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How the Right Lost Its Mind - Charles Sykes - <span class="date-display-single">10/16/2017 - 7:00pm</span>

How the Right Lost Its Mind

10/16/2017 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room

Charlie Sykes describes himself as a “contrarian conservative.” After the seismic events of 2016, Sykes is on the outside, politically, wondering what has happened to the Republican party. In How the Right Lost Its Mind he examines how conservatives have strayed so far from their core values and what it will take to recover. It’s also a deeply personal reckoning with Sykes’s own role in his party’s implosion. Sykes has written searing pieces for The New York Times and Politico, among others, on the state of conservatism, propelling him to the forefront of a national debate on political values.


Sykes was thrust onto the national stage in March 2016 when he challenged then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during an interview. Sykes was Wisconsin’s #1 conservative talk radio host who had helped Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus, among others, rise to power. Sykes became a vocal member of the #NeverTrump movement, continuing to denounce what he saw as a dangerous, ill-equipped candidate. Since then, Sykes has found himself on the receiving end of the kind of vitriol that only the internet can produce. How the Right Lost Its Mind is an attempt to make sense of these confusing times. Why are so many voters turning their back on reputable media sources who report factual information? Why has our political dialogue become so base and crude? Are there still conservatives who stand for limited government and the rule of law?


In attempting to answer these questions, and more, Sykes relates his own political trajectory and takes readers back to some other hard times for conservatives. Barry Goldwater’s defeat by Lyndon Johnson, William F. Buckley’s crusade to bring intellectualism to the conservative party while purging the “crackpots,” and the rise of the “New Right” in the 70s were all moments when conservatism had to define itself in order to make political gains. Sykes also looks at the rise of the Tea party through the lens of today’s conservative landscape. Today, Republicans are grappling with bigotry, post-truth politics, vicious attacks on anyone who criticizes Trump, and evangelicals with a strange new flexibility on moral standards. How the Right Lost Its Mind is a thorough, reasoned look at one of the most important political questions of our time: What does it mean to be a conservative in Trump’s America?

Charles Sykes

About Presenter Charles Sykes


Charles J. Sykes is the author of eight books on current affairs and education including Fail U., A Nation of Victims, and Profscam. He has written for The Wall Street Journal and Time.com among others, and in 2016 was featured for his critiques of Donald Trump and conservative media in articles on the front page of The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and NPR. A former longtime host of the #1 conservative talk radio show in Wisconsin, he is now a regular contributor to MSNBC.


How the Right Lost Its Mind

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