambiguous red flags.
“I remember in 2015 when President Trump announced his run, I was one of his earliest supporters,” Mace explains in her video over the disruptive noise of a typical Manhattan afternoon. “I actually worked for the campaign in 2016. I worked in seven different states across the country to help get him elected. I supported him again in 2020 because of policies I believed in.”
“He brought American jobs back, he lowered our taxes,” she continued. “Wages and employment were better for every hard-working American.”
Consider, then, how humiliating it must be to say those words just hours after the person you’re talking about had described you as “absolutely terrible” and “not at all representative of the Republican Party to which she’s been very disloyal” — to say nothing of the fact that he’s been actively targeting Mace as a “RINO,” “sellout,” and “loser” for months now.
Admittedly, this is not Mace’s first time discovering that simply being an early Trump backer does not make her immune from the cannibalistic inclination of her party’s most MAGA-y class. Late last year, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene described Mace as “the trash in the GOP Conference,” after Mace had the audacity to suggest that perhaps fellow Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.) should be slightly less racist. Still, it’s hard to see how Thursday’s shameless groveling half a country away from her home district will endear Mace to a base of MAGA voters who have already been given their marching orders to support someone else.
After posting her video, Arrington replied with the predictable rebuttal question of “what does NYC have to do with the Lowcountry?”
Who, exactly, is Mace hoping to convince here? People who love Donald Trump enough to vote for her because she supported him, but not so much that they’ll vote for her challenger because he said to? That’s, uh, quite the needle she’s trying to thread here. Let’s all wait and see how it works out for her.