Republican senators protecting, afraid of, and serving Trump know the important part Rush Limbaugh has played getting us into this disaster. Limbaugh sent in a recorded message for this week’s Monday show substitute to play and he told his listeners that he had a lousy reaction to the latest chemo. As of Wednesday, he hasn’t returned.
Republican senators are well aware that Trump and Limbaugh are Palm Beach neighbors and a team. There’s a reason Trump parades Limbaugh around Mara Largo when he needs to intimidate senators. They know that when Dr Fiona Hill said in her congressional testimony that Republicans who repeated the ‘deep state’ narrative were helping Putin, it applied exponentially to Limbaugh.
There’s a reason the trump team studied 1000s of hours of talk radio in 2014.
The right wing of the Republican Party has a giant headache. Limbaugh anchored 600 radio stations and they can’t replace him. Those stations include many of the loudest stations in the country and formed the backbone for the entire Republican messaging machine. Even if Limbaugh was sounding more and more like Putin’s guy the last 10 years they need him to make excuses for them if they have any chance of surviving the Trump disaster.
The radio advertising industry also has a giant headache. At some level they might want to be rid of Limbaaugh but he can’t be replaced with any single blowhard and most of the national stars are as dumb as Hannity. While Limbaugh scared a lot of advertisers away the ad industry wants all those ears those stations reach and they could always count on a predictable fanatical core of listeners to tune in to him and his national and local imitators 5 days a week. Nearly half of those stations broadcast/piggyback university and pro sports and many are among the loudest in their states. They have large predictable audiences tuning in for regular news, sports, weather, and traffic. Limbaugh’s regular loyal advertisers may not like the replacements and the ad industry will have to pay more attention to local demand.
Republican senators know if Limbaugh’s not there this election season they are screwed. No one can spin their ignorance, corruption, and hypocrisy like he can. No one will be able to blanket the country with excuses for their support of the insane orange sack of crap in the White House. Without Limbaugh they’re going to be naked and alone.
Local Republican blowhards will work overtime in every state to blame local elected Democrats for anything that goes wrong while excusing Trump and Republicans. It has often worked to their advantage in the past merely because Democrats don’t know it’s happening. Limbaugh was genius at blaming Democrats for whatever Republicans did and extemporizing on whatever the think tanls fed him. Local blowhards depend on tailoring his talking points, excuses, lies, and straw men on the local level. If he croaks they’ll be all over the place.
Republican politicians and media are even more screwed when the radio advertising industry figures out it’s also screwed if it doesn’t start democratizing talk radio and start converting his stations to programming other than pro Trump.
Limbaugh was still downplaying the coronavirus threat on his last week (March 9-13) on most of the loudest radio stations in every state. Those radio stations are licensed to operate in the public interest and are even louder in emergencies. Few of the talk radio hosts on those or any of the other stations (1200? 1500?) in the Republican radio monopoly would dare to contradict his take — including that the the COVID-19 threat was overblown to help Democrats and ‘liberal’ media sell socialist big government solutions. And instead of using their voices to warn their listeners and the country they enabled Trump’s delays and stupidity and will be responsible for getting many Americans killed.
Most Republican politicians are really hoping and praying that the ignorant liar-in-chief who helped Trump delay action on coronavirus will be back soon, even if they don’t like the asshole. Their futures in politics depend on it. Without him to lead a unified buzz from 1500 radio stations they have no chance to even stay close in the upcoming elections, even if they cheat more than usual.
Limbaugh can’t be replaced in time to save them from the shithole this insane Trump is leading them into and if Democrats want more leverage, they need to let Republicans and McConnell know they know.
Even if he comes back soon the ad industry will have to start assuming he’ll relapse.
The sooner Republican senators recognize the Party of Limbaugh is over, the sooner enough of them will turn on Trump.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.