Former radio talk show host Charlie Sykes made a difference for a while. In Wisconsin, a truly politically competitive state, Sykes helped Republicans to top offices. But after a year of waving the #NeverTrump banner, his talk show is over and his role as an influential conservative long in the past.
Donald Trump goes to work in the White House each morning. Charlie Sykes goes to work at MSNBC.
To appreciate the paradox, you have to bear in mind that if not for Charlie Sykes, there’s a good chance Governor Scott Walker would not have prevailed over massive national-Democrat-led opposition — twice — in Wisconsin.
Sykes was a political force during those two battles, and he was reviled for it by the left.
Sykes also served as a key media ally of Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan.
Which makes us wonder, maybe karma is real after all. Or maybe Charlie Sykes just went nuts. He certainly did not become irrelevant all at once.
Sykes used his media platform throughout the 2016 presidential campaign all right …. to convince voters to vote against the Republican ticket. He even publicly asked the Democratic candidate to make a play for disenchanted Republicans.
And while thus working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House, he fancied himself such a paragon of righteousness that he lectured conservatives on how to be better conservatives.
Sykes worries about a biased American media …. working for President Trump.
Living in a delusion has a cost, which Charlie Sykes has now learned the very, very hard way:
“When you’ve devoted your whole life to certain beliefs and you think now they have been undermined and that you might have been deluded about things,” he began. “So. So. Um…”
His radio audience turned hostile and faded away, apparently having a clearer understanding than the host of what a “binary choice” actually means in a presidential election. Once touted as the guy who might single-handedly cost Donald Trump Wisconsin and the presidency, Sykes ended up the befuddled big loser.
….as former Wisconsin Democratic Chairman Mike Tate put it, “a guy who slowly fed poison to his dog for 10 years then, when the dog dies of poisoning, throws up his hands and says, ‘My God, how did that happen?’”
It is a sad tale. Sykes seemed to believe his #NeverTrump stance was going to put him on a pedestal of sorts, that there was “going to be a premium on conservatives” who turned their backs on Trump in November 2016.
That didn’t happen. And influence — or power, or pull, or whatever metaphor you want to use — which may not the the most important thing to political talk radio hosts, but once achieved is invaluable, is no longer part of Charlie Sykes’ resume, and likely never will be again. Delusion is hard to come back from.