Trump’s talk radio divide could change election

Over at Right Wisconsin, Charlie Sykes says Wisconsin’s “bigly” anti-Trump talk radio could change the course of the entire presidential election:

Wisconsin boasts an unusually robust talk radio infrastructure – one that includes my colleague on WTMJ, Jeff Wagner, WISN’s Mark Belling, Jay Weber, and Dan O’Donnell, as well as Green Bay’s Jerry Bader. There are no Hannity-like Trump fan boys here.

I wrote about this very phenomenon in early December, in which Wisconsin’s talk radio hosts almost universally revile Trump and make no effort to hide it, a stark contrast to the national radio hosts Sykes mentions. I wrote:

The divide between Wisconsin conservative talk radio and national talk radio over Donald Trump is remarkable.

The other day, I wrote that it’s time for Wisconsin conservatives who are still on the sidelines to get active, to step up and start making the case against the candidate who will topple the infrastructure of conservative thought and policy that’s taken decades to build.

Since I made the point that Wisconsin’s radio hosts diverge so sharply from Limbaugh, Hannity, and others, the trend toward anti-Trumpism has only accelerated.

Sykes – who interviewed Trump on his WTMJ radio show this morning – makes a great point. The Journal-Sentinel illustrated that Trump’s popularity is deep underwater in the areas of the state most influenced by conservative talk radio.

In outlying areas of the state Trump’s popularity is higher – above water in fact. These areas are largely out of the sphere of conservative talk radio.b99690851z.1_20160319175037_000_gsieunpq.1-0

I also predicted on December 9 that Wisconsin would be an important player when it holds its primary on April 5:

Wisconsin will, in fact, have an impact on the course of the election if the field remains clogged following Super Tuesday and subsequent state primaries, which is likely. Ours is the only primary between March 22 and April 19, an eternity in political years, and Wisconsin alone holds a primary that day, so all eyes will be on the home state of the new Speaker of the House and a former heavyweight presidential contender.

Wisconsin is indeed turning out to be a crucial state in the GOP primary. While I hoped Rubio would still be a contender, the race has boiled down to a different anti-Trump alternative, Cruz.

Cruz spoke at length with Sykes at his annual Insight conference last week. After a major win in Utah, and Wisconsin the center of the political universe once again – as I said would be the case – ours is a must-win state for Cruz if he’s to build momentum by winning a notoriously moralistic and inconsistent Wisconsin vote.

And I think he will win. Wisconsin talk radio has talked sense into voters in our state’s conservative strongholds.

As for the rest of the state – which includes my homeland of western Wisconsin – it could be a nail-biter.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.
  • virgil2016

    If Wisconsin wants to elect a career politician who works for big donor money and uses the middle class as an ATM, doesn’t care about Vets, leaves borders wide open and agrees to patently unfair trade which causes US jobs to fly overseas, then vote Cruz or Kasich. If WI wants change, vote Trump.