Dear Aunt (REDACTED),
I know you have always lived your Christian conservative values, and that you have expected your children (and nephews) to do the same. This extended from your personal life to your political life. You attended church regularly, and always said you could never support Democrats like Bill Clinton, because of their lifestyle. This made sense to me. I will always remember that you prioritized family values when deciding which political candidates to support (or oppose). This used to seem consistent and coherent to me. It no longer does. Let me explain.
When I was a boy in the 1980s, the Republican Party was the home of Ronald Reagan and Alex P. Keaton. We were the squares, while the left (it seemed) was full of hippies and weirdos. I was fine with this arrangement, as were most of our fellow conservative family members.
But today’s GOP is no longer your father’s (or my father’s) Republican Party. It’s more the party of Sodom and Gomorrah than the Party of Lincoln. You may not realize this because it is generally not talked about on Fox News. But trust me when I tell you that a lot of the people who claim to share your traditional conservative values are far different than you might expect.
Take Ali Alexander, a major organizer of the “Stop the Steal” campaign (which means he’s a great ally of former President Donald Trump). As The Daily Beast reported, Alexander allegedly “propositioned” at least two teenagers, not to mention adult men.
“In 2017, Aidan Duncan—a 15-year-old boy in Colorado interested in right-wing politics—sent Alexander nude pictures after the MAGA activist asked him for them, according to an account Duncan gave in a March 2023 podcast appearance,” according to The Beast.
Aside from the obvious inherent creepiness, it seems clear that there is something of a “casting couch” within Republican circles. As Duncan wrote in a statement, “I thought I had no choice but to cooperate with inappropriate and humiliating requests if I wanted to make it in politics. I figured that was just the nature of the game.”
Longtime Republican strategist John Weaver also was accused by multiple young men of similar overtures. But because he (presumably) ended his career as a Trump antagonist, he doesn’t fit neatly into this narrative.
Regardless, when it comes to being “groomed”—literally—your grandchildren are safer with a Libs of TikTok teacher than they are trying to score a Republican internship or campaign gig.
“…when it comes to being ‘groomed’—literally—your grandchildren are safer with a Libs of TikTok teacher than they are trying to score a Republican internship or campaign gig.”
The Republican Party is also the party of football star Herschel Walker, who allegedly paid for an abortion and fathered out-of-wedlock children—and very likely would have been a U.S. senator had these allegations not come to light (also thanks to Daily Beast reporting). A few months ago, a political aide to Walker alleged that Matt Schlapp, head of the organization that runs the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), had “aggressively [fondled]” a man’s “genital area in a sustained fashion…”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—who went from a marginalized fringe figure to one of the GOP’s biggest fundraising draws—recently entered the fray when she publicly advanced the rumor that Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell had an affair with a Chinese spy. But Greene herself has been accused of cheating on her ex-husband with a “polyamorous tantric sex guru” (don’t ask), according to the Daily Mail. (In February, the Justice Department announced that Greene’s good friend and colleague, Rep. Matt Gaetz, would not be charged for allegations involving sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.)
And here’s one you probably do know about: Donald Trump allegedly had sex with a porn star, while his wife was at home with a newborn.
Now, you may say that even though this is behavior you do not personally endorse, we are not electing a pastor-in-chief, and that, sadly, everyone now accepts that politicians become embroiled in sex scandals.
In that case, it’s time to move on to the culture-war issue that the uber-masculine American right is currently obsessed with: gender identity.
To be very clear, dressing in drag (a biological man dressing in clothes traditionally worn by a biological woman) is not nearly the same as identifying as transgender, but that hasn’t stopped the culture-war right from conflating drag shows with trans surgeries for minors.
However, in my lifetime, I have seen exactly one major American political candidate promote dressing in drag. No, it wasn’t Joe Biden or Bill Clinton. It was Rudy Giuliani performing a skit with Donald Trump.
But Rudy’s merely the biggest name. Republican Rep. George Santos is such a serial fabulist that it’s hard to tell truth from fiction, but it at least appears he performed in drag shows in Brazil. Meanwhile, last year, photos emerged of then-Rep. Madison Cawthorn wearing “lingerie in what appears to be a party setting,” according to Politico.
It’s unclear whether Tennessee’s governor dressed in drag, but Tennessee’s Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally sure seems to have a penchant for racy pictures of young men on Instagram.
I don’t know whether you would find this sinful, disturbing, or merely hypocritical.
Regardless, it’s hard to read through the entire litany of alleged offenses I have documented above and not conclude that there’s a culture problem here.
Back in the 1990s, when I was a daily Rush Limbaugh listener, I remember him discussing all of the Clinton associates who had been indicted for one thing or another. His question (as I recall) was something like: “How many friends do you have who have been indicted?” I always thought he had a point.
I feel awkward asking you this, Aunt [REDACTED], but how many people do you personally associate with who target underage teens for nude photos? How many dress in drag?
By its own standards (not yours or mine), the American right is not the wholesome movement you still think it is. To paraphrase Hemingway, it became that way gradually, then (around 2016) suddenly. The point being, the Republican Party has now become the fringe party—a classification that (I thought) used to be reserved primarily for Democrats.
I’m not saying that you should go out and vote for Democrats. I have not chosen to do that. But I do hope that this information will help you realize that a lot of the people you think represent your values are not doing that. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite.