“…the kind of person that actually bought the Weekly Standard and thought the National Review defined what the conservative movement was, at least until earlier this year.”
When asked to clarify if by “earlier this year,” he really meant what he has seen with this election cycle, Sykes didn’t holdback:
“It’s extremely disorienting and disillusioning and I haven’t made any secret of that. To realize, first of all, that you’re part of a movement that was not the movement you thought it was, that you’re aligned with people that you didn’t really understand you’re aligned with, and to realize that everything that you thought about the conservative intellectual infrastructure was really piecrust thin.
You thought you had this big principled movement and then suddenly along comes Donald Trump and you realize that it was just was just the pastry on top. So I think disorienting is a great term. Disillusioning is not too strong either.”
Sykes continued to make the case that with Trump’s nomination, the Republican party has solidified its standing as the anti-intellectual party:
“Well seriously, this is the party that just nominated Donald Trump, and we’re supposed to believe that. Watching a party that had eight years ago mocked Democrats for having low information voters and a cult of personality, and now it’s like we have the lowest information voters ever and the worst cult of personality that I’ve seen since the 1930s.”
To his credit, Sykes recognizes that he and many others who have created a cottage industry out of fanning right wing flames, are partly to blame:
“Oh, yes, absolutely. I’m different than Rush Limbaugh, but there’s no question that we got caught up in certain word salad, certain narratives that perhaps we did not fully understand how they were playing among our base.
I’m not trying to pose for holy pictures here, but I’ve been doing this for 20 years and critiques of the mainstream media were always a part of everything we did. Some of that critique is valuable, but it did lead to this nihilism that we have now.”