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Monday, March 28, 2016

Trump, the Frankenstein's Monster of Conservative Talk Radio

Donald Trump spent part of his day today talking with a conservative talk radio host in Wisconsin. It was a contentious conversation because the host was a #neverTrump person. Amusingly, Trump had no idea until the host finally told him so 15 minutes into the conversation. It turns out that much of conservative talk radio is in the #neverTrump camp. I find it to be rather ironic that conservative radio hosts don't like Trump because they made him inevitable. These hosts have spent the Obama years railing against the establishment, convincing listeners that establishment Republicans were sell outs, that they refused to fight Obama (nevermind that Obama's domestic agenda effectively ended in January 2011 when the HOP tookover the House). They've spent years railing against illegal immigrants, hyping every rare instance of an illegal immigrant committing a heinous crime. Telling listeners that illegal immigrants are simultaneously taking our jobs and mooching on our supposedly generous welfare benefits. They've spent years selling anti-Islamic nonsense, convincing listeners that sharia is coming to America, that Muslim refugees are really just terrorists exploiting the system and that we're all unsafe (nevermind that more people die in the US from mass shootings at schools and movie theaters than from Islamc terror attacks).

So of course when Trump came along embracing every bit of this nonsense a group of voters that had been primed for the message embraced him. And of course, all of the credible candidates, who recognized that talk radio hosts were really just selling a load of bull to generate ratings (hate and fear are good for generating ratings and votes), were deemed to be "establishment" candidates and therefor unacceptable. And one by one, all of the candidates capable of winning in November were passed over and driven out of the race.

And so, Trump won over 40% the 17% of Republicans who voted in the primaries and now that 7%  of the party has made him the front runner. In so doing, they have done tremendous damage to the Republican Party image. They have made it nearly impossible for the party to gain any traction with the growing number of minority voters. They have attracted the overt support of white nationalists. They have turned the incredibly flawed Hillary Clinton into a solid front runner. They have put the GOP House majority at risk. They have created an opening for the GOP to lose all the ground it has gained in the last 40 years and again become a minority party.

And through it all, these folks have managed to convince themselves that Trump is a strong candidate and that a majority of Americans agree with them (nevermind that polling clearly shows Trump losing to Clinton and that Clinton's lead is growing). They excuse all of the nonsense that comes out of Trump's mouth and they even accept him attacking the spouses of his opponents. They accept his constant whining about unfair rules and his frequent threats of lawsuits. And they do this, at least in part, because folks like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and other broadcast blowhards have primed them for Trump's message. Now those broadcasters hate Trump. Probably because Trump has now become the leader of their movement - he's taken it away from them and with it their influence over their listeners. So I am amused by their embrace of #neverTrump - he is after all very much their creation.