In his column for the Daily Beast, conservative Matt Lewis, who left the Republican Party due to Donald Trump only to return after his election defeat, cast a jaundiced eye at what the party has become, before asserting it has opened its arms to an assortment of "freaks ... perverts, and weirdos" who have become the face of the party.
Under a headline asserting, "Conservatives Flying Freak Flags Embrace ‘Being the Villain’," Lewis suggested that the new breed of Republican -- which grew worse under Trump -- is more interested in building their brand and cashing in than they are in advocating conservative principles that will hold up in the light of day.
Writing, "I’m not here to be a prude, or even to play psychologist, but as recently as a decade ago the conservative movement was (with a few notable exceptions) decidedly square, wonky, and straitlaced to a fault (admittedly, with some weird stuff happening below the radar)," Lewis added, "My experience, coming of age in the 1980s and ’90s, was that almost all of the eccentric weirdos and hippies were on the left. They were the ones railing about the establishment."
According to the columnist, "If conservative libertines were hypocrites before, now they’re reveling in deplorable behavior."
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"Whether we’re discussing [political gadfly] Jack Murphy, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Matt Gaetz, or Marjorie Taylor Greene, we can be assured they are proudly letting their freak flags fly. This is decidedly not your father’s Republican Party," he explained.
Elaborating by noting that conservatives see themselves and their beliefs "under siege," Lewis suggested that civility and reality have been put aside.
"Because it distrusts information and media reports, it is allergic to vetting. And because Trump has flouted moral conventions, anyone attempting to police the right or impose standards is seen as being un-Trumpy and, thus, unconservative," he wrote. "Now, I’m still a conservative because of important issues like the right to life, the size and scope of government, and the necessity of a strong national defense—particularly as China becomes more provocative. And I’m not going to let people who are not conservative force me to redefine my worldview. What is unfortunate is that the so-called 'leaders' within the conservative movement’s institutional infrastructure are allowing their brand to be co-opted."
However, as he points out, damage to the Republican Party has already been done as it harbors misfits who do damage to the movement and concluded, "The Republican party is full of red-pilled freaks, clowns, carnies, scoundrels, perverts, and weirdos. Conservatism has taken on an identity similar to the old Oakland Raiders."