While it’s true that most Republicans and members of the conservative media sold out to Donald Trump, not all of them did. Conservatives like Ana Navarro, Nicolle Wallace, and Rick Wilson have not only refused to climb aboard the “Trump train,” but they’re some of his most vocal critics.
Another conservative who’s spoken out against Trump is longtime political analyst and radio host Charlie Sykes, author of a book I highly recommend titled How the Right Lost Its Mind.
During an interview with The Atlantic, Sykes recently admitted that conservatives like him helped create “monsters” like Trump and Roy Moore.
Speaking of the current situation in Alabama surrounding the allegations that GOP Senate candidate Moore sexually assaulted several women when they were underage, Sykes said:
You have credible journalism being attacked and ignored amid a flood of misinformation and bizarre propaganda. I think we [other members of the conservative media] should be horrified by the monster we helped create.
“These alternative-reality silos, not only do they reinforce an ideological message, but they can be impenetrable,” he stated.
In his book, Sykes goes into detail about how the conservative media has devolved from its earlier days, once rejecting the very same people it now props-up and supports. An interesting point he actually mentions in his book is how, during the 80’s, Ronald Reagan was able to get away with raising taxes, passing a ban on the sale of automatic weapons, and immigration reform due to the fact that throughout much of his presidency the conservative media was rather weak. Fox News didn’t exist, while people like Rush Limbaugh didn’t become a nationally syndicated conservative fixture in radio until 1988.
The general sense I got from Sykes’ comments in his book is that you can trace back the radicalization of the Republican Party with the growing impact of conservative media. In particular, frauds such as Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and publications such as The Drudge Report, Breitbart, and The Gateway Pundit.
He also discusses how, even though his values as a conservative didn’t change, he began being attacked by people on the right for refusing to sellout to Trump, a person he feels in nearly every way is the antithesis to true conservative principles.
My only issue with conservatives like Sykes, Navarro, Wallace, Wilson, and other anti-Trump folks from the right-wing is that someone like Trump’s rise was inevitable.
The racism, conspiracies, fear-mongering, fact-free thinking, bigotry, hate, and delusions that helped propel Trump to the White House didn’t just spring up overnight. These have been a staple of conservatism for years, if not decades. Republicans just denied their existence until Trump brought them all to the surface.
It’s sort of like seeing a house with smoke billowing from the windows while someone stands outside denying that it might be on fire. That is, until flames start shooting out of the windows and the whole thing collapses into a pile of burning debris.
For years, as progressives like myself called out Republicans for pandering to racism, ignorance, paranoia, and conspiracies, many of these same anti-Trump conservatives dismissed these accusations as “radical leftism, spreading hate, lies and propaganda against the right for having different views than they did.”
This website launched back in 2013. Looking back through some of my older articles, long before Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP, I’ve found dozens that all but predicted we’d eventually see something similar to what we’re experiencing now.
For example, in November 2014 I wrote an article titled: The 10 Step Republican Process for Creating the Perfect Mindless Conservative Zombie.
Here are the 10 steps I listed:
- Use fear.
- Attack education.
- Use a lot of patriotic propaganda.
- Find things to hate.
- Make themselves into the victim.
- Promote guns.
- Create catchy talking points.
- Continually repeat your lies.
- Use code words to mask prejudice and bigotry.
Fast forward to the 2016 election, and that seems like a blueprint Trump could have used to build his campaign.
Here’s another article I wrote, this one from 2013, titled: The Republican Party, Racism, and the Dangerous Road They’re Taking Our Nation Down.
In that particular piece, I outlined several key conservative talking points:
- Conservatism, the irreplaceable hub of our Nation, our Christian Faith, and the highest standards of western culture and technology.
- America First: America before ANY foreign or alien influence and the removal of the United Nations from our borders. We condemn the U.N. and advocate withdrawal of the United States from membership in the U.N.
- The Constitution Of The United States: as originally written and intended! The finest system of government ever conceived by man.
- Free Enterprise: private property and ownership of business.
- Positive Christianity: the right of the American people to practice the Christian Faith, including prayer in school.
Except, I didn’t write those particular bullet points — the KKK did. You see, I pulled those from the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
So while I’m glad conservatives like Sykes recognize that they helped create the “monster” known as Trump and the modern day conservative uprising led by Steven Bannon and Breitbart, part of me can’t help but wonder if these folks are questioning everything they’ve thought they believed about the political party for which they’ve spent most of their lives defending.
What we’re seeing now with Donald Trump isn’t anything new. The only difference between now and pre-Trump is that he brought to the surface the racism, bigotry, ignorance, rejecting of facts, hypocrisy, fake Christianity, and contradictions progressives have seen in conservatives for decades.