I read this book as part of my ongoing quest to understand the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I found the book to be very enlightening. I found out how the conservative media “succeeded in convincing our audiences to ignore and discount any information whatsoever from the mainstream media.” (17) That made conservatives open to falling for lies, and there was a proliferation of them before the election. (17) Conservatives were so desperate to believe the lies most never bothered with fact checking.
It seems we have come to a situation where the media actually failed to report on the political issues in the race. (26-27) Politicians and the general public no longer read books on the issues. (29) An illiterate electorate turned to personality rather than issues, their heads filled with false information from unrestrained social media outlets.
I was dismayed at the information about the Tea Party and its use of funds, very little for election related items. The racism exhibited by the extreme right was shocking to me.
Sykes writes, “As the Right has isolated itself from other sources of information, it has fashioned an alternative universe with its own facts, narratives, and truths.” (82)
As a Christian, I was greatly bothered by Sykes' analysis of how Christians behaved before the 2016 election. Previously, character and personal morality mattered greatly when considering presidential candidates. With this election, the allure and promise of power trumped moral character.
Sykes is a conservative but of a more moderate view than many on the right. He ends his book with thoughts on what dissident conservatives can do to thwart the threat of Trumpism to the conservative vision. (222)
I recommend this book to perplexed conservatives looking for insight into the recent presidential election and the state of conservative politics today.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Charles J. Sykes is the author of eight books on current affairs and education. A long time host of the #1 conservative talk radio show in Wisconsin, he resigned from that position and is now a regular contributor to MSNBC, NPR, and other media. He lives in Wisconsin.
St. Martin's Press, 288 pages.