The System is Rigged Against Republicans

Brian Brady Brian Brady 17 Comments


The system is rigged against Republicans, but you already know that. Let’s start here:

Hillary Clinton will be the next POTUS. Republicans will probably lose the Senate. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s going to hurt the Republic.

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.


Comments 17

  1. Is it snowing in Hades? Because I actually agree with Brian on something.

    The system IS rigged against Republicans.

    Just not for the “blame the ref” reasons he thinks. I’m waiting for part two, where he explains how Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter joined the liberal media conspiracy to nominate a weak candidate.

    But the game is rigged. There are at least two vectors to consider: (1.) Demographics, and (2.) what I will call “rear view mirror orientation.”

    First, Demographics are rigged against Republicans. But this was well known going into this election. In fact, I can’t express it any better than the 2012 GOP “autopsy” report:

    “The Republican Party must focus its efforts to earn new supporters and voters in the following demographic communities: Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth. This priority needs to be a continual effort that affects every facet of our Party’s activities, including our messaging, strategy, outreach, and budget.

    Unless the RNC gets serious about tackling this problem, we will lose future elections; the data demonstrates this. In both 2008 and 2012, President Obama won a combined 80 percent of the votes of all minority voters, including not only African Americans but also Hispanics, Asians, and others. The minority groups that President Obama carried with 80 percent of the vote in 2012 are on track to become a majority of the nation’s population by 2050. Today these minority groups make up 37 percent of the population, and they cast a record 28 percent of the votes in the 2012 presidential election, according to the election exit polls, an increase of 2 percentage points from 2008. We have to work harder at engaging demographic partners and allies. One outside group that has been particularly successful at engaging its community and increasing its Republican support is the Republican Jewish Coalition. We should incorporate some of its tactics in our efforts.

    By 2050, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29 percent, up from 17 percent now. The African American proportion of the population is projected to rise slightly to 14.7 percent, while the Asian share is projected to increase to approximately 9 percent from its current 5.1 percent. Non-Hispanic whites, 63 percent of the current population, will decrease to half or slightly less than half of the population by 2050.

    In addition, the Republican Party lost youth and women voters in 2012. It is imperative that we reverse this troubling trend, as women represent the majority of voters and youth are future voters for decades to come.

    The pervasive mentality of writing off blocks of states or demographic votes for the Republican Party must be completely forgotten. The Republican Party must compete on every playing field.”

    Good advice. And instead of following it, you nominated a candidate so divisive with all of these key constituencies that the GOP will be saddled with the damage for a generation. And the demographic problem gets worse every year.

    (2.). Rear view mirror orientation. Human progress only happens with a healthy tension between past and future. Individuals and institutions all have roles in this tug of war. Some push for dramatic, revolutionary, and risky changes to accelerate progress. Others focus on the traditions and core values developed through our shared history to keep us grounded and on track.

    The GOP is clearly in that second group. “Make America Great Again” was an attractive slogan precisely because it focused on going backwards. It appeals to people who are uncomfortable with the recent pace of change in America (demographically, economically, socially).

    As I said, both sides in this struggle play valuable roles. But one is destined to win, and one is destined to lose, unless we agree to halt progress.

    The demographic changes happening in America that make some uncomfortable will not stop. The global shifts in economic, trade, and employment patterns will not stop. The equal protection and rights of LGBTQ people will not revert to that of our embarrassing recent history. We will not unlearn that dirty fuels represent a clear and present threat to our climate, security, and health.

    In the long run, all of these changes will happen, and America will be better for it. Progress will happen. The rear view mirror people will play an important role to keep us grounded and on course, but ultimately the car moves forward, never backward.

    So yes, the game is rigged for you to lose. But that’s not such a bad thing in the long view.

  2. Post

    “Good advice. And instead of following it, you nominated a candidate so divisive with all of these key constituencies that the GOP will be saddled with the damage for a generation”

    NBC loved Trump. They gave him a reality show., gave him the most coverage during the primaries, trotted him out on late night TV, let him host SNL. They gave him….respectability.

    All while sitting on an 11-year old tape which they intended to drop in October 2016.

    Wiki leaks shows emails between Clinton campaign and CNBC and emails explaining that Clinton WANTED to face Trumo.

    The media rig elections. This one is a doozy. NBC committed fraud

    But you don’t care about unbiased and full reporting, ED. As long as the “deplorable” hicks in Kansas subsidize the solar panels for your beach house.

  3. Great post Brian. Agree with almost everything.

    In regards to the media in the tank for Clinton, in the foreign policy “debate” Sunday night, were any question asked about Yemen and the role that U.S. support has played in that carnage. Libya and our intervention there and what happened after our intervention to stop the potential genocide, something that Hillary Clinton personally lead the charge for. Why she risks a possible nuclear war with Russia over Syria along with her tacit support for terrorist groups and what role donations for Saudi Arabia to the Clinton Foundation played in her foreign policy decisions involving Saudi Arabia while she was Secretary of state.

  4. WCV,

    I agree. But the GOP has to change to become competitive again, along the lines of the autopsy recommendations.

    My problem with Brian’s framing of the problem is it pegs the upcoming loss on circumstances out of the GOP’s control. If they are passive victims of media bias–and that’s all, then there is nothing they could do differently that would matter. I think that’s a weak and whiney world-view.

    I happen to believe the current circumstance is an unintended consequence of the GOP success in gerrymandering of house districts. If the only viable threat in a synthetic red district is a primary challenge from the right, then it drags the party farther from the center, and the center is where national elections are won (as Brian pointed out).

    I think Brian does a disservice by offering excuses that cannot be addressed by reform in the party.

  5. Encinitas Dad, How can you say that “demographics” are rigged against Republicans? They are not rigged. The new talk radio republican base scares the crap out of non-whites. People like Hannity rarely say anything against non-whites, but he consistantly brings people on his shows that will. The base is becoming more and more racists. Latinos, for example, are in general a very conservative demographic, but when they are generalized as having a “rape culture” you’re not going to help your cause. This is not rigging, it’s political suicide.

  6. Post

    “I think Brian does a disservice by offering excuses that cannot be addressed by reform in the party.”

    You didn’t read the article, ED. I said this:

    “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?”

    Why did NBC promote a man they KNEW was unfit to be POTUS? For years, the MSM have told Republicans to adopt the very plan you highlighted. When they did, NBC realized Clinton could lose. CLINTON realized Clinton could lose to anybody but Trump (at least that’s what she said in emails and her campaign said to CNBC in emails).

    Why did NBC intentionally withhold material information from primary voters?

  7. Brian, Trump recieved more Republican primary votes than anyone in the party’s history. Most Republicans I know share your view that the “Media” has a liberal bias, yet you seem to think that NBC tricked them into voting for Trump. The “Media” has one main concern: making money. If the perception was that Trump brought ratings then that’s why he got airtime. Perhaps the allowed conglomeration of media wasn’t such a good idea.

  8. Post

    “If the perception was that Trump brought ratings then that’s why he got airtime’

    Fair enough. So NBC is a bunch of whores and not serious journalists, right?

    Let me tell you why this is important. The Union-Tribune, after the Filner scandal, got ridiculous in their vetting of the candidates. Faulconer was asked about a parking ticket and Alvarez was asked about some sort of conflict of interest with his church.

    Everyone started laughing at the UT but I caught what they were doing. The editorial board felt a grave responsibility to get all of the information out there, big, small, relevant, irrelevant, and banal.

    We used to trust the 4th estate to act in the public interest, not rig elections

  9. “Rand Paul was giving speeches at Howard University. ”

    Flying in to give a speech and out the same day is a poor substitute for listening and engageing at the local level, and building a track record of trust and results.

    “Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz could debate in Spanish.”

    Again, focused on the superficial.

    “John Kasich, Chris Christie and Scott Walker were re-elected in traditionally blue states.”

    No argument here. This is exactly the kernel to build from. Kasich was a winner if you nominated him.

    “An African-American neurosurgeon. . ..” with kooky stories about stabbing someone in the belt buckle and Egyptian grain storage.

    “. . . and a female Fortune 500 CEO” who failed because she was all marketing spin, and refused to hire a strong COO to manage the details, and who is still universally not respected by her former management and staff.

    The media covered Trump more than any of them. Why?”

    Because Trump correctly read the lesser angels of the GOP base that the party has flirted with (wrongly) for years, and how to manipulate media.

    The Democrats take some hits for Superdelegates, and tilting the primary process against Bernie Sanders, but that PR price may be worth avoiding the nomination of a weak general election candidate, no?

    Finally, the GOP has not followed the advice of the autopsy, because at this very moment, Reince Prebus and Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, et al are still endorsing Trump. And on other levels, the party continues to put its brand on the likes of Joe Arpaio, Roy Moore, and Paul LePage.

  10. Daniel,

    Before you put too much faith in Rasmussen, look at what they were saying a few days before the 2012 election. Specifically, this line:

    “Obama is ahead by two points in Nevada. Romney leads by one in Iowa, two in Florida and New Hampshire and three in Colorado and Virginia. The candidates are tied in Ohio and Wisconsin. ”

    In case you don’t remember, Obama won all eight of those states.

  11. Hypocrisy: I put this out there because this will be a close election. This is an information point. Hillary is disliked by too many people for it to be strongly in her direction.

    You know and I know that the polls in early October are not really indicative of the real voting trends. The state run media polls by CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and others are used to motivate Democrats and depress Republicans.

    The polls that are 1- 2 weeks from the election are the only ones that have a good degree of accuracy. There is genuine enthusiasm for Trump among his base and very little for Hillary. I think this will have an impact on the vote in the Nov. 8 election.

  12. Daniel,

    To quote and old and somewhat corny phrase, “Denial isn’t only a river in Egypt.” The Rasmussen poll I linked to was taken only days before the 2012 election and I am sure that it gave your great hope at the time. However, we both remember what the actual result was.

    Fast forward to today and note that Fox News, that mainstream media outlet reeking of progressive bias (not), has Hillary Clinton 7% ahead.

    To be fair, Donald Trump can still win. The polls could be wrong or he could simply overcome the deficit in the final 25 days. It is possible, but it would also be unprecedented.

  13. Hypocrisy: I think the Bradley Effect is in action. Look at the rallies around the nation. Trump has overflowing crowds, Hillary has very small crowds. Hillary Clinton does not inspire enthusiasm in her base. Trump does, not only to Republicans but to many independents and blue dog Democrats. I believe what I see.

  14. Daniel,

    McCain supporters also thought that Obama’s lead in the polls was based on the Bradley effect and Romney supporters touted his large crowds and enthusiastic supporters as the reason why the polls were wrong and that their candidate was going to be elected President.

    The fact is that 10,000 or even 100,000 participants at a rally does not equal enough voters to win an election. Another fact is that a vote from an unenthusiastic voter counts the same as one from an enthusiastic one.

    As I wrote before, Trump might win. It is just highly unlikely based on current polling, both nationally and state-by-state. We will probably know for sure around 9:00pm PST on November 8.

  15. Even if Trump is elected he will not have enough congressional support to implement his agenda.

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