Missouri Political Outlier Courtland Sykes Sparks National Furor With Anti-Feminism Screed

By Kevin McDermott St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) U.S. Senate candidate Courtland Sykes has prompted a flood of outraged national media attention after he reposted an anti-feminist screed that he originally sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last fall.

ST. LOUIS

America, meet Courtland Sykes.

And don't say we didn't warn you.

The fringe-y U.S. Senate candidate has lately become known to Missourians (a little) for campaign videos that look like James Bond parodies.

What scant debate he has spawned in the state's political world has centered mainly on whether his coiffed-and-squinting political persona is genuine or satiric.

But now that persona has prompted a flood of outraged national media attention, after Sykes reposted this month an anti-feminist screed that he originally sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last fall.

"I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that (his fiancee) fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives," Sykes wrote in his statement to the newspaper last fall, and which he recently reposted on his Facebook page. "Think Norman Rockwell here and Gloria Steinem be damned."

And there's this: "I don't buy into radical feminism's crazed definition of modern womanhood. ... They made it up to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads."

And this: "I want daughters ... to build home-based enterprises and live in homes shared with good husbands and I don't want them (to) grow up into career-obsessed banshees who forego home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she-devils."

The manifesto was part of Sykes' answer to a questionnaire the Post-Dispatch sent him in October about his candidacy for Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate nomination. The newspaper quoted from parts of it in a story about him it posted Oct. 8.

It didn't generate much controversy then. That's probably because that story and others made clear that Sykes' out-of-nowhere candidacy, no experience, no name recognition, no money, and those loopy campaign videos, wasn't being taken seriously in Missouri political circles.

But in the past week, via the mysterious osmosis of the political internet, the echoes of his comments suddenly were bouncing around such venues as The Washington Post, CBS News, Time magazine, the Huffington Post, and of course Twitter, which basically melted down last week over a political candidate who, at last report, had raised a grand total of $500 for his Senate campaign.

"I wanted to throw up," wrote @Ktweetsalittle.

"So this Courtland Sykes can make his own damned meals or starve," declared @lrnd(underscore)o.

"I suggest Courtland Sykes' fiance get the hell out and leave this 17th century buffoon at the alter! Yikes! Sykes!" wrote @Triumphrat7.

And from @thegirlconlasod, this cooking tip: "Courtland Sykes is the kind of guy that were I to be his wife, I would poison his oatmeal just a little bit everyday."

At least one major political name, former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, also weighed in, using the controversy to drum up support for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the incumbent Sykes seeks to unseat.

"Good grief!" tweeted Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett). "Read about Courtland Sykes, and then get busy working on (McCaskill's) campaign for US Senate."

McCaskill is more likely to face a general election challenge from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, widely considered the front-runner in the state's GOP Senate primary race. Among Hawley's supporters is President Donald Trump, whom Sykes lavishly praises (and, at some points, appears to imitate) in his campaign materials.

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