The system is rigged against Republicans, but you already know that. Let’s start here:
A vote for Donald Trump now is a resistance vote; I get it. He was an unconventional candidate in unconventional times. While the media like to portray Trump supporters as the “angry white men scared of demographic changes,” I know that to be different. Trump supporters are not “deplorable,” they are not “irredeemable,” and they include both genders and all races. Trump supporters see a system which is broken and a man who was courageous enough to call it like he sees it. I agree with both sentiments.
Right message, wrong messenger.
Trump is a deeply flawed candidate in a national election. A lot of Republicans have known that for at least a year. While we can agree that his stances are bold and courageous, we have to face this one fact; losers don’t legislate. A lot of Republicans knew he would lose and it has nothing to do with Trump’s moral transgressions. The media rig the elections against Republicans and Trump brought a lot of baggage to the table.
This post is going to long but it’s important that you read ALL of it if you want to debate my conclusions.
The media turned HARD against Republicans during the 1990s. They have never been sympathetic to our party, but during the post-Clinton era the national, mainstream media deliberately tried to rig elections.
In 2000, every single major network called Florida for Vice-President Al Gore. This was not only wrong, it was irresponsible, because the Florida Panhandle region is on Central rather than Eastern time; the polls were still open for another hour. More importantly, the networks’ narrative then was that George W. Bush was mathematically out of the race in the Electoral College. They tried to “call” a national election while there were still an hour left to vote in Central states, two to three hours in the Mountain States, and four hours in the Pacific States. It was a deliberate attempt to suppress Republican voter turn out in the “flyover” states.
It didn’t work. President Bush pushed back (on national TV), explaining that the panhandle region of Florida had a lot of traditional Republican voters; active-duty military and military retirees. Look at the effect of that deliberate call though: Gore won Iowa (and its seven electoral votes) by about 4,000 votes, New Mexico (five electoral votes) by less than 400 votes, Oregon (seven electoral votes) by less than 7,000 votes, and Wisconsin (11 electoral votes) by about 5,000 votes. By (incorrectly and deliberately) calling Florida for Gore, the media suppressed Republican voter turnout in four battleground states handing 40 electoral votes to Al Gore.
Let me explain why this is important; Bush could have won all of those states. Republicans had a superior ground game that year and neighborhood precinct captains play an important part of that ground game. As a long time precinct captain, I can tell you that the news affects my quitting time on election day. When Kevin Faulconer ran in the Mayoral special election, I hustled hard until 8:15 p.m. At 7:40, some eight to 10 voters came into the polls and pointed to me, saying, “this guy dragged us in here from the dinner table.” A year later, I left my precinct at 6 p.m. to get downtown for the election party. The (false) attack on Carl DeMaio’s character, improperly vetted by the local media, made my job harder in the election precincts and I instead wanted to go to the party. Media events caused me to leave some five to 10 potential Republican voters in their living room on election day. Bush lost by three voters per precinct in Iowa and Oregon, and less one voter per precinct in New Mexico and Wisconsin.
In 2004, Dan Rather and CBS ran with a smear campaign against President Bush’s military service, based on forged documents. They got caught. To this day, the discredited Rather blames the “Army of Bloggers” rather than himself.
In 2008, the mainstream media openly campaigned for (then) Senator Obama. Their coverage was so biased in 2008 that they tried to hold the President accountable in early 2012 for illiberal policies. As soon as Mitt Romney secured the GOP nomination, media coverage shifted to Seamus the rooftop dog, binders full of women, and a tape of a private donor meeting.
Romney was portrayed as an unfeeling, robotic, dog hater, women hater, and uncaring to half of the American people. Mitt “The Flipping Mormon” Romney. Romney, with whom I have serious policy disagreements, is perhaps the one modern, Republican nominee with impeccable character, yet the mainstream media called him an animal hater.
The mainstream media are never going to stop undermining Republican candidates in national elections. Last year, they had a really tough task. The Republican field was one of the finest in modern history. There was diversity of thought, ideas, ethnicity, gender, age, and backgrounds. We had tea party senators, establishment governors, social conservatives, libertarians, moderates and outsiders…and yet…
Donald Trump, a thrice-married, thrice bankrupt, reality TV show who was a serial guest on the Howard Stern show, got all of the pre-primary television coverage. Yet, Rand Paul was giving speeches at Howard University. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz could debate in Spanish. John Kasich, Chris Christie and Scott Walker were re-elected in traditionally blue states. An African-American neurosurgeon and a female Fortune 500 CEO were sharing the debate stage with all of those men, PLUS a successful Indian-American governor in the deep South. The media covered Trump more than any of them. Why?
Trump made for good television, that’s true. Trump brought up a great issue when he said, “either we have a country or we don’t” (immigration) but the media were obsessed with the reality TV star last year. Here’s the big rub:
They knew the Billy Bush tape existed. This tape was from 11 years ago and, by itself, it isn’t damning against Trump but the media intentionally withheld this, and other personal stories about Trump’s “flawed” past, to use against him in the general election against the VERY flawed Hillary Clinton.
Trump is, for most media personalities, a “caricature” of a Republican. He’s rich and white, he objectifies women, he takes legal tax breaks, and he’s flamboyant. He supports the military, wants strong borders, believes in broad-based tax cuts, and is critical of Barack Obama. Trump is, for the media, every stereotype they hold about Republican voters…so they pushed him…knowing they could destroy him in October 2016 when the highly flawed, unaccomplished, corrupt, perhaps criminally liable Clinton would face him.
Trump is actually right on a lot of issues: immigration, national security, ending an interventionist foreign policy, working with Russia to defeat ISIS, the Federal Reserve Bank, and taxes being too high. At face value, based on his policies (many with which I disagree), he is definitely a solid Republican candidate…for the base…BUT…
General elections are won in the middle and the middle listen to the mainstream media. The mainstream media are against Republicans on the national stage…so much that they try to rig elections. This year, they pushed a man and intentionally withheld damaging information about his personal character, to use it to help Hillary Clinton in the general election.
If you are a Trump supporter, you are seething right now. You will want to call me an establishment hack, a “cuckservative,” a RINO, or something along those lines. Do that if it makes you feel better but, while you do, consider how The Stockdale Paradox relates to Republicans’ relationship with the national, mainstream media.
It’s going to be hard to get a conservative elected to the Presidency. He will have to have the personal character of Mitt Romney, the fighting spirit of Donald Trump, the intellect of Ted Cruz, the optimism of Carly Fiorina, the quirky principles of Rand Paul, the demeanor of Jeb Bush, the optimism of Rick Perry, and the electability of John Kasich.
Republican primary voters are going to have start playing chess for the 2020 election and the first move is accepting the fact that the mainstream media are against us…and they won’t fight fairly. We are never going to defeat them at their game but we have to stop making it easy for them.