Friday, April 1, 2016

Good weekend reading- Bruce Murphy exposes the AM radio scam for Cruz/Walker

Earlier this week, I touched on how the Wisconsin GOP was using their AM radio spokespeople to take sides in the presidential race to promote Ted Cruz's candidacy and try to knock down Donald Trump's, and how pathetically transparent I found that effort to be.

Well, Bruce Mruphy of Urban Milwaukee also touched on this subject in greater detail, and expanded it out to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's endorsement of John Kasich, showing how much of Milwaukee media's "editorial voice" is basically an outgrowth of corporate-oriented, rich-guy Republicanism. Read the whole thing, as it is excellent, but I wanted to give extra attention to this passage, which hits on why AM radio hosts like Char-lie Sykes are so invested in promoting Cruz (and his surrogate Scott Walker) at the expense of Trump. and who they really work for. These people, and the GOP oligarchs that prop them up, and heavily invested in keeping a certain mentality and the policies that go with in it power, and Trump is in danger of ripping back the curtain on what the GOP is really about
Beyond all the sound bites, something fundamental is at stake. The ascendance of Donald Trump has raised questions about a big part of the Republican Party’s base — white people without college degrees — many of whom have been left behind by the global economy, and need help from the government. Until now, the Republicans extolling of “the makers not the takers” and sneering at those “sucking the government teat“ has always sounded like it was aimed not at Republican voters but at unnamed “others” — blacks, Hispanics, single mothers.

But as less-educated white voters have turned out in droves for Trump, he has defended their reliance on Social Security and Medicare and warned that Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan (who was booed at a Trump rally in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville) want to cut those benefits. In response, conservatives are increasingly aiming their sneers at these Republican and “Reagan Democrat” voters.

As National Review columnist Kevin Williamson put it in a recent column excoriating Trump and his struggling low-income white supporters: “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible.”

What Wisconsin, the nation’s most politically polarized state, is revealing, perhaps at its most naked, is the shocking split in the Republican Party. In Southeastern Wisconsin, and among the wealthiest and best educated Republicans, Trump has little support. But in western and northern Wisconsin, including more than half the state geographically, there is huge support for him.

What Sykes and talk radio are signaling is their allegiance to more well-to-do conservatives, and that their sneering at “a nation of moochers” is as widespread as that sounds, and includes many of their own listeners.
What Murphy mentions regarding the geographic split is very key. Increasingly the talk radio sheep in SE Wisconsin have little to nothing in common with what the other 80% of the state wants, and can't even agree on basic facts on what's happening to the state. Icki McKenna illustrated this well when she took offense to Trump saying that Wisconsin manufacturing was struggling under bad free trade deals. Well Icki, if manufacturing was so swell these days in Wisconsin, why are fewer people working in that sector in the state today than they were a year ago, and why have 2,400 Wisconsinites lost their jobs in factories in 2016? And why are manufacturing layoffs picking up both in Wisconsin and the nation in recent months?

This intrusion of facts and criticism of Scott Walker/WisGOP policies into an AM radio show is not anything the Koch/Bradley funders of the party want the rubes to hear, and Trump's statements about trade and Walker's failed record can start deflating the Bubble that 262 Republican sheep live in. That's already happened in the western 2/3 of the state, where local RW radio isn't so poisonous and prevalent, and as Murphy notes, it's no coincidence this is the area of the state where Trump polls best and Walker polls worst. If that pattern repeats in the eastern part of the state, the GOP is done for in state elections for a long time, and that's something the GOP power-people and their AM radio spokespeople are trying to protect any way they can.

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