The repetition in media that the 40% base is keeping Republicans from challenging Trump feeds a serious misreading and overestimation of its depth and power.
Republican politicians know that except for a rabid minority of core base the overall Republican base is very fluid depending to what comes out of Republican radio and Fox.
A few on Fox have already challenged Trump. If Tom Steyer gave Limbaugh $1BIL to stop supporting and making excuses for Trump he’d be gone in weeks.
The GOP and its think tanks have enjoyed talk radio supremacy for 30 years and unlike with Fox TV it allows them to coordinate locally. Republican politicians know how dependent they are on talk radio to attack their opponents and get them elected. This previous diary pointed out how Scott Walker’s emails from 2010 demonstrated that he and his staff regularly coordinated with Wisconsin talk radio host and frequent MSNBC guest Charlie Sykes, and others, to manage talk radio/media spin on particular events, like protests. The Walker emails showed he and his staff were paying attention to Wisconsin talk radio, as well as feeding it.
Republican politicians are more afraid of being attacked by Limbaugh and the core base of dittoheads that he controls than they are of the overall ‘40%’ that shows up in the polls. For instance, before a close vote in the senate comes up, or during hearings for a supreme court justice, the national talk radio gods and the Republican think tanks make sure the local talk show hosts are on the same topic. Before Republican politicians even have the chance to vote the ‘wrong’ way the dittoheads are calling the local talk shows make sure they have no choice.
We know Republican talk radio uses paid callers, why not Kremlin callers? I just heard a local talker read an email from a ‘listener’ implying all government workers are lazy scammers and they should just suck it up. That reached 10s of thousands during the morning commute just before the traffic report came on. How many other stations around the country broadcast the same email? How many emails from anywhere in the world will 1500 radio Republican radio stations be broadcasting during a national emergency?
The majority of that base lives in that alternate reality and they’re either too busy, too lazy, or too stupid to fight it. They live in places where the only free easy source of politics while driving, working, or doing chores reinforces what the 10 percent shouts about around the water cooler, bar, and dinner table.
That alternate reality is built on 30 years of unchallenged talk radio repetition. Those memes, such as Democrats want ‘illegal aliens’ streaming across the border because they’re voting for Democrats, dominate most rural counties in the USA and have been used to sell voter suppression legislation across the country. Americans living in big cities sometimes are unable to comprehend that. That includes most of the media, pundits, and political commentators. They’re analyzing this situation as if studying fish without water. The pollsters don’t even poll for Republican talk radio.
How many people think Limbaugh tells the truth? How many who do, support Trump? Polling like that would encourage Republican politicians make better choices.
I haven’t seen anywhere in media any acknowledgement that the Trump team studied talk radio in 2014 other than in the original article. Trump operative Sam Nunberg said he “listened to 1000’s of hours of talk radio” and Stone, Cohen and Trump were getting his reports and analysis. Nunberg is a regular guest on MSNBC but I don’t think he’s ever been asked about that. That is where the ‘wall came’ from.
That may have just been an attempt to connect with the base but it may also have been a way to coordinate Kremlin trolling. Sam Nunberg and Michael Cohen need to be asked under oath if that analysis was also going outside the campaign, such as to help Russians understand the Republican base better. What talkers was he asked to listen to? In what states? Did those states match up with Russian trolling? Did the content?
They also need to be asked if they have any knowledge of the Trump campaign feeding talk radio gods like Gov Walker did and many other Republican politicians continue to do. From his 600 stations, many endorsed by university and pro sports teams, Limbaugh and the dittoheads who call into other shows set the tone on hundreds of other talk stations. Hannity follows the same line from 500 stations and Fox.
All the Russians needed to do was figure out how to develop a relationship with him, like that between Gov Scott Walker and Charlie Sykes, maybe with some freelance money thrown in. Or maybe even blackmail him, as seems to be the case with Republicans like senators McConnel and Graham. And if he took freelance money he’d be easy to blackmail. Talkers like Limbaugh and Hannity wouldn’t even have to know they were working for Putin.
The soft base needs to find out and Republican politicians need to see it happen.
The words ‘talk radio’ and ‘Limbaugh’ have probably been mentioned in mainstream media more in the last 2 weeks than in the last 30 years. It needs to continue. Michael Cohen and Sam Nunberg and Charlie Sykes need to be asked about Trump and talk radio and how the Russians may have been using it.
Trump’s real base is small and extreme and amplified into a fearsome 40% by a few hundred professional liars hiding behind call screeners and dump buttons. Republican senators and congressmen, whether it enables or intimidates them, need to see it exposed for what it really is so 20 Republican senators can find their backbones and choose country over talk radio gods.
Republicanradio.org — 88 universities that endorse Republican talk radio